When I say fitter, I mean increasing aerobic capacity and the cardiovascular system. It is not as simple as pairing two exercises together and going hard through it until you burn out or slow
down. metabolic conditioning takes time into account and, whether that is sticking to a time or beating a
time with given repetitions. It is important to understand how the body gets energy when
programming these types of workouts. The work to rest ratio can be determined by the goal
of the workout.
Metabolism is how we break down food for energy. It can be broke into three sections,
Phosphagen, Glycolytic and Aerobic. Phosphagen, also known as the creatine phosphate
system, is the most powerful and fastest way to get energy. This is used in explosive
movements and short duration bursts no more than 10 seconds long. An example is a short
sprint, Olympic lift or a max jump. This system is so quick and powerful that it may even
take 3-5 minutes to recover. When training this system, recovery time is very important and
full recovery is the goal. Glycolytic can provide energy for up to 4/5 minutes. It is primarily
used in short but intense duration including 400-800m sprints and weightlifting. This can
take 3 minutes to recover fully. Finally, the aerobic system includes long lasting duration
and can recover in a matter of seconds. Now it is important to note that no sole pathway works once at a time, there is a lot of interplay but certain work to rest ratios used in metabolic conditioning can prioritise one energy system. You can still build all systems to a certain point, but you may have to prioritise one
depending on your goals.
Metabolic conditioning can be used to maximise the efficiency of one energy system, which
can be directly translated to a particular sport or even just for personal goals. From the
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a study in 1992 named ‘’Effect of resistance
training on excess post-exercises oxygen consumption’’ showed us that this high intensity
training leads to a higher resting metabolism for hours after. Metabolic conditioning very interesting because it values and prioritises rest time, which is often ignored.
Here is a general look at how you can prioritise each system (I mean general when I say it).
Work to rest ratios (W:R)
Endurance (4:1) Work 4 minutes, rest for maximum 1 minute.
Intermediate system (1:2) Work for 20 seconds, rest for 40 seconds.
Explosive/Power (1:10) Work 10 seconds rest 2 minutes.