What is a Hybrid Athlete? A Guide to Strength and Endurance Training

What is a hybrid Athlete Blog

The hybrid athlete style of training is not a new trend. In fact, it’s been around for a long time, used by the highest-performing athletes around the world. It’s a holistic approach to fitness that combines endurance and strength training, aiming to bring physical and mental benefits for optimal performance.

We’ll take a look at what it means to be a hybrid athlete, the physical and mental benefits of this style of training, and what you can expect when taking on a hybrid training routine.

It’s about setting ambitious fitness goals and using a blend of endurance and weightlifting exercises to achieve them. Whether you’re aiming to shed a few pounds, build muscle, or both, hybrid training is a potent tool at your disposal. So, get your head in the game and let’s get started!

What is a Hybrid Athlete?

A hybrid athlete does not compromise between strength and endurance – they embrace both.

Strength training (weightlifting) and endurance training like running, swimming, and biking, have always been commonplace, but the number of people combining the two as part of their regular routine is accelerating.

Today, many still believe the two are counter-productive. That focusing on one will compromise the other.

“If you run far, you’ll lose strength and muscle mass.”
“If you lift heavy, you’ll run slow and hurt your endurance levels.”

Recent studies have busted that myth. In fact, the hybrid-athlete style of training enhances strength and endurance simultaneously when executed properly.

The evidence is clear: Hybrid Training makes you faster, stronger, and healthier.

The routine will look different for everyone based on your goals, fitness levels, and the amount of time you have. It can be done with alternating days of strength and endurance, or it can be done at a higher intensity on the same day. Regardless of what your “hybrid” looks like, the benefits are undeniable.

Benefits of Hybrid Athlete Training

The hybrid approach to training helps anyone reach peak performance and stay there longer. The advantages of hybrid athlete training include:

Improved Overall Health

Numerous studies have shown resistance, anaerobic, and aerobic training to improve general health and well-being where you can expect:

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Reduced stress & anxiety
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Better sleep & increased energy
  • Improved lung capacity
  • Improved mobility & bone strength

That’s just the beginning.

Enhanced Body Composition

Hybrid training creates a healthier body composition by combining two techniques: weight loss and muscle gain.

​Studies​ show that over six weeks, strength and endurance training results in positive changes in terms of reduction in body fat and an increase in muscle mass.

VTLZR Fun Fact: Muscle doesn’t burn fat directly, but more muscle mass means more calories burned at the same body weight.

Why?

Muscle is metabolically active tissue that requires energy to maintain – fat tissue is not.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Hybrid training helps to increase mobility, flexibility, and balance – all of which can help reduce your risk of injuries. As your strength and endurance increase, your body can better bear the stresses and tensions of your daily life.

Increased Longevity

Studies show that increased VO2 Max, or the level of oxygen your body can use, is directly correlated to ​improved health and longevity​.

The two best ways to improve your VO2 Max?

You guessed it: Endurance and strength training.

The cross of the two has proven to increase lifespan (number of years you will live) and health span (quality of life). It’s because the combination improves cardiovascular, metabolic, and muscular health.

Sustainability of Workout Enjoyment

The ongoing rotation between endurance and strength training helps prevent workout burnout, sustaining enjoyment and motivation levels.

It’s easier to maintain enthusiasm when you’re engaged in a variety of activities.

You won’t get bored with the same workouts every day and can look forward to the challenges each type of training presents.

Happiness

Perhaps the biggest benefit of hybrid training is that it can make you feel happier.

​Studies​ show strength training and running cause your brain to release endorphins, hormones that promote well-being and happiness.

The combination of endurance and weightlifting helps people stay healthy for longer periods of time and enjoy life as they age.

Key Principals to Hybrid Athlete Training

Principle #1: Find what works for YOU

Begin by setting a goal. Choose something you want to accomplish. It could be something like running a 5K, bench pressing your body weight, or simply improving your body composition.

Once you have a plan, map out how to get there using strength and endurance workouts tailored to your own needs. As you progress, adjust as necessary.

Example of a Hybrid Athlete Training Plan

A typical hybrid athlete plan involves regular strength training, such as weightlifting, along with endurance activities like running.

It’s important to create a schedule that works for you and your lifestyle. Those who are intermediate or high-level athletes may incorporate endurance and strength training on the same day, while beginners may split the activities between two days for better recovery

Here’s an example of a beginner’s entry-level hybrid athlete routine:

Day 1: Strength Training – Full Body

  • Squats: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Pull Ups: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Bench-Press or Push-Ups: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Bent-Over Rows: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Plank: 4 sets of 30 seconds

Day 2: Endurance Training – Cardio

  • 40 minutes of zone 2 cardio
  • Optional: 15 minutes of bodyweight exercises (e.g., jumping jacks, burpees) for added cardio intensity

Day 3: Strength Training – Upper Body

  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Seated Lat Pulldowns: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Seated Row: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Russian Twists: 4 sets of 12 reps (each side)

Day 4: Rest or Active Recovery

  • Rest day or light stretching/yoga to promote recovery

Day 5: Strength Training – Lower Body

  • Squats: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Deadlifts: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Lunges: 4 sets of 8-10 reps (each leg)
  • Hamstring Curls: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Plank: 4 sets of 30 seconds

Day 6: Endurance Training – Cardio

  • 45 minutes of running, cycling, or swimming
  • Optional: Include intervals or hill sprints for added intensity

Day 7: Active Recovery

  • Low-intensity recovery activity like walking, yoga, or light stretching to aid recovery and prevent muscle soreness.

This hybrid training routine is designed to give athletes variety in their exercise routine while still helping them make progress toward their goals.

As with any workout plan, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust the intensity or frequency of workouts as needed. A good approach is to track your performance and recovery data such as heart rate, weight, sleep quality and muscle soreness

Principle #2: Recovery and Nutrition is Critical

The combination of endurance and strength training can be challenging as you burn energy at a higher rate. The increase in activity and stress on the body makes recovery and nutrition just as important as the training itself.

To ensure you’re on track, make sure you:

  • Hydrate before, during, and after workouts
  • Consume electrolytes before, during, and after workouts to maintain body fluid balance, ensure optimal muscle function, and prevent dehydration
  • Consume the carbs, healthy fat, and protein your body needs to ensure your body has the energy and nutrition for optimal recovery and performance
  • Take rest days seriously to make sure you give your body time to recover each week
  • Stretch and/or foam roll after every workout to aid in recovery

Proper recovery and nutrition are essential components of any training plan, so make sure to prioritize them in your routine. Doing so will help you maximize your performance and reach your goals.

Principle #3: Measure & monitor progress towards your goal

When you set a goal, it’s important to track your progress and make sure that your training is taking you in the right direction.

By measuring key performance indicators such as speed, strength, and endurance, you can adjust your training plan in real-time to stay on track toward the desired results.

For strength training, you can measure:

  • Weight lifted for each type of exercise
  • Repetitions

For endurance, you can measure:

  • Distance traveled and/or time elapsed
  • Heart rate or other physiological indicators

When tracking your progress, make sure to take into account all of the factors that influence performance, such as nutrition, rest, and recovery.

Doing so will ensure you’re achieving the best and most sustainable results.

Welcome to the Hybrid Athlete Revolution

The hybrid athlete movement is only just starting as people become aware of the physical and mental benefits it can bring.

By combining strength training, bodyweight movements, and endurance exercises, hybrid athletes can get well-rounded physical fitness. While achieving the look they want, they will have increased stamina and improved overall health.

The hybrid athlete revolution is here, and it’s time to start your training journey.

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