Mixed Modal has become a popular style of training for metabolic conditioning workouts. Initially popularized by CrossFit gyms, the high intensity, time-dependant workouts involving multiple modalities can be found inside Globo gyms, athletic centers and fitness franchises around the world.
Because of the trend and popularity, coaches and fitness enthusiasts have adopted this style of a workout without organization or proper implementation. The current methods of training have placed individuals in scenarios they have not properly progressed into.
‘For Time’ and ‘As Many Rounds As Possible’ (AMRAP) workouts often include a number of skills and movement patterns that must be trained independently before being grouped together in a high-intensity environment.
There are many fitness characteristics that need to be progressed prior to performing them in a complex environment, that is, metabolic conditioning. This is the art of programming Mixed Modal metabolic conditioning to create positive adaptation.
Mixed Modal is the highest level of metabolic conditioning. This incorporates multiple modalities of training including cyclical aerobic implements, weightlifting, gymnastics, and sport-specific skills.
This sounds simple in theory, but when you look inside, each of the skill sets requires their own path of progression before they can be combined.
The first step in progressing into Mixed Modal is metabolic conditioning in a cyclical environment. Cyclical work is anything that re-occurs in cycles, for example, riding a bike and rowing. This is the first step because the contractions and skills required during these movements are easy to repeat and progress. A client must show they can sustain and repeat work for long durations and at different levels of effort. This first stage will build aerobic capacity and the development of self-pacing skillset.
Row 30 minutes – maintain the same strokes per minute
Row 15 minutes – keep pace within 1-3 strokes the entire time
Rest 7 minutes
Row 15 minutes – maintain the same strokes per minute as the first set
Row 12 minutes – 3 strokes per minute faster than last week
Rest 6 minutes
Row 12 minutes – maintain the same strokes per minute as the first set
Row 9 minutes – 3 strokes per minute faster than last week
Rest 4 minutes
Row 9 minutes – maintain the same strokes per minute as the first set
Row 6 minutes – 3 strokes per minute faster than last week
Rest 3 minutes
Row 6 minutes – maintain the same strokes per minute as the first set
The small changes in stroke rates from week to week challenges the aerobic system and proves that a client comprehends aerobic progression. Use this method with different equipment and cyclical modalities.
Learn more about aerobic workouts here.
Once an adequate amount of time is spent building volume in cyclical workouts, the next step is working in extended sets with loads and bodyweight exercises independently. This will allow a client to experience where their threshold meter sits for a wide variety of exercises and contractions.
When first starting exposure to muscle endurance in metabolic conditioning workouts, begin with easy bodyweight skills and easy contractions with a load. Over time you can progress to more advanced exercises as the client is able to extend work for easier exercises.
Here are two ways you can organize this stage of training.
EVERY MINUTE ON THE MINUTE (EMOM) FORMAT EXAMPLES:
EMOM 7: 20 Alternating Step Ups
EMOM 7: 15 Push-Ups
EMOM 7: 15 Russian Kettlebell Swings
EMOM 7: 8 TNG Hang Power Cleans
TIME FRAME FORMAT EXAMPLES
40 Sec of Burpees x 3; rest 90 sec – maintain the same reps per set
40 Sec of Pull-Ups x 3; rest 90 sec – maintain the same reps per set
40 Sec of Wall Balls x 3; rest 90 sec – maintain the same reps per set
40 Sec of Hang Squat Cleans x 3; rest 90 sec – maintain the same reps per set
The aerobic system and muscle endurance are challenged during this stage. The prescribed breaks allow time for recovery and reflection on the body’s response to extended work environments. This will require the client to self-pace by deciding on cadence and partitioning of repetitions. Through the necessary exposure, a client’s movement expression and the efficiency of how they move will improve, resulting in an ability to make mixed work aerobic.
Once a client has spent an adequate amount of time building volume in cyclical aerobic variations and has proven the ability to sustain work in the single skill format, they are now ready for Mixed Modal training. Repeat the same principle of progression as the previous two stages, that is, start with simple movements and advance to more complex movements over time.
12 Minutes – As Many Rounds As Possible
12 Air Squats
20 Step Farmer Carry
12 Calorie Row
12 Minutes – As Many Rounds As Possible
8 Kipping Handstand Push-Ups
12 Calorie Assault Bike
Teach your client the basics and progress them properly and they will get great results from Mixed Modal training. Utilizing these three stages in metabolic conditioning prescriptions will create positive adaptations and set your clients up for success.
Would your clients benefit from Mixed Modal metabolic conditioning? Learn how to determine what kind of workouts your clients actually need and become the coach that designs safe and effective workouts with our free Coach’s Toolkit.