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Jason Needler 03-09-2007 01:09 PM

I've seen the word "metcon" thrown around a lot here, please tell me what it means.

Chris Lampe 03-09-2007 01:12 PM

metabolic conditioning (i.e., cardiovascular conditioning or "aerobic" conditioning).

It took me a bit to figure that one out.

(Message edited by corwin1968 on March 09, 2007)

Arden Cogar Jr. 03-09-2007 01:41 PM

Took me a while to understand it as well.

Eugene Allen described it, and I'm paraphrasing because I can in now way write as well as he does, as he "is Metcom" whereas I "am Maximum Effort." He does ironman, rows a gazillion meters a year, and could workout full steam for hours on end. Whereas I can lift really heavy things over and over then come back and do it again shortly therafter. He could use a little of me and I could use a little of him. He's lifting some stones and my "rotunda" is becoming less rotund by running, rowing, and amping up the cardio.

All the best,

Eugene R. Allen 03-14-2007 01:45 AM

Thanks for the writing props there Arden. The meta part of the word is for metabolic and that has to do with your energy systems. You have certainly heard and used the word metabolism and have a sense for slow and fast metabolisms. Some people walk by a bakery and gain two pounds and others shove everything they can get their hands on down their pie hole and never gain a pound. Metabolic - energy systems.

The con is easy, that's just conditioning and the contraction metcon is shorthand for the CrossFit methodology for improvement of the cardio vascular and cardio respiratory systems through a variety of functional exercises executed at high intensity. The program does wonders for much more than just your CV/CR systems but were just discussing metcon here.

Short energy systems course:

Creatine Phosphate or Phosphogen up to about 10 seconds of pedal to the metal, all out exertion. One rep max sort of thing.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Aerobic system which (assuming you are not working out as you read this) you are using right now. You can be in this energy system for the rest of your life. In an exercise sense it is at an effort level you can sustain for about 90 minutes before you exhaust your glycogen supply and have to refuel. How hard you can go is influenced directly by training and there are many endurance athletes who can do 5:30 miles and still be aerobic. I hate those people. The term LSD (Long Slow Distance) is the typical protocol for aerobic work where you are working at a low output for a long period of time.

The CrossFit arena is the Glycolytic energy system where you hammer your way to and through your lactate threshold at an effort level sustainable for only 2 minutes or so. The CF protocol has you change the demand on the failing musculature after some number of reps or time by moving to a new exercise while the CV/CR system is still being taxed. This allows for metabolic conditioning at a far more intense level than you could ever hope to achieve through a single mode of exercise because of the predictable onset of muscle failure at high levels of exertion.

If you go to the FAQ's and look up the notes from the CrossFit seminars the subject of energy systems is covered in far greater detail and ought to answer your question better than I did here.

Barry Cooper 03-15-2007 07:02 PM

What Eugene said, plus a somewhat shorter (and less informational) answer: The metcons are the ones where you want to puke, and lay around for a while on the floor afterwards.

My current program is: something I feel like doing on Sunday. Monday: O-lift. Tues-Wed. something that makes me want to puke, i.e. metcons. Thur: Powerlifting. Not sure it's the best program, but seems to work OK.

Dan Fanelli 03-15-2007 08:53 PM

Anyone know of a web site that has an overview of metcon training.

What would a workout look like? Is it basically a circuit of Olympic lifts with heavy weights, and around 8-12 reps?

Ryan Sears 03-15-2007 09:02 PM

I thought metcon was more like lighter weighted exercises done at a faster pace.

Kevin Burns 03-15-2007 09:38 PM

Metcon doesn't have a strict definition. Its about intensity. Intensity is about power output over time. You might consider checking out the CFit Journal #31: Fooling Around With Fran. Fran has got to be one of the most painful metcon workouts because of the power output. It requires many of the things I mention below, not to mention stability and balance.

If i had to define metcon i would do it like this

1. High Heart Rate
2. Simultaneous Use of Many Muscles
3. Continuous Movement
4. Short to Medium Time (5-30 min)

and the best way to tell if your doing a metcon workout.....


David Aguasca 03-16-2007 08:30 AM

i think you forgot something off that list, kevin.

5. Pain.
6. Increased breathing rate.
7. More pain.

Kevin Burns 03-16-2007 10:00 AM

8. Fear and Loathing

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