Athletes are often grappling with a common question: whether it's better to split up running and strength training or do them together. Those passionate about running argue that strength training can add extra muscle mass and get in the way of your running. On the other hand, those favoring strength training say that endurance cardio can kill any progress made in the gym.
Though it is true that strength training and high-intensity cardio exercises (such as running, HIIT, and plyometric) are different types of exercise, combining them into one program will guarantee you success in reaching your fitness goals.
Hybrid training is a type of training that combines elements of both strength training and cardiovascular training. This type of training can be beneficial for both athletes and non-athletes alike.
A study suggests that combining aerobic exercise and strength training resulted in lower blood pressure, greater lean muscle mass, and better strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. Furthermore, the study also indicates that merging running with strength-building activities is more beneficial than doing either type alone — and might even lower your risk of heart disease.
Hybrid workouts are a fantastic method to mix things up in your fitness program. After putting in mileage day after day, week after week, and month after month, your runs may become dull.
The same may be said for strength training—doing the same exercises over and over might get tedious. Hybrid training is the perfect way to stay motivated to continue working out. Mixing your routine can help you avoid burnout and plateaus in your fitness journey. This article will discuss the role of a hybrid training program in helping you build strength and endurance and how you can get started with a hybrid training program.
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What is Hybrid Training and Its Benefits?
Hybrid training is a type of workout that combines strength and cardiovascular training. This type of workout can be done with weights, bodyweight exercises, or a mix of both. In a hybrid training program, you must combine cardiovascular exercise, such as running or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), with resistance training, including weightlifting and calisthenics (aka bodyweight exercises).
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), we should do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, as well as strength training two or more days weekly. There are several benefits to hybrid training, such as:
Hybrid training can help you build muscle. A study suggests that HIIT combined with weightlifting resulted in more muscle growth than HIIT or weightlifting alone. In the study, participants did three HIIT workouts per week and three weightlifting sessions per week. The HIIT-weightlifting group gained more muscle mass than the HIIT group, which just did HIIT, and the weightlifting group, which only lifted weights.
Helps Burns Fat
Hybrid training can also help you burn fat. A study found that a group of women who did a hybrid workout consisting of 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training three times per week for 12 weeks lost more body fat than those who just did cardio or strength training alone.
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Helps Build Muscle Strength and Endurance
Hybrid training can help build both muscle strength and endurance. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health found that a group of older adults who did a hybrid workout had greater muscle endurance than those who just did cardio or strength workouts alone.
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Increases Bone Density
Hybrid training can also help increase bone density. A study published in a PLoS journal suggests that a group of individuals following a hybrid workout consisting of cardio and strength training resulted in increased bone density in their hips and lumbar spine compared to those who just did cardio or strength training alone.
Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Hybrid training can also help prevent cardiovascular disease. According to a research study, HIIT combined with weightlifting resulted in lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as improved cholesterol levels, compared to HIIT or weightlifting alone. The HIIT-weightlifting group significantly decreased their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
Nutrition for Hybrid Training
As with any type of training, nutrition is essential for hybrid training. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to nutrition for hybrid training:
- Fuel Your Body: It’s essential to fuel your body before and after hybrid workouts. This means eating a nutritious breakfast before your workout and a healthy snack or meal afterward.
- Stay Hydrated: It’s also important to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially if you’re doing intense hybrid workouts. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
- Choose Healthy Foods: When it comes to food choices, make sure to choose healthy options that will give you the energy you need to power through your workout. Some good options include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
- Consume a Balanced Diet: Your best bet for optimal energy and performance is to consume a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and fiber from whole plant foods that provides enough calories to sustain your increased workout intensity. Carbohydrates are required by your body to function during any physical activity, whether a marathon or a deadlift PR in the gym. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dining (AND), 5 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day is required for one hour of moderate exercise each day.
- Avoid Processed Foods: It’s also important to avoid processed foods, as they can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Stick with whole, nutritious foods to help you reach your fitness goals.
Here is a sample day of eating for hybrid training:
Breakfast: ½ cup rolled oats, 1 sliced banana, ½ cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Snack: Post-workout protein shake containing 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 whole banana, 1 cup leafy greens of your choice (spinach, kale, etc.), 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds, and 1 whole Medjool date, pitted.
Lunch: 1½cup of dry lentils, ½ cup black bean, 1 cup steamed broccoli, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ avocado whole, 2 cups spinach, juice of one whole lemon, and ¼ cup organic salsa.
Snack: ½ cup Greek yogurt with berries
Dinner: ½ cup brown basmati rice, 150 g boneless, skinless, chicken breast, 1 cup chopped cauliflower, 100 g raw sweet potatoes, ½ cup chickpeas, ½ red cabbage, and 1 Tbsp. Lemon Tahini dressing.
As you can see, eating healthy foods will give you the energy you need to power through your workout is essential. Be sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in your diet. And don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day!
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How to Get Started With Hybrid Training
If you’re interested in starting a hybrid training program, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Find a Routine That Works for You: There are a variety of hybrid routines. The first step is finding exercises that you enjoy. This will help you stick to your routine and see results.
You can try different things to see what works best for you, like working out in nature, running around a track, using weights at the gym, or doing bodyweight exercises at home. Find what works best for you and make a workout routine based on your individualized needs and preferences.
Set Realistic Goals: It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself. This will help you stay on track and motivated throughout your hybrid training journey.
Prioritize Rest and Recovery: Rest and recovery are essential to any training program. Be sure to listen to your body and take days off when needed, as no workout regimen is complete without taking time off between sets for rest and recovery. Your muscles repair and get stronger during the recovery phase.
Take one day a week off from exercise or do active recovery (such as walking, hiking, cycling, swimming) on two days each week. This will provide your body and brain with a much-needed break from training.
Be Flexible in Your Workout Routine: One of the benefits of hybrid training is its adaptability. As your fitness goals change, you can adjust your workout routine accordingly.
You could, for example, jog or run slowly for 30 to 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, you could focus on working out your muscles on Tuesday and Thursday with strength training workouts. You could also try high-intensity hybrid workouts, which combine calisthenics, weightlifting, and running three or four days a week.
Start Slow and Increase Workout Volume Over Time: When starting a hybrid training program, it’s important to start slow and gradually increase your workout volume. This will help you avoid injury and burnout. Begin with two or three workouts each week and gradually increase until you can do four or five a week without compromising on quality.
Now that you know the basics of hybrid training, it’s time to start! Choose a routine that works for you and start seeing results.
Sample Hybrid Training Program
The sample hybrid training workout utilizes powerlifting and body-building exercises to maximize muscle growth. Aim to keep the intensity high and your weights challenging. If there are fewer reps in your set, go heavy.
Hybrid Training Chest and Shoulders Workout
1) 12 reps of incline dumbbell presses
2) 10 reps of flat dumbbell presses
3) 8 reps of decline dumbbell presses
4) 15 reps of shoulder presses
5) 12 reps of lateral raises
6) 10 reps of front raises
7) 8 reps of rear delt flyes
8) 60-second plank hold (or as long as you can hold it for).
This workout aims to perform each exercise with good form and without rest in between exercises. Once you have completed all 8 exercises, rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the circuit 2 more times.
Hybrid Training Leg Workout
1) 12 reps of squats
2) 10 reps of lunges
3) 8 reps of leg presses
4) 15 reps of calf raises
5) 12 reps of hamstring curls
6) 10 reps of glute bridges
7) 8 reps of single-leg deadlifts
8) 60-second wall sit (or as long as you can hold it for).
Once you have completed all 8 exercises, rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the circuit 2 more times.
Hybrid Training Back Workout
1) 12 reps of lat pulldowns
2) 10 reps of seated rows
3) 8 reps of pull-ups
4) 15 reps of inverted rows
5) 12 reps of face pulls
6) 10 reps of Superman hold (or as long as you can hold it for).
Once you have completed all 6 exercises, rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the circuit 2 more times.
Hybrid Training Arm Workout
1) 12 reps of bicep curls
2) 10 reps of triceps extensions
3) 8 chin-ups
4) 15 dips
5) 12 close-grip push-ups
6) 60-second plank hold (or as long as you can hold it for).
Once you have completed all 6 exercises, rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the circuit 2 more times.
1. Is it possible to train for both strength and endurance?
Yes. It's called "hybrid training." And it's not only possible, but it has some unique benefits you can't get from strength or endurance training alone.
Combining strength and endurance training gives you some of the best of both worlds. You get the strength benefits of lifting weights plus the endurance benefits of running or cycling. This is because your muscles learn how to use both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems so that you can generate more power for a more extended period.
Plus, hybrid training is excellent for building muscle mass and burning fat. So it is ideal if your goal is to build strength and endurance!
2. What are hybrid exercises?
Hybrid exercises are a combination of two or more exercises. You can use them to target different muscle groups or add an extra challenge to your workout.
For example, a hybrid exercise that combines a lunge and a bicep curl would work the glutes, hamstrings, and biceps. And a hybrid exercise that combines a squat and an overhead press would work the quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, and triceps. If you're looking for an extra challenge in your workout, try incorporating some hybrid exercises into your routine!
3. Are hybrid workouts effective?
Yes, hybrid workouts are effective. They can help you achieve fitness goals in less time than if you were to do each type of workout separately. For example, by doing bodyweight exercises and short cardio bursts, you can burn more calories and tone up faster than if you were to do cardio or weight training.
Hybrid workouts offer various other benefits, such as increased calorie burn, improved heart health, and better overall fitness. If you're looking to get the most out of your workouts in the shortest time, then hybrid workouts are a great option!
Hybrid training is a great way to improve your strength, endurance, and overall fitness. Finding a routine that works for you and setting realistic goals are important. Be sure to prioritize rest and recovery, and start slow to avoid injury. With hybrid training, you can see amazing results in no time!
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