Men And Women Athletes Competing In A Hyrox Competition As People Watch From A Balcony

Training for HYROX

BY Fred Ormerod

Hyrox is an emerging sport that combines strength and endurance through eight distinct stages. Here's how to train for it.

What Are Hyrox Competitions?

Hyrox stands out as an inclusive fitness race that caters to athletes of all levels. Some have dubbed it ‘CrossFit light,’ emphasizing its focus on approachable functional movements while omitting the high-level barbell and gymnastic work.

Success in Hyrox hinges on aerobic capacity and the ability to push through the eight distinct stages (see next section to learn more about these), interspersed with one-kilometer runs. There’s an open division (all levels), along with individual pro levels (involving heavier weights), doubles, and relay teams.

Where Hyrox distinguishes itself from CrossFit is in the simplicity of movements. Unlike CrossFit, which categorizes athletes based on elite skills, Hyrox events use movements that are natural and easy for most athletes to do. Movements like farmer’s carries and sled drags don’t need extensive practice to master.

Hyrox is versatile — perfect for the hybrid athlete. Any time spent in the gym is likely to yield progress, especially for beginners. Specific movements like running play a crucial role, since athletes need to complete eight stretches of running between various movements.

What Are the Hyrox Movements & Weights?

Hyrox has created a blend of strength and endurance movements that make it an excellent intro competition for hybrid athletes. You only need to practice a few strength training elements, like wall ball shots, farmer’s carries and sled pushing/pulling. This “grunt work” style training can be improved by working on just about any strength movements.

If you already have a solid endurance foundation, you’ll want to push to train the strength movements, and vice versa. 

Even at the professional level, the weights aren’t overly challenging. The competition weights are light enough that your own body mass helps move the sled before you exert significant effort.

EventWomenMenWomen ProMen Pro
Sled push102kg152kg152kg202kg
Sled pull78kg103kg103kg153kg
Burpee broad jumps80m80m80m80m
Farmers carry 200m2x16kg2x24kg2x24kg2x32kg
Lunges 100m10kg20kg20kg30kg
Wall ball shots75 reps 4kg100 reps 6kg100 reps 6kg100 reps 9kg

Adapting Your Training

The majority of your training time should be dedicated to “energy system training” structured somewhat like this:

Zone 2 Aerobic Training

If you don’t already train heavily in Zone 2 (long, slower cardio sessions performed at an easy intensity allowing conversation), start with a minimum of 40 minutes, gradually increasing to an hour of Zone 2 work every few days. Rotate between rowing, SkiErg, and running to build aerobic capacity, making sure not to neglect your weaker areas. A well-rounded athlete will go far in competition.

Lactate Threshold and Stroke Volume

Prioritize stroke volume training to enhance your heart’s efficiency. Intervals of maximum effort with adequate rest periods improve heart rate variability (HRV), crucial for tackling each stage of the event. Hill sprints, rowing machines, and specific competition-related exercises like burpees or sled work are effective for this.

Lactate threshold improvement involves training to the point where lactic acid builds up in your muscle tissues. Lactate accumulates in the body when oxygen levels are low. The intensity varies based on experience, with fitter athletes requiring more effort to reach the threshold. Maintaining the “lactate zone” is an effective tactic for leveling up your performance.

Work on These Strength Movements

You’ll need to be efficient in the following strength movements in order to do well in a Hyrox competition: wall ball shots, sled pull/push, lunges, and farmer’s carries. These movements are generally low-skill enough that including them in your training just 2-3 times a week will net the right amount of stimulus to make you feel proficient. 

As always, when in doubt, record your movements and have them evaluated by a coach.

A Note on Nutrition and Recovery

Nutrition plays a vital role in supporting your training across different energy systems. Replenishing glycogen stores after intense anaerobic sessions is key. Aim for post-workout carbs and protein (around 30g) for recovery, and consume approximately 1.6-2g of protein per kg of body weight per day for training athletes. A balanced intake of fats, within a considered calorie range, helps prevent fatigue, injuries, burnout, and illness.

Go For It

Ultimately, the decision to compete is up to you. If you feel your strength and skill levels can hold up to a Hyrox competition, you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. You may even discover how much you enjoy mixing in new training goals to keep things fresh for your regular season.

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Fred Ormerod
About Fred Ormerod

Fred Ormerod is a freelance coach, Army Reserve medic, nurse, master’s student, and massage therapist. He has a decade of experience working in healthcare and five years of coaching in one of Edinburgh’s leading training facilities. He sells training plans on the TrainHeroic Marketplace and regularly contributes to the Training Lab Blog.

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