Metabolic conditioning is a term that is increasingly thrown around more and more but what does it even mean? Metabolic conditioning is not new but is increasing in it's popularity. It is the ability to work at a high level of intensity for a prolonged period of time. It involves various types of either weight training, and or cardiovascular exercise. This does not mean that any specific muscle is working at 100%, but that the body as a whole is working at its highest intensity for that extended period of time. The key concept is that the you move from exercise to exercise with minimal rest while maintaining a specific rep scheme and quality of movement.
One of the fun parts of metabolic conditioning is there is no right or wrong way to structure it.
Here is an example of a great metabolic conditioning workout for a beginner:
10 Couch Squats
10 Jumping Jacks
30 second Plank
Here is an example of a great metabolic conditioning workout for anyone who has been training for 6 months to 2 years:
10 Air Squats
Here is an example of a great metabolic conditioning workout for an advanced individual:
15 Minute AMRAP - As many rounds/reps as possible
15 Air Squats
Run 200 meters
So here you would complete all five pull-ups prescribed before moving to the push-ups, all ten push-ups before the squats so on and so forth. When you finish a cycle you immediately start back at the beginning of the list until the time runs out. It is to be completed at a high level of intensity but that is relative only to you current level of fitness. I may struggle to finish three rounds and the person next to me may finish five. The point is to be continuously be moving and continue doing so even as your heart rate rises.
The benefits of metabolic conditioning are undeniable. It burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time due to it's intensity. Another reason for these workouts is it increases EPOC, or excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption. After high intensity workouts, the body's metabolism is elevated as it is trying to return to homeostasis (balance). During this time the body burns additional calories. The research varies from two hours to 24 hours after your workout and depends on its intensity and duration.
This type of training is much more efficient, achieving the effectiveness of a workout done at a lower steady state heart rate in a lot less time.
You are working multiple energy systems at one time. Some workouts can even improve aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity simultaneously.
Metabolic conditioning workouts are great if you need to squeeze a workout in a short window of time because they can be done anywhere. You can design them solely of what you have available. These workouts allow you to get creative with both your sequence and paring of movements, number of reps, and times in which you will complete them.
Try one of the workouts above and let us know how it goes.