A new fitness debate has begun to pick up steam: how to define a hybrid athlete. As sports performance continues to evolve, so too has an array of competitions testing participants’ ability to perform in a series of modalities. Back in 2007, CrossFit got the ball rolling with its blend of Olympic lifting and gymnastics coupled with endurance. As popular as this concept was, many found it too complex and out-of-reach in terms of the required skills to compete at a high level; some even found basic gymnastic movements, like a muscle-up or handstand walk, to be daunting.
Over the years, however, Spartan DEKA and the German-based HYROX have entered the fray with a fitness-for-everyone mantra. These indoor competitions – along with outdoor challenges XTERRA, Adventure Racing, and SPARTAN – continue to gain popularity across the globe.
So what makes a hybrid athlete? Track and Field has the decathlon and heptathlon, and there is the aforementioned CrossFit, but these competitions require mastery of certain sport-specific skills. What would a competition look like if it challenged comprehensive, measurable fitness that anyone could accomplish? Here’s how I would construct a competition to find the best hybrid athlete:
The goal would be to measure absolute strength and endurance, creating a competition that measures both.
My two-day event would start with a strength component; it would offer two exercises: the bench press and the trap bar deadlift. I like the trap bar since it combines the squat and the deadlift. If you’re a purist, I wouldn’t rule out doing all three power lifts, but the squat can become a bit subjective at times, and it will double the time of this session. Your placement will reflect your total for these lifts. Day one would then conclude with a 5K.
Day two would be either the DEKA Fit or HYROX. Both these events are a combination of running 500 meters in DEKA and 1K in HYROX combined with a fitness station. DEKA has 10 stations and HYROX 8. The stations these events have in common are the ERG (row and ski) . Both events have a lunge, burpee, carry and tank/sled push, and pull component. DEKA has the assault bike, sit-up, box step-over, and ball over the shoulder. HYROX adds the wall shot to round out its eight stations.
I’m sure everyone in this space has an idea of how this competition should look. Either way, fitness-for-everyone has never been more popular, so no matter what your interests are, there is a competition out there for you.