top of page
  • Lin ny

What is a Metcon?

Updated: May 30

Fancy a new challenge? Then it's time you got to know CrossFit Metcon workouts!

Metcon, short for "Metabolic Conditioning", is more than just a workout; it's a challenge that tests both your body and your mind and pushes you to your limits.

In this article, we reveal what makes metcons so special and how you can use them. Get ready to sweat, learn and push yourself through one of the most effective training programs out there!

What makes CrossFit Metcon workouts so special?

CrossFit athlete holding a barbell overhead.

Metcon workouts in CrossFit combine high-intensity movements with strategically planned rest phases. This allows you to achieve maximum performance in minimum time.

These workouts are designed to improve your endurance, strength, agility and speed. This means that you not only burn calories, but also optimize your muscle strength and endurance. To achieve this, metcons include a variety of exercises that are performed in quick succession.

Special "bonus": these workouts are known to be extremely strenuous and often push the limits of physical and mental endurance. Whew.

What is the difference between Metcon and HIIT?

Although Metcon and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) are often confused with each other, there are key differences that separate the two forms of training.

  • HIIT focuses mainly on shorter, extremely intense exercise phases followed by short recovery phases.

  • Metcons, on the other hand, integrate a broader range of exercises and emphasize the combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

Another difference lies in the structure of the workouts:

  • HIIT sessions are often shorter and more structured. Typically 30 seconds of high intensity followed by 30 seconds of rest.

  • Metcon workouts vary more in the length and type of exercises. They can be more complex and often require some strategy or planning on how to approach the workout to achieve the best time or most reps.

What are the benefits of Metcon workouts?

CrossFit athlete training with a barbell.

Metcon workouts offer a whole host of benefits. These include not only improved physical condition, but also psychological and health improvements.

Here are the most important advantages at a glance:

Improve cardiovascular fitness

The high intensity of the workouts puts your cardiovascular system under a lot of strain. This leads to improved heart health and increased lung capacity. Regular Metcon training can help lower your resting heart rate and improve the efficiency of your heart.

Burning calories

Metcon workouts are known to stimulate the metabolism and lead to increased calorie consumption long after the workout has ended. This phenomenon is often referred to as the "afterburn effect" or scientifically as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). In other words, you continue to burn calories even after your workout.

Increase muscle strength and endurance

Although Metcon workouts are designed for high intensity and not necessarily for strength, they often include elements that contribute to the development of muscular strength and endurance. The variety of exercises and the fast-paced sequence stimulate both your fast and slow muscle fibers, leading to overall muscle development.

Improving flexibility and mobility

The exercises used in Metcon workouts often require a high degree of mobility and flexibility. Regular training can improve your range of motion and reduce the risk of injury by stretching the muscles and lubricating the joints.

Psychological benefits

In addition to the physical benefits, metcon workouts also offer significant psychological benefits. They can help you reduce stress, increase self-confidence and even alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

What are the best-known Metcon workouts?

In CrossFit, there are some Metcon workouts that are particularly well-known and feared. These three in particular are among them:


One of the most famous CrossFit workouts, consisting of a sequence of thrusters and pull-ups. Fran is notorious for its intensity and the challenge of completing it in as little time as possible.


This hero workout consists of a 1-mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and ends with another 1-mile run. It's a test of endurance and willpower and is often performed on Memorial Day in honor of Lieutenant Michael Murphy.


Another popular Metcon workout that consists of a 20-minute AMRAP of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats. It is comparatively simple, but still challenging due to its length.

Which Metcon workouts are suitable for beginners?

Athlete rowing on a rowing machine.

If you're just starting out with CrossFit or want to improve your overall fitness, it's important to start with Metcon workouts that match your current fitness level.

Tips for getting started with Metcon workouts

  1. Start slowly: Give your body time to get used to the intensity of the workouts. Start with lighter and shorter workouts and gradually increase the intensity and duration.

  2. Make sure you have the right form: Before you increase the intensity of your workout, make sure you are performing the exercises correctly. Poor form can lead to injury, especially if you are exercising under exhaustion.

  3. Use scaling: Many CrossFit workouts can be customized. For example, you can use lighter weights or replace complex movements with simpler alternatives.

  4. Listen to your body: It sounds trite, but listen to your body's signals. If you feel overly exhausted or in pain, take a break or adjust your workout accordingly.

Beginner-friendly Metcon workouts

Here are three Metcon workouts that are particularly suitable for beginners:

Workout 1: Bodyweight Basics

  • Duration: 15 minutes

  • Format: AMRAP

  • Exercises:

    • 10 Air Squats

    • 10 Push-ups

    • 10 Sit-ups

This workout uses basic bodyweight exercises that target the major muscle groups. This gives you a holistic workout without the need for special equipment.

Workout 2: Jump Rope and Air Squats

  • Duration: 12 minutes

  • Format: Alternating EMOM

  • Exercises:

    • Minute 1: 30 seconds Rope Jumps

    • Minute 2: 15 Air Squats

This workout combines cardiovascular training with jumping rope and strength training through squats. It's easy to scale and helps you improve endurance and coordination.

Workout 3: Row and Rest

  • Duration: 20 minutes

  • Format: 1 minute of rowing, 1 minute of rest

  • Description: Alternate between one minute of intensive rowing and one minute of complete rest for 20 minutes.

This WOD helps you to control the intensity of your workout and build endurance at the same time.

Conclusion: The versatile benefits of Metcon workouts

Metcon workouts are a powerful addition to your fitness program. Not only do they provide an efficient way to achieve maximum health and fitness goals in a short period of time, but they are also an adaptable training method suitable for all fitness levels.

Whether you want to improve your overall health or achieve specific fitness goals, Metcons offers you a dynamic and proven method to effectively pursue your goals.


Recent Posts

See All



Get extra motivation with the SmartWOD News!

Sign up for our newsletter and receive regular tips & updates for your training. (Don't worry: we don't like spam any more than we like burpees).

Thanks for signing up!

bottom of page