This Type of Training Will Take Your Racing Game to the Next Level (+ a Workout to Get You Started)

This Type of Training Will Take Your Racing Game to the Next Level (+ a Workout to Get You Started)

As Spartans, we run. We climb. We lift. We adapt. As far as athletes go, we are the jack of all trades. Our body is ready for whatever we throw at it, at any point of the day.

When we start the conversation about how to train for any Spartan race, there is one style of training that immediately comes to mind: metabolic conditioning.

What Is Metabolic Conditioning?

Metabolic conditioning, often referred to as MetCon, is the most common form of fitness training. Whether you’re attending an SGX boot camp at your local gym or firing up your Spartan Fit app for an at-home workout, you are most likely engaging in some form of MetCon. This form of training involves varying intensities and styles of exercises. It can range from High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to supersets and circuit workouts to combining strength and cardio exercises together. There is no specific format for metabolic conditioning.

Related: Hit Every Muscle, Top to Bottom, in 30 Minutes With This Intense At-Home Workout

The definition of metabolic conditioning is broad in the fitness world, but the science — and the principles behind it — has always remained the same. Metabolic conditioning targets energy system development.

When we are out on the course, we require our aerobic system to help us get from Point A to Point B. In an instant, we could encounter a monkey bar to swing across or a hurdle to jump over. Every obstacle we face out on the course could require any one of our different energy system pathways.

Three Energy Systems

Our body has three energy system pathways: the ATP-PC system, the glycolytic System, and the aerobic oxidation system.

ATP-PC System

The ATP-PC System, also known as the phosphagen system, is an anaerobic energy system that supplies the energy for high-power, short-duration activity. This system provides maximum power output for approximately 10-15 seconds.

Related: Box Jumps: Featured Workout of the Day Exercise

Glycolytic System

As our power and maximum strength begins to fatigue after its initial burst from the phosphagen system, our body can continue to operate at a slightly lower intensity for a longer duration, thanks to the glycolytic system. The glycolytic system uses the process called glycolysis to provide energy to our muscles for up to 90 seconds in duration. This allows us to power through obstacles such as multi-rigs and rope climbs. Similar to the phosphagen system, the glycolytic system is also anaerobic.

Oxidation System

Once our body has engaged in sustained activity for longer than 90 seconds {approximately}, our body requires oxygen to continue to endure. This is where our body shifts to the aerobic oxidative system. The aerobic system works to produce energy from both fats and carbohydrates to keep the body functioning at its sustained levels for extended periods of time.

When we require energy for activity, our body does not work in a linear fashion. We do not solely utilize the ATP-PC system for maximum power. Our body starts to recruit energy from the various systems as the energy becomes available in the body. The aerobic system will kick in to help support the glycolytic system in moderate duration activity, and the phosphagen system will build up some added power while running mid-race. This is what allows us to jump over a wall or sprint to a finish line. Metabolic conditioning is the key to building up our body’s ability to improve our energy turnover.

The Workout: A 5-Exercise Strength-Cardio Circuit

In this workout, we are targeting that energy turnover development. We are performing a strength-cardio circuit that will stress all three of our energy systems.

The key with this workout is to pace yourself. Metabolic conditioning is not about going as hard as you can for as long as you can. It's about consistency and precision to get the most benefit out of each type of exercise. We will be pushing and pulling today, using our strength, power, and speed.

This workout is designed with no rest interval for a reason. You are not given a rest break on the course, so you are not given a rest break in this workout. Vary the intensity of each exercise based on your muscle energy levels. Slow down during your longer-duration strength-hypertrophy exercises, and speed up during your sprinting and jumping. This workout is a grind, but it will prepare you for whatever you encounter out on the course.

The Circuit

Perform 6 rounds for this circuit.

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 Thrusters

10 Alternating Forward Lunges

10 Burpee Broad Jumps

400 Meter Sprint 

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