What are the best exercises for metabolic conditioning? Well first, let’s have a definition of metabolic rate and how metabolic conditioning, affectionately known as ‘metcon,’ relates to it.
In short, your metabolism is that engine in your body that carries out the chemical processes to keep you alive. Any conditioning done to improve this process is attempting to make more efficient the transport of energy through the bloodstream to working muscles.
In turn, the muscles learn to be more efficient at using these energy stores for their various activities.
The metabolic rate is divided into two categories: Basal Metabolic Rate and Resting Metabolic Rate. The sum total of these two is the entire amount of energy used for mental and physical tasks and at rest, throughout the day.
So how do you crank this up to burn more calories? It’s no secret; exercise and hit all three metabolic pathways and the metabolism rate increases; the more you do, the more efficient your metabolism becomes.
Exercise and metabolism are inseparable, but depending on the type of exercise you do this grand calorie-consuming system takes different paths.
These metabolic pathways are the phosphagen, glycolytic and oxidative, respectively.
Here are some exercise examples related to them:
Oxidative: Aerobic/cardiovascular conditioning tops the list here. This system requires less energy and is used for longer, low-powered activities. Think jogging, running at a steady pace, easy cycling and repetitive low impact physical activity.
Glycolytic: This is the pathway for people who have high energy needs lasting several minutes. It resynthesizes ATP with the help of lactic acid. A typical interval workout using weights, running or any other activity is going to draw a lot of fuel from this system.
Phosphagen: Short, high intensity activities. Powerlifting, maximum weight efforts, short all-out sprints lasting less than 10 seconds. These are all activities that will use this metabolic pathway.
If it looks like you might use all three of these energy systems in any given week, you are right. Most athletes draw from all three systems to some extent, and certain athletes and tactical professionals use all three regularly.
For example, the ideal metabolic training workout for an MMA fighter will include high-intensity intervals lasting several minutes that stimulate cardiovascular adaptations while increasing power and muscular endurance.
This successful combination of anaerobic (synthesizing ATP without oxygen) and aerobic changes has been well documented by Dr. Tabata and his team.
By doing interval training at the highest intensity possible, resting a few seconds between efforts and repeating, this form of metabolic conditioning does the work of much longer efforts in a fraction of the time.
There is no doubt that the best way to increase your metabolism rate is to exercise. The best metabolic training workout is one that combines all three pathways on a regular basis.
Try the following to incorporate this concept into your training week:
3-5 rounds of stairs or sprints, jump squats (x10+,) pushups (x10+)
Don’t rest between exercise, and only 1-2 minutes between rounds. Push as hard as possible.
Day 2: Easy cardiovascular activity for 30-90 minutes. Running cycling, walking, etc. Don’t push too hard; keep it steady.
Day 3: Powerlifting/strength exercises. Use Olympic lifts, deadlifts, squats, bench press, overhead press, kettlebell clean & jerk (long cycle.
For Olympic lifts and powerlifts, use heavy weights and low reps. Do sets of 5, 3, 1. As soon as the movement slows down, stop the set.
*Kettlebells/ballistic training presents a unique option because you can generate power over several minutes. This is ideal metabolic conditioning for the glycolytic and the oxidative pathways.
Of course you could also use heavier kettlebells and keep the reps low.
Incorporate these concepts into your training, but in the beginning don’t overdo the intervals.
If you push hard enough, the high intensity interval day will take two or three days to recover from. Make sure all metabolic pathways are used and your metabolism will become more efficient at using every calorie you put in your mouth.
Find more metabolism training workouts here:
Try these great products for your interval workouts. Perfect exercise equipment for the home gym or outdoors: