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Training For Hyrox?

Hyrox… For Time…


1 km Run

1 km Ski

1 km Run

50 m Sled Push

1 km Run

50 m Sled Pull

1 km Run

80 m Burpee Broad Jump

1 km Run

1 km Row

1 km Run

200 m Farmers Carry

1 km Run

100 m Sandbag Lunge (10, 20, or 30kg Sandbag)

1 km Run

75/100 Wallballs (6kg)


How To Train For Hyrox?


You will all have your own reason as to why you want to do it - a bit of fun, a challenge, lose some body fat, etc - so how best to train for it will come down to the individual… The person doing it for fun would have a different program to someone doing it to lose 10 lbs, which would be different to someone doing it to podium in their age category, etc… And you all have your own schedules, preferences, strengths and weaknesses, access to equipment / facilities / tools… All these factors make it very difficult to detail out peaking, tapering, the macro and mesocycles - that’s for the individual. All I can really do with this blog is provide a general outline of how I might approach it, give out a few tips, explain a couple of things, and if any more assistance is needed, hit me up.


At a glance…

- Most of your time will be spent running…

- It’s pretty much all cardio with a little “heavy” sled work.

- It’s all fairly low skill… But we’ll come back to that later…

- And it’s somewhere between 60-90 minutes of work


Below is a rough outline that can be used as a guide...


3 training sessions a week, with two optional extras…


1. Running Intervals

2. Bodybuilding

3. Event Training


4. (Optional) Run

5. (Optional) Bodybuilding II


1. Running Intervals…


We could talk about energy pathways, the amount of glycogen in the muscles and liver, capillary webbing, enzyme production - all kinds of fancy stuff - but honestly that level of detail is not needed.


I’d roll with 200m repeats with the aim of pushing the aerobic line further / faster…  


What “pushing the aerobic line” means is that there is a certain speed where your running will cease to be aerobic (when oxygen is used to meet energy demands) and will become anaerobic (when energy is produced without oxygen) - let’s say this is 7mph... Anaerobic, while faster, doesn’t have a great deal of staying power… Aerobic is slower, but it can go all day... So, with your 7mph limit, if you were to run at, say 8mph, after a while you’ll run out of glycogen, and then you’ll “bonk” or “hit the wall” or whatever it is runners call it these days… But if we were to shift your aerobic line to 9mph via 200m repeats and a little strength work, and you run at 8mph or even 9mph, you won’t need to tap into your glycogen stores - you’ll keep going on oxygen and fat reserves, which are damn near limitless.


Essentially these anaerobic 200m repeats will push your aerobic line further - they will make you aerobic at higher and higher speeds.


A huge proponent of this type of training is Brian MacKenzie, “one of the foremost experts on human stamina and endurance”; he has taken one novice trainee to a mountainous 50km ultramarathon in just 11 weeks… Prior to that, the trainee (nicknamed Rookie) had “never run more than 6km at a stretch”. He’s taken an 8.30 per mile marathon pace down to a 7.30 per mile pace in 2 months, using 16 minutes of sprint training and 4 strength and conditioning workouts each week. 


This type of training works, basically.


How many repeats? I’m a sucker for variability, personally, so I’d change the number of repeats each week… I’d select it by rolling the dice…


1&2 = 6

3&4 = 8

5&6 = 10


There’s more to it than personal preference; “20% changes in loading (in our case, volume) and upwards shocks the body with superior performance gains” - Prof. Vorobyev


Basically, you’ll get the best results when you adjust the volume by 20% each session.


If you’re just starting out, maybe ignore all this… A better approach might be to start with 1x 200m at maybe a 7 out of 10 effort, 1x 200m at 8, 1x 200m at 9… Maybe next week we add another 200m at 8/10… And you can gradually build up to 8, 9 or 10 efforts before adding in the variability.


As for resting between efforts… Generally speaking, it takes about 10 minutes to fully recover your creatine stores after a sprint, and about 3 minutes to get 90% of it back in the mix. Since most of us don’t have all day, 3 minutes is what I’d recommend.


Some experts say rest only 2 minutes, which you could do, but with the caveat that you monitor your heart rate. If your heart hasn’t returned to 120 bpm or lower within that 2 minute rest, I’d probably terminate the workout… If you haven’t recovered in 2 minutes, adding more stress will just impede your progress... I’m not a scientist, but I would argue that 3 minutes is better - fatigued muscles compensate with weaker contractions and messed up mechanics / coordination... Unless you’re elite where the minutia truly matters, roll with 3 minutes.


Key points:

- 200m repeats will push your aerobic line

- You’ll run further, faster and easier

- You’ll be far less likely to “hit the wall”

- 6, 8 or 10 200m repeats

- 20% changes in volume leads to superior performance gains

- Rest 3 minutes between efforts


Bodybuilding I…


You need to build your running muscles - the stronger they get, the stronger, the faster, the more efficient your running becomes, and the better you’ll be at Hyrox. 


The areas I would target are: Breathing, Hip Flexors, Glutes, Hammies, Calves & Feet


- Breathing

Due to stressful lives and all that, most people don’t actually breathe using their diaphragm (their actual breathing muscle) rather, they use their secondary breathing muscles of the upper chest. It’s not the best way to live, and it’s not the best way to get the most out of your sports performance… If your diaphragm isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, the hip flexors stop doing what they are supposed to do, then the glutes stop, and now you’re running weird and all the usual aches, pains and niggles appear… Back aches, ITB and other knee issues, foot pains / cramps, even pain in the neck and shoulders after a mile or two…


The first thing I would do is activate the diaphragm, then get on the oblique opener for a minute or two… If you don’t know what they are / how to do these, come find me.


- Hip Flexors

Strong (and long enough) hip flexors are a must for anyone wishing for more stability in their big lifts, more devastation from their Tiger Knees (that’s a Street Fighter reference - well done if you got it) and increased running speed…


To phrase it slightly more professionally and a little more specifically, Deane, R.; Chow, J.; Tillman, M.; Fournier, K. (2005) found that by training hip flexors for 8 weeks, subjects improved their hip flexion strength by an average of 12.2%, decreased their 40 yard sprint by 3.8% and their shuttle run times by 9%... That’s huge.


There are plenty of options to choose from - bands, cables, KBs, etc - but whichever you do choose, remember you’re looking for the psoas, not the iliacus... Tuck your pelvis (posterior pelvic tilt) and focus on your psoas - this will greatly aid the mind muscle connection. Synch your breathing and work with your current true range of motion. 


- Glutes

To quote Miller, Robert; Balshaw, Thomas G.; Massey, Garry J.; Maeo, Sumiaki; Lanza, Marcel B.; Johnston, Michael; Allen, Sam J.; Folland, Jonathan P (So many names!)…  There is “robust evidence that greater hip extensor and gluteus maximus volumes discriminate between elite and sub-elite sprinters and are strongly associated with sprinting performance”


To train glutes, you can’t go wrong with glute bridges. [Actually you can - you can perform them and not feel your glutes…]


Glute bridges are a highly individual thing... In order for you to feel your glute max, you might need your feet quite wide, or narrow, or close, or far, or toed out, or on the balls of your feet, or on your heels, or this or that… Go without weight and experiment until you’ve found your own personal sweet spot. Tucking your chin to your chest and your hips under (posterior pelvic tilt) usually helps. Add weight only when you have tension in the right place - in the bum and maybe the inside hamstring, NOT the lower back, the quads, the back of the knee, etc… 


- Hammies

The hamstrings act as a decelerator and breaker when running, providing stability from the glutes through the knee and calf, Achilles, ankle and foot… Want to be a better runner? Then you need your hamstrings long, strong and capable of stability… I’d train RDLs and hamstring curls, personally…


- Calves

We’ve all seen people that run weird… Loads of reasons! It could be a weak psoas, inhibited glutes, tight hammies, the wrong shoes, backwards firing pattern, letting the arms cross the body, etc… But it could also quite easily be the often overlooked reason of weak feet and calves... The type of calf raise I’d use would be one that allows for the proper loading of the foot / lower leg to improve alignment in your stride, making for a stronger, more efficient runner… So, a slight bend in the knee, a bit of external rotation at the hip, weight on the ball of foot. Personally, I’d go for “a trip up the stairs” - we have 17 steps, 10 perfect reps on each one, add weight (weight belt) when ready. If it’s your first time, maybe half the volume… There are few things in life more painful than calf DOMS…


- Sets & Reps…

Here is a rough outline... If you have a legitimate shot at being the best in the world, it’d look different. If you are 1 week out, it’d look different. No sled, it’d look different. If you’ve never lifted before, it’d look different. You do you, is what I’m saying…


1. Breathing: Diaphragm and Oblique Opener


2. Psoas & Glute Superset: 3 sets of leg raises paired with glute bridges - aim is engagement / feeling, then loading


3. VMO & Hamstring Superset: 3 sets of backwards sled drag, straight into 6-8x RDLs


4. Hamstring & Calf Superset: 3 sets of 6-8 hamstring curls, straight into 50-100 calf raises


Key points:

- Build your running muscles

- You’ll run further, faster

- More strength and better alignment = far less chance of injury

- You’ll look sexier, too


Event Training…

This is where you’d dial in or certain weak points and perform run throughs (at certain times). While Hyrox is mainly about the run, getting no repped on the wall balls or burpee broad jumps, or rowing like spanner can also make or break your time. If, for example, you made your rowing technique more efficient, you would go further, faster… Or go the same distance in the same time, but with far less effort… Or you wouldn’t fatigue your forearms before the farmers walk, etc… You feel me? Technique work pays off…


Example session for improving rowing technique


Rowing drills specific to the individual for 10+ minutes


Every 7 Minutes For 5 Rounds…

500m Row (form focus)

Walking Lunge

Sled Push

- Rest Remaining Time -


Or…


Example session for improving grip


8 Rounds - 3 Minutes Rest Inbetween

Fat Grip Pull Ups 

Ski

Sled Pull

Farmers Walk


Or…


Example session for improving wall ball


Activations, drills, weighted stretches specific to the individual for 10+ minutes


Every 2 Minutes For 10 Rounds…

100 m Run

10x Goblet Squat   (form focus)

5x Wallball

Rest Remaining Time


Or…


As the event nears, full or partial run throughs


Key points:

- Technique matters

- Work your weaknesses 


Optional… Run… 


The most basic and important conditioning factor in soldiers from ancient through to modern times is running… That should tell you something… And for all tactical, hybrid, elite CrossFit, OCR and a massive percentage of combat athletes, running is a non-negotiable staple.


This run isn’t included because the next logical progression from Hyrox is military service or bare knuckle boxing - it’s included for the benefits and because you might want time on your feet... Running is impact work which results in the buildup of bone density, ligament and tendon strength, muscular endurance, “blister resistance”, capillary density, etc. All things Hyroxy people could do with…


While training for Hyrox, keep the runs easy and under 6 miles. If you are new to this kind of thing, start small… As the event nears, fartlek training can be very beneficial.


Key points:

- More important than we give it credit for

- Loads of health benefits

- Keep the runs easy and under 6 miles

- As the event nears, fartlek training can be beneficial

Optional… Bodybuilding II


This is purely for vanity.


Why do lots of training and not look like you train?


Dips & Chin Ups - 3x6-8

Single Arm Press & Single Arm Row - 3x8-12

Curls, Sit Ups, whatever else you want… Enjoy it!


Key Points:

- Not necessary, but you’ll look sexier, so it’s kinda necessary…


Putting It All Together… 


For most people, scheduling your workouts in a way that is convenient and enjoyable should be the priority… For the order to be truly significant, you would need to be at a competitive / advanced level. That said, I probably wouldn’t schedule the 200m repeats for the day after a lower body bodybuilding session…


Here’s two of many, many options…


Monday: 200m Repeats

Tuesday: Bodybuilding Lower

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Bodybuilding Upper

Friday: Event Training

Saturday: Easy Run

Sunday: Off


Monday: 200m Repeats

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Bodybuilding Lower

Thursday: Off

Friday: Event Training

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

And Finally… Where’s The Volume? Why Not Hyrox Every Day?


You get better at what you practise, right? So why not program 40-60-90 minute sessions multiple times per week?


You could, but I wouldn’t…


Inside your muscles are something called lysosomes, and these dispose of components that are damaged or are no longer needed. When acidity (lactic acid) is moderate, these lysosomes do what they are supposed to do - they help clean house and they even help muscles grow! But when acidity is too high, it triggers processes that literally burn holes through your muscles and stimulates the production of free radicals… Like acid, in moderation, free radicals perform various useful functions, but in excess, they delay recovery, accelerate ageing, destroy health, etc…


 “A slight acidosis enables the cell to renew but not self-destruct” - Prof. Victor Selouyanov


The dose (volume, intensity, exercise selection) makes the poison, and if we don’t manage the dose - if we do these daily disgusting Hyrox testers / HIIT / CrossFit WoDs / metcons - we send acidity well out of the benefit range and into the “self destruct” range… The feeling, performing and looking worse range… In fact, it’s even been suggested that free radical hyper production in connective tissues and the soft tissues cause degeneration and a loss of elasticity leading to injuries, so you’d probably be in the injured range too.


You need to practise for the event - it is what it is - but you don’t need to do run-throughs daily or even weekly. It genuinely won’t do you any good, and there are far better ways to train.


All that said, you do you… If it’s fun for you, and if that is how you want to train, then that is how you want to train… Do the program that speaks to you… (Although if you’re gonna acid bath, I’d recommend drinking ACV with bicarbonate of soda before your session and maybe supplementing with collagen... Just trust me on that.)


If you do need any help with this kind of thing, hit me up! We provide online PT / coaching services!


Cheers,


~ Coach Collins

~ Special input from Shez (Made it to Hyrox Worlds 2023) 


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