Building the Best Hybrid Athlete Split for You

building a hybrid athlete split

Becoming a hybrid athlete and mastering endurance and strength requires a well-structured and personalized training split. Since every athlete is unique and has different needs, it’s important to create a custom approach.

Your plan will correspond to your goals, physical condition, and the time you have available.

While there is no one-size-fits-all for any form of exercise, we will discuss what you should consider when creating the best split for you as a hybrid athlete.

Importance of an effective training split

Before diving into your ideal hybrid athlete split, it’s important to know that the routine you choose will be the difference in success or failure in your health and fitness journey.

The program structure will greatly influence how quickly and effectively you reach your goals, or it can cause you to plateau or risk injury.

It will need to be reviewed, tweaked, and adjusted on an ongoing basis to make sure you’re comfortable yet still pushing the boundaries of what you will achieve.

A well-designed split will improve your endurance and strength abilities, contributing to an all-round athletic performance.

It minimizes the risk of injuries by allowing proper recovery intervals between different workouts. It will also prevent overreliance on a single training discipline, promoting a balanced approach that helps you excel in your physical tasks.

Now, let’s discuss how to build your hybrid athlete training program.

What should you consider when building your hybrid athlete training split?

There are a few major factors to keep in mind when detailing your training program.

Understanding your goals as a hybrid athlete

It’s crucial to clearly understand your goals – the why behind the split.

Do you want to improve your strength to reach new PRs? Do you want to win a bodybuilding competition? Are you aiming to break a marathon record? Do you want to run a 5K or a full marathon? Do you just want to trim fat, gain muscle, or feel better?

Your goals will influence the type of workout split best for you.

If your target is to set new PRs in weightlifting, you may opt for a routine and diet that leans more toward strength training.

If your top priority is optimizing endurance performance for a race, then your routines and nutrition will be slightly optimized toward better performance in that area.

If you only want to feel better and work on your body composition, an even split between strength and endurance training is the way to go.

To start, set a goal.

Define the why.

This will help you craft an effective hybrid athlete split tailored to your needs and abilities.

Assessing your current physical condition

Knowing your starting point and measuring your progress over time is critical. Otherwise, it would be impossible to tell whether there is actually any improvement.

Your current physical condition will dictate what kind of split and routines work best for you – how much time per day or week can you dedicate to training? How much rest do you need?

You should also assess your physical condition when designing the split.

Are there any areas of weakness that need to be worked on first? Are there any injuries or pre-existing conditions that may limit certain types of exercise or leave you vulnerable to further injury while working out?

These considerations will help you develop a hybrid split tailored to your individual needs and allow you to progress safely.

The basics of training splits

Training splits refer to how your endurance and strength training workouts are divided during the week.

The idea is to create a balanced routine that allows your body to rest and recover while providing the intensity and variety necessary for optimal performance.

Customizing your hybrid athlete split

When customizing your split, review your goal and decide how much time you can dedicate to your workouts.

If you want to build strength and power, then a full-body or push-pull-legs split might be best. If your goal is hypertrophy (building muscle), a push-pull-legs-type split may be more effective.

If you’re using strength training to improve your endurance for a race, swimming, or running, you should focus on movements that are specific to those sports. For example, if you’re running a marathon, include plyometrics and strength training for the lower body.

Exercise selection: compound exercises vs. isolation exercises

The next step is selecting exercises to help you reach your goals. When choosing exercises, consider what type of movement is best for your plan.

Compound exercises (such as squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, and bench presses) involve multiple muscle groups and are best for building strength and power.

Benefits of compound exercises include:

  • Burning more calories
  • Improved mobility, balance, flexibility, and coordination
  • Elevating the heart rate
  • Improving movement efficiency
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Preventing injuries by using the entire body
  • Muscle growth is more rapid
  • Improved cardiovascular endurance

Isolation exercises (like biceps curls, triceps extensions, and calf raises) work for one specific muscle group at a time and are great for targeting a particular area or increasing the size of a specific muscle.

Benefits of isolation exercises include:

  • Eliminating muscle imbalances
  • More effectively rehab sports injuries
  • Eliminating weak links
  • Providing more definition to a specific area

For hybrid athletes, compound exercises help develop the power and strength needed to excel in their sport. Isolation exercises help target weak areas or injury prevention. Incorporating both types of exercises into a training regimen will lead to better overall performance.

Optimizing your split based on your goal

Now that you’ve chosen the right exercises, it’s time to optimize your split based on your goal. Different goals require different splits. For example, a beginner trying to run their first 5K will have a different split than an advanced athlete training for a bodybuilding show.

The focus of your routine should lean towards the type of exercises that help you reach your specific goal while incorporating both endurance and strength training. As your race approaches, your split will include heavier endurance and less strength training, and vice versa for a bodybuilding show.

Your hybrid athlete split should fulfill your individual needs and goals. Keep in mind that the overall goal of a hybrid athlete’s split is to develop all-around athleticism rather than getting too focused on one specific area. However, keeping both activities will support your goals for improved performance. 

What could a hybrid athlete split look like?

A hybrid athlete split throughout the week should focus on foundational strength, mobility, and endurance. Below are examples of a beginner, intermediate, and advanced hybrid athlete split:

Beginner-level hybrid athlete split

A beginner’s hybrid athlete workout plan should support strength and durability while prioritizing proper recovery as your body adjusts.

Monday: Full Body Strength Workout

Tuesday: Short Run and Active Recovery (Yoga, Stretching, etc.)

Wednesday: Upper Body Strength Workout

Thursday: Active Recovery or Rest

Friday: Lower Body Strength Workout

Saturday: 30-40 minutes of Cardio (Running, Swimming, Biking)

Sunday: Active Recovery or Rest

Intermediate-level hybrid athlete split

An intermediate-level hybrid athlete workout plan should involve more intense workouts to build endurance and increase power.

Monday: Upper Body Strength Workout + Mobility Work (Yoga, Stretching, etc.)

Tuesday: Speed Intervals or Tempo Run & Plyometrics

Wednesday: Lower Body Strength Workout + Mobility Work

Thursday: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Run

Friday: Full Body Power Strength Workout (Explosive Movements)

Saturday: Active Recovery or Rest

Sunday: 40-60 minutes of Cardio (Running, Swimming, Biking)

Advanced-level hybrid athlete split

An advanced-level hybrid athlete workout plan should include more complex combinations of movements and exercises that can help you reach peak performance. Some advanced hybrid athletes complete both runs and lifts on the same day, multiple times a week.

An example of a plan our Founder Derek Morgen is following while training for his Philadelphia Marathon race looks like this:

Monday: Pull Day Strength Workout + Mobility Work (Yoga, Stretching, etc.)

Tuesday: AM Tempo Run, PM Push Day

Wednesday: AM Short Run, PM Leg Day Strength Workout

Thursday: AM HIIT Run, PM Chest/Back

Friday: Shoulders/Arms Strength Workout

Saturday: Short Run

Sunday: Long Run

There are many ways to structure the workouts for hybrid athletes, depending on your goals and skill level. With any split, it’s important to ensure you get enough rest and recovery time to perform at your best.

Listen to your body and take extra rest days when needed. Additionally, focus on good nutrition, as this will have an impact.

Monitoring and adjusting your split

On your journey as a hybrid athlete, monitoring your progress and adjusting your split as needed continually is crucial. Tracking and adjusting will promote optimal growth and prevent plateauing.

Start by routinely measuring your performance metrics, such as strength, speed, endurance, and recovery time.

For runs: track your pace, distance, duration, and heart rate.

For weight training: track the number of reps and sets you complete for each exercise.

Keeping a detailed record of your progress will give you valuable information to evaluate the effectiveness of your program and make necessary adjustments.

Use these insights to identify any areas of weakness or stagnation in your training. Remember, any significant change in performance, improvement or decline, can warrant a modification in your split.

In addition to performance metrics, consider your body’s physical responses to the training. Pay attention to signs of overtraining, such as persistent fatigue, irritability, decreased performance, and increased susceptibility to injuries. If you notice these signs, consider adjusting your split to include more rest and recovery days.

Lastly, listen to your body and nurture it with nutritious food and ample rest. Proper nutrition fuels your workouts and aids recovery, while adequate rest allows your body to heal and grow stronger.

Remember, fine-tuning your split is an ongoing process, and a successful hybrid athlete is adaptive, responsive, and in tune with their body’s needs.

Staying motivated and consistent

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hybrid athlete, staying consistent with your training is the key to success. 

Training consistently has the same compound effect as compound interest. You’ll continue to make steady progress toward your goals if you stay disciplined and motivated. 

You may not see results within days or weeks, so do not get discouraged. The benefits early on are internal – your heart, your brain, your mental health, your core strength, and your respiratory system are all getting stronger with each and every workout.

Staying motivated and maintaining consistency can be difficult when life gets in the way, but there are several tactics that you can employ to help keep yourself on track.

Hybrid athletes need a nutrition and recovery program

Finally, it’s a must to have a strong nutrition plan and recovery routine to optimize your performance. Eating the right foods and getting enough rest will help you perform better and stay healthy.

A balanced diet that includes protein, carbs, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals is essential for optimal performance.

Prioritize 8 hours of sleep

Sleep and rest are key for proper recovery to keep going throughout your journey. You should aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night or more if needed to help recharge your batteries and prevent burnout.

Your sleep is where your body recovers from physical stress and repairs itself, so make sure to get enough of it.

Sleep is critical to performance – a timeless piece of advice that is true for any athlete but especially true for hybrids who endure a unique combination of physical and mental strain.

A study from Cheri Mah, a Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory researcher, showed that elite college basketball players improved their on-the-court performance by increasing their total sleep time.

The researchers asked the players to sleep for six to nine hours for two to four weeks and then aim to sleep 10 hours each night for the next five to seven weeks.

The results were clear:

  • After the sleep-extended period, the players ran faster 282-foot sprints (16.2 seconds versus 15.5 seconds) than with less sleep
  • Free throw percentages increased by 9 percent
  • 3-point field goal percentage increased by 9.2 percent

Make sleep a priority. It greatly impacts your performance and should be taken just as seriously as training.

Setting goals that are just beyond your reach

When setting goals, you want to ensure they are challenging but achievable. It is important to set yourself up for success by having goals that are challenging but realistic, measurable, and appropriate for your current level.

You should aim for progress and strive to push yourself beyond what you think is possible without overextending yourself.

Finding a support system

Having the support of family, friends, or a fitness community like VTLZR can make a world of difference when it comes to staying motivated. Having someone who understands your goals and is there to cheer you on during the hard times can help keep you going.

In a community like VTLZR, you’ll also gain access to resources such as workout plans, nutrition information, coaching, and motivation tips from coaches and athletes who have been in the same situation.

Mental training and mindset

Finally, focus on a positive mindset and forming healthy habits. Visualize yourself succeeding with each workout, reward yourself for progress, and stay positive when things get hard.

Remember that your mindset is just as important as your physical training. At VTLZR, we push ourselves to be the best version of ourselves, mentally and physically, and reap the benefits of a hybrid athlete’s lifestyle.

Vitalizers take action

Finding the perfect balance between cardio, strength, and mobility training is an individual journey for every hybrid athlete.

The splits outlined above may be a great starting point, but it’s important to recognize that everyone is different. Experiment with different approaches and find what works best for you! You’ll be sure to reach your fitness goals in no time.

At VTLZR, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Our community of hybrid athletes is here to share their stories and experiences, providing you with motivation and inspiration as needed.

So don’t hesitate to reach out or join us in the group chat! We’re looking forward to hearing your success story. Time to embrace the hybrid life and get to work!

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