Work Up A Serious Sweat With This Metcon Countdown Workout

Dumbbell on floor, people stretching in background
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

We like simple workouts here on Coach, and by that we mean easy to follow, not easy to actually complete. This metcon dumbbell workout from trainer Ami Acharya is certainly not complex on paper: you do six exercises in a circuit, starting at 10 reps for round one, then doing nine reps in round two and so on… until you force your burning muscles to squeeze out one last rep in the final round.

How To Do This Workout

The workout is designed to be done with two dumbbells or kettlebells. These should be heavy, but you are going to do 55 reps of each exercise so bear that in mind. Acharya suggests starting with around 35-40% of your bodyweight for the combined weight of the dumbbells.

The circuit contains six exercises in total and you start with 10 reps of each exercise except the overhead carry, where you cover 40m for every round of the circuit. For the other five exercises you’ll be dropping a rep each round, so each circuit will get easier as you tire.

In each circuit you aim to complete the six exercises back to back with minimal rest, then take a 30-second break before starting your next circuit. We told you it would be tough!

1 Deadlift row

“Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs,” says Acharya. “Brace your core, stand with a slight bend in your knees and hinge at your hips to lower the dumbbells, keeping them close to your thighs and shins without allowing your back to round. In this bent-over position, bend at the elbows and lift the dumbbells past your hips, bringing your elbows up and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower with control, and then thrust your hips forwards to stand back up.”


Woman performs dumbbell thruster exercise

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

“Stand with your feet hip-width apart,” says Acharya. “Hold the dumbbells by your shoulders, brace your core and with your centre of gravity over your heels, squat down without allowing your spine to round. Drive through your heels to stand back up and press the dumbbells overhead without arching your spine.”

3 Dumbbell swing

“Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in your knees,” says Acharya. “Hold one dumbbell with both hands between your knees. Hinge at your hips so your chest is around parallel to the floor, keeping your back flat and your shoulders pulled back. Swing the dumbbell through your legs and then back up to chest level by thrusting your hips forwards, tucking your tailbone under and squeezing your glutes.”


“Get into the top press-up position, putting your hands on a bench if you want to make it easier,” says Acharya. “Bend your elbows to lower your body, then drive through your hands and press back up to the starting position. Engage your core to maintain a neutral [straight] spine throughout.”



(Image credit: Shutterstock)

“Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms extended behind your head,” says Acharya. “As you exhale, raise your arms and legs to form a V-shape, and then lower with control. Maintain a neutral spine and initiate the movement with your abs – avoid using momentum or collapsing.”

6 Overhead carry

“Hold the dumbbells overhead with your core braced and spine neutral,” says Acharya. “Keep your arms straight and your shoulders stable as you walk 40m with a steady stride.”

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Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.