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Your Go-To Metcon

So I’m looking to add a few conditioning protocols to my training. They will be added to the end of my work outs - or done on an rest day as recovery.
My go to (although I’m not going to the often enough) work outs are:

  • Pyramid up to a number and then back down press up and goblet squat (50% body weight). This is a hard work out if pyramided past 6 or 7 and is a work out in its self at 10
  • South wood complex 8 then 6 then 4 Clean - Front squat - Press
  • “The Bear” dead lift, bent over row, clean, front squat into press, back squat into press, down = 1 round. 7 rounds = 1 set. Between 2 and 4 sets depending on weight on the bar. This is a good one to go heavy as the rest between each press mean the weight can go up.
    *10 burpees EMOM for 5 mins.

Anything else people use. This is for a home gym mainly. I have dumb bells but they are not great. So anything body weight / barbell is best.


Even though I despise burpees, a solid metcon is to do burpees EMOM, adding a rep each minute. I usually start at 5, but you could start at 1.

I like Alwyn Cosgrove’s Evil 8 Complex:

  • 8 deadlifts from the floor
  • 8 RDLs
  • 8 bent-over rows
  • 8 power cleans
  • 8 front squats
  • 8 push press
  • 8 good mornings
  • 8 back squats

Bonus if you do 8 sets. What I would do a while back would be a set of all 8s, then all 7s, then all 6s etc. Thinking about it now, going 8s, 6s and finally 4s would probably be smartest.

“Fran” would probably be a solid shout, but I’ve never done it. Men are “supposed” to use 95lbs / 40kg

  • 21 thrusters
  • 21 pull-ups
  • 15 thrusters
  • 15 pull ups
  • 9 thrusters
  • 9 pull ups

If you’re proficient enough at oly lifts, Grace is also kinda cool (again haven’t tried it myself though). It’s 30 clean and jerks at 135lbs/60kg for men, in under 8 minutes. Isabel is the same session, but with snatch. I know that personally, if I were to do Isabel, I’d have to go much lighter.

What type of conditioning? Are you looking for aerobic or anaerobic conditioning? Either way, it is not complicated and requires none of the memorization of the “Named” methods. If you need a name for your collection of movements, it’s a red flag that you are being fed bullshit.

What if that name is “medley?”

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I appreciate what you are saying. And I agree to a point - the whole naming WOD’s thing I a bit odd. Until you appreciate the competition.
Otherwise how would you compare the results? If I done the “Grace” it easy enough to go “how quickly can you do 30 clean and jerks with 135lb?”
However if you want to compare times for the “evil 8” its easier if its given a name.
Personally I get that having a few bench marks is fun. Its like the timed segments on Starva for hell having your own BPs on lifts. You get to share your progress and achievements and see where you are on a national and international stage. But there are maybe 50 named WOD’s.

Anaerobic. I want it burn hard but be over in moments.

I mean, is the goal to improve aerobic capacity, or anaerobice capacity? For aerobic capacity, intense interval cardio has the most bang for the buck IME, not fat loss, but building aerobic capacity. For anaerobic, sets of Power Clean and press. Like multiple sets of 5 with a challenging weight, not fluffing about with 135.

I think that depends on how you define anaerobic capacity to be fair. Are you referring to alactic anaerobic or lactic anaerobic? Is “capacity” the ability to stay within said energy system for as long as possible (>5s for alactic, >60s for lactic) or perform the most work possible, within one energy system?

I’m talking about it from the viewpoint of Strongman I guess. I am specifically referring to the capacity of work volume under load that is short duration for anaerobic. Like squats, or a car carry, are going to test your glycogen stores and capacity for repetition of a given action without respect to your lung capacity or specific O2 effeciency. Whereas, my ability to perform an action like running for distance or jumping rope would be specifically aerobic for this response.

I like inclines for conditioning. When I was a youth I’d sprint up hills or have a hill or two worked into my long, slow jug. In college I like running up the stairs. Now that I’m approaching my twilight years I just walk up and down big hills. Or for more intensity I’ll drag the sled up a shorter hill. It’s ruthless, especially going backwards.


This sounds horrific.

I love it.

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Hehe, first I thought you’d use added weight (40kg) on the pull-ups and found it a bit extreme.

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That would be god-tier lmao

Climber tier. Expert climbers, granted.


My go-to metcon is long, slow, boring stairmaster sessions.

I wanna box but refuse to do ultra long distance running, so I may as well do what I think is better. Long, slow, boring stairmaster sessions. And believe me, it sucks.

I’m going for aerobic fitness first and foremost. But improved leg endurance is an inevitable side effect.

Despite the fact that I’m a lardass, my resting heart rate is decent.

That’s heavy Fran, 65kg thrusters and 20kg chins. Different rep scheme though


Dan John was big on Tabata Front Squats which, for the pendants, I totally get ISN’T tabata, but it still floors you just fine.

This morning, I played around with a different approach: Tabata trap bar pulls. I specifically used the high handles, but I imagine it’d work with either handle. I liked this, and plan to use it some more. Similar features in that it’s a movement that is easy to rack and unrack, but even MORESO compared to a front squat: just put the bar down. I used straps and stayed straped in the whole time, which takes grip out of the equation. The movement is also far more “basic” compared to a front squat, and super easy to push past points of fatigue. It absolutely nuked my quads and got my lungs and heart pretty decent.

Pull touch and go to keep tension in the body the whole time.

I found tabata front squats hard. Racking/ unracking the weight in 10 seconds unmanageable.

1 thing that I’ve done that REALLY taxes my conditioning is log press. Floor to overhead. Reps in 60 seconds. Weight is not unimportant but aim for 5-10 reps. Its brutality hard.

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Log is great for that. It functions well doing triples with an EMOM set-up.


I think one of the most soul crushing ones I did was
Ladder of
Squats 100kg

I was floored in a pool of sweat and tears and sore for a week

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I’ve been big on complexes. I play around with rep ranges a lot, specifically, not doing the same number of reps for every exercise.

My typical setup is

Hang clean: 4 - 8 reps
Strict press: 8 - 12 reps
Good Mornings: 8 - 20 reps
Back Squats: 8 - 20 reps
BTN Push Press: 4 - 8 reps
RDL: 8 - 20 reps
Bent-over row: 8 - 20 reps

It’s really awful.

Another thing I’ve tried is timed sets of bodyweight squats. Like just do BW squats at a steady pace for 10 or 15 minutes. Or shoot for a specific total in one long set like 200 - 500. Or add weight and do something like with 95 pounds try to get 100 reps in one set. Rest - pause if you need to obviously.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of bicycle hill climbs and you didn’t list anything like this as an option for you, but I mention it because it has a serious advantage over the other things I’ve done. That’s because there is no joint stress in it at all. High rep squats and things seem like they should be ok because they’re light but they do introduce some wear and tear and the lift still has an eccentric portion. But biking has a relatively small range of motion at the hip and knee and there is no eccentric loading. So if you live in a hilly area and have a bike, maybe try it out