A good physical condition is essential if we intend to have a healthy life, being the physical exercise performed on a regular basis the fundamental pillar.
In this sense, one of the adaptations that training offers us in a specific way is the conditioning of our metabolism, and this is where the Metcon training comes from.
The word Metcon is an abbreviation of the words “Metabolic Conditioning”, which means metabolic conditioning . Therefore, Metcon training refers to a type of training that aims to improve metabolism (its efficiency), thus improving physical and health parameters.
There are different definitions provided by different authors, but basically Metcon training is a high intensity physical training that causes improvements in muscle performance and energy management of our body, increasing the working efficiency of the metabolic pathways involved (phosphagens, glycolysis, oxidative), and in which a large amount of work and energy expenditure is performed in a short time.
Although it is normally a high intensity training, this term should not be confused with that of HIIT, since the latter (high intensity interval training) is one of the many methodologies to achieve the Metcon (metabolic conditioning).
Metcon training protocols
The protocols that comprise Metcon training are varied, with specific temporalizations depending on the objective, which is usually the decrease in fat mass, the increase in muscle mass, or commonly both.
Therefore, what Metcon training aims to do is adapt your metabolism to the purpose you want, achieving in all cases a characteristic metabolic efficiency.
The most common protocols are:
- Gillens: in this protocol 10 series of one minute at 90% of the maximum heart rate are performed with one minute of active rest between series, assuming a total time of 19 minutes. A heart rate monitor is necessary to check our heart rate.
- Tabata: is a protocol consisting of 8 sets of global exercises (equal or different) of 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The complete training only takes a total of 4 minutes, having shown improvements in body composition, strength production and flexibility of practitioners performed three times a week for 8 weeks.
- Wingate: it is a protocol in which fewer series are performed and rest is longer. It consists of carrying out four to six series of 30 seconds each at a maximum intensity, with 4 minutes of rest between each series, with the total time between 18 and 28 minutes.
These are the most common, but the variety is infinite, always giving a high intensity.
The full body routines and multi-joint exercises are the best option
The full body routines and multi-joint exercises are the ideal option for metabolic conditioning training (Metcon), since we will involve more muscle groups, with the consequent greater energy expenditure and greater improvement of strength and muscle mass, being good options combinations in which we use squats, push – ups, deadlifts, chin, burpees, jumping, etc.
In turn, although most Metcon workouts only use exercises with their own body weight (no need to use large loads), we can use and benefit from other materials such as kettlebells, dumbbells, elastic rubbers or TRX, among others, to make different exercises.
Beware of fatigue and technique
We must not forget that the Metcon training is a high intensity training, in which the exhaustive measurement of times and haste, added to the fatigue in the last series and repetitions, can lead to a deterioration of the technique in these final stages, with the consequent risk of injury.
Like all training, Metcon training must respect the principles of individualization and progression, so it is recommended that a qualified personal trainer supervises the training at all times.
In this way the metabolic conditioning can be adapted to the person in a specific way, maximizing the benefits that are intended to be obtained.
And I repeat, although it is a quite exhausting training, it does not consist in bursting until vomiting or finishing and not being able to move in three days. It must be properly applied in a controlled manner, and much better with the supervision of a qualified personal trainer, who can better control the times and give adequate and clear instructions so that everything is done correctly and we train more safely and efficiently.
The coach, in turn, will be the most suitable to report on the technique of the exercises and their correct progression (from simpler to more complex), among other aspects.
By the way, the greatest improvement in body composition, as can be sensed, will be achieved when there are good eating habits parallel and a regularity in physical exercise, being able to perform another type of exercise in addition to Metcontraining (other types of strength training, run, ride a bicycle, etc.).
In summary, well applied, Metcon training can provide great benefits for people who seek an improvement in their body composition and physical condition, increasing the safety and effectiveness of this type of training with the supervision of a qualified personal trainer.