I have to confess something… I’m inherently lazy when it
comes to working out.
I’ve always favored strength-based programming, from
the time I was 16 and started working out.
However, I recognize the need for conditioning – work
capacity – MetCon – whatever you want to call it.
I use it in my own programming now (sparingly) and it’s
always gone in every client’s program and of course
every athlete’s and every team’s program, based on the
their goals and the demands of the sport.
However, I’m not in favor of the high-rep “trash-fests” that
make up so much of MetCon these days.
Technique and focus go out the window.
9 times out of 10 you just end up trying to get the reps
done any way you can and you’re just trying to survive.
Not a good way to get stronger because you can’t focus
on the skill of strength – making each rep the same -
Which they should be even in a MetCon workout -
And because each rep is different, you’re not using optimal
joint mechanics and therefore you’re subject to injuring
So… What do you do?
Here’s a very simple way that I’ve been using for going on
20 years to improve your conditioning – to get your MetCon
And get stronger in the process.
(Coincidentally, this process also usually makes you leaner,
unless of course you’re a chow hound.)
Here’s what you do:
Use a big movement like the Clean + Press and start with
lower reps, say 2 to 3. Then start decreasing your rest between
sets over the course of your program – anywhere from 4 to 8
I like to start with about a work-rest ratio of anywhere from
1:5 to 1:3 and slowly whittle it down to 1:2 or even 1:1,
depending on what I’m trying to accomplish.
This works like a champ.
I’ve never seen it fail.
The reps are low enough where your technique remains
intact so you can focus, yet your heart rate gets elevated
enough to start increasing the metabolic demand on your
This is just one way to easily improve both your strength
and your MetCon.
There are many others.
I use this one inside “Kettlebell STRONG!” to show you
how to take your 4 or 5RM on the double Clean + Press
and do 60 reps with it.
That’s a 12x increase in total volume – which means you’re
not only going to get REALLY strong (Strength is built on
volume) – but you’ll improve your metabolic conditioning
I also use another method for increasing work capacity
and strength simultaneously.
That’s laid out in the “One” program.
Why’s it called the “One” program?
Because if you FORCED me to do only one program to
improve total body strength AND total body conditioning,
this would be it.
When men can do this with a pair of 24s and women with
16’s, there will be no doubt as to whether you ever need
to do anything else for MetCon.
You can get both strategies and vastly improve your strength
and metabolic conditioning levels in “Kettlebell STRONG!”.
At the end of the day neither Strength nor MetCon is
better than the other. You need BOTH.
The ratio between the two is up to you based on your
If you have a 600# deadlft but can’t bend over to tie
your shoe or walk up the stairs without getting out of
breath, what good does that do?
(I’ve lived there, it sucks.)
Life requires you to be strong AND well-conditioned.