Developing your metcon strength and endurance is an important part of improving your fitness. However, there is a fine balance between training metcons and over-training metcons. Some literature suggests that doing too many metcons that last too long hamper your future gains in the strength department, because your body is too busy recovering from the metcons to build muscle.
In fact, Robb Wolf has come out saying that to keep your strength gains coming, you want to keep your metcons between 2 to 7 minutes in length, and hit them with an extra intensity that you can’t bring to the longer WODs. Of course, the chance that all of the WODs in the Open fall into such a short time frame is slim – so you have to juggle your strength gains with your ability to perform on the short and long metcons – not to mention the fact that at the Games you will be doing multiple metcons a day! So how do you program to perform at the level you desire (be it for the Games or for yourself)
Gaining Metcon Strength
One thing that almost everyone can agree on is that metcon strength and pure strength are two different beasts. You will rarely see a single rep deadlift at your 1RM during a metcon, instead you will see 10 or even 20 reps of a lower weight. The key is to be able to lift the lower weight quickly and efficiently.
To be able to bang out rep after rep with good technique. You can train this either during the metcon portion of your class, or during the strength portion of your class. This shouldn’t become all you do during your strength classes, but dedicating a day a week towads gaining metcon specific strength can help you perform better and faster on game day.
Programming for metcon strength gains:
- Program high volume lower weight sets, like 3×20 deadlifts at 50-65% or 100 backsquats at 30-50%.
- Program sets with movement in it, like 10 burpees, 10 strict presses then AMRAP push presses, altering the weight until you can do 10-12 reps in a set.
- Program paired or triplet movements that don’t tax the same muscles to keep intensity high, like bear complexes.
Getting the rapid fire strength for your metcons can help you perform and slow fatigue when game day arrives.
Variety, variety, variety
In training for competitions you need to be ready for everything. The only way to do that is to train everything – and you can do this by varying all aspects of the metcon. Vary how long (or short) the workout is, vary the movements, the number of movements, the rep schemes, the loads and the types of workouts (AMRAP versus for time etc)
Program short doublet WODs, heavy WODs, long grueling WODs with a lot of movements, WODs that last 2 minutes, WODs that last 30 minutes, WODs with low level skills, and WODs with many high level skills – program for anything and everything.
Metcons are about building up metabolic conditioning – the engine. Workouts that force people to breathe hard and fail out due to cardiovascular fatigue (instead of muscular fatigue – which is where gaining metcon strength really comes into play)
Now that we’ve talked about gaining the strength, skills and metcon endurance for competitions, lets talk about getting your members excited to compete next issue!