We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Rest assured, all opinions are my own.

 Disclaimer: There may be affiliate links in this post.  For more information, please read my disclosure policy.  

CrossFit Metcons (Metcon = metabolic conditioning) are a staple of CrossFit-style training.  I’ve been doing CrossFit for two years and I love it!  Anyone can do CrossFit since everything can be scaled.  If you’re a CrossFit athlete or want to be one- these posts are for you!    

If you’re in a hurry to get in a lifting session, this is how to get it done!


Pick 3, Load Up, Do it.

3×10 of 1 lift from each category: 

1. Squat:  

  • Back
  • Front
  • Overhead
  • Scaled: Low weight, Dumbbell, or Air Squats
2. Press:

  • Bench Press
  • Push Press
  • Strict Press
  • Scaled: Low weight, dumbbells, or Push-Ups
3. Clean/Snatch/Deadlift:

  • Clean: Hang/Power/Full
  • Snatch: Hang/Power/Full
  • Deadlift
  • Scaled: Low weight, Dumbbells, or PVC Pipe

For example, one quick set workout could be 3 sets x 10 reps of: Back Squat, Bench Press, and Hang Clean.

Or another example: Front Squat, Push Press, Snatch.

If you’ve ever seen me lift in a hurry, you’ll notice I use these core lifts as my ‘go-to quick-sets.’  I usually add in some type of warm-up and cool-down around the core lifts if I have time.  Otherwise I’ll go straight to the core lifts and rep out 3×10’s.

It’s nice to have a go-to quick-set for those days when you’re in a hurry, want to workout, and don’t want to waste time thinking about what to do.

3 Lifts @ 3 Sets x 10 Reps

I can usually do 3 lifts at 3 sets of 10 repetitions in under 20 minutes.  I load up a heavy squat weight (usually 45’s) and light weight for anything else.  I did this a lot when I didn’t have a workout partner or anyone to spot me.  I recommend having a spotter, but if you don’t have one you definitely don’t want to go heavy that day.

Even though I know I can lift much heavier, if I’m in a hurry this is usually what I do.  It saves time changing the weights and thinking about what you can do safely. The goal is to workout, right?   So every rep counts.  We can save the max-outs weights for another day when our spotter is there!

New Quick Set Every Other Day

I did variations of this quick set list 3 days per week for 2 years before I started CrossFit.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should rest 24-48 hours between lifting for major muscle groups -which is a perfect way to start out. (ACSM) Try alternating your movements in each category every other day.  Plan to have at least 1 full rest day between your lifting sessions.

*Note that some CrossFit coaches schedule strength every single day, but if they are alternating major muscle groups it should be plenty of time for your muscles to repair and go again.  You should not do heavy barbell lifts 2 days in a row.

Increase the Challenge

As I started feeling more comfortable with my routines, I would occasionally change the weights, reps, or sets but I stuck firmly to 3 or 4 core lifts per day.  If I felt really good and had extra time, I would do some accessory work, mobility, or extra cardio.

I really enjoyed having a go-to routine when I only had a few minutes to do the work.  It took out thinking, added in a time cap, and got me moving.   I didn’t have to decide what to do each day.  I just walked up to the bar and rep’ed ’em out.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Want to create a home-gym on a budget?  Shop ProSource CrossTraining for Great Prices.
cross training gear

What’s your go-to quick set?