Posted by Man Bicep
So today is a “metabolic” workout day – aka…MY TYPE OF CARDIO!
A metabolic workout is a high-intensity workout where you do compound movements back to back with as little rest as possible between them.
That doesn’t mean stringing together the hardest exercises you know of and just doing them back to back to back for an hour only resting when you feel like you either can’t function or are going to puke.
The point of a metabolic workout isn’t just to destroy you – it is to raise your metabolic rate both during and AFTER the workout so that you can burn some serious calories and more importantly some serious FAT.
It is also super good for athletic performance since it can improve your cardiovascular capacity. It can help improve your lactic threshold and VO2 max.
Yup…If you want to be able to run faster for longer or do well in any endurance sports, you may want to incorporate metabolic training into your workout routine!
So how do you design a metabolic workout?
Well..there are a ton of different ways. The key points to consider are…
- Include compound moves – aka work the BIG muscles groups…Bicep curls and such are pointless moves to include.
- Use some resistance. You don’t need to use the max weight you can handle, but you do want to incorporate challenging weights to make your muscles work to their max!
- Add in rest – The key here is to teach your body to recover as quickly as possible. HOWEVER, if you don’t include any rest in your workout, you AREN’T going to be working at a max effort the entire time. To really get some of those cardiovascular capacity benefits, you need to be working near a maximal effort as much as possible, which means you NEED to rest and recover! When you start, you may want to rest 3 to 5 times the time you work. As your fitness level improves, cut the rest until you even hit a ratio of 5 times the work to rest.
- Keep the intervals short – When you get into the 2 minutes and above range, you start to work the aerobic energy system. If you really want to focus on improving your lactic threshold, keep your intervals of work between about 30 seconds and a minute thirty. Honestly, I even prefer keeping the work between 30 seconds and a minute.
- Don’t throw in the kitchen sink! – Don’t just combine 30 hard exercises and do them each once. Balance what you are working. If you pair up exercises, or even go through a circuit, make sure that you vary what you are working. Think about movement patterns (push vs. pull) as well as hemispheres (upper vs. lower body). If you vary how and what you work, you will find that you are more able to work to your full potential each round EVEN if you feel a bit fatigued and out of breath.
Below is a sample Metabolic Workout. While we love using sleds and ropes and sandbags, I do realize that not every gym or household contains those things so I tried to stick with bodyweight or more traditional equipment. (If you don’t have any medicine balls you could mimic with a dumbbell or even a cable machine with a double-handed overhead chop down toward the ground. Make sure though to use your lats for the pull over as well as your abs and legs!)
WARM UP (make sure to do dynamic stretches, foam rolling and activation. Very important to be WARM!)
40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. Rest for 1-2 minutes after each round of all 5 exercises.
Repeat anywhere from 3-5 times depending on your fitness level.
Front Squats (add dumbbells or kettlebells in a front rack…light but challenging)
Medball Overhead Slams (Bring the medball back overhead and then slam it straight into the ground)
Crawling (Table top position..Forwards and backwards)
Lateral Hops (aka Skater hops…So hop as far as you can to the side off of one foot onto the other)
Russian Twist (Hold a weight plate and rotate side to side as QUICK as possible)
If you are a beginner, you may want to start with less work and more rest…Even say 20 seconds of work, 40 seconds of rest and work your way up to 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest. For lateral hops, you can also sub side shuffles as long as you stay LOW and move quickly!
Yay! Metabolic workouts…what a great way to start the week!