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Hybrid Training Explained (For Coaches)

What is Hybrid Training?

Hybrid training is an approach that combines resistance training (typically weight lifting) with cardio, like cycling, running, or swimming. The goal is to reap the benefits of both modalities––for example, getting strong and building muscle from the weights and improving endurance and work capacity from cardio. Additionally, by combining the two ways of training, athletes can enjoy more varied workouts and break the monotony.

How to Program Hybrid Training For Your Athletes

1. Start With Specific Goals

Help the athlete set clear and specific strength and cardio goals. The final objectives will guide the entire training plan and progression model. 

Example goals for a hybrid athlete could be:

  • Cardio: Reduce 5K running time by a minute in the next six months.
  • Strength: Increase powerlifting total by 10% in the next six months.

2. Set Up a Weekly Schedule

Organize each microcycle so the athlete does enough strength and endurance work without overtraining. 

It’s generally best to do an equal number of strength and cardio workouts unless the athlete leans more toward one or the other––for instance, cardio if they are a triathlete and strength training if they are a powerlifter.

Someone new to hybrid training might start with two weekly cardio and two strength sessions. In contrast, an intermediate or advanced athlete with experience in both modalities could work out six days per week and only take one day off.

3. Start Small

When most people think about hybrid athletes, they imagine someone capable of deadlifting 600+ lbs, squatting 500+ lbs, bench pressing in the mid- to high 300s, and running a six- or seven-minute mile. 

While these are great objectives to shoot for in the long run, they are also misleading and unrealistic for people new to hybrid training. 

As a coach, your job is to:

  1. Set proper expectations for your athletes
  2. Emphasize a sustainable approach

That might mean doing three solid strength sessions per week and only up to 60-90 minutes of low to moderate-intensity cardio as a start.

4. Apply Progressive Overload

As with any form of training, gradually increasing the difficulty is necessary to continue forcing adaptations and getting athletes closer to their goals.

Our coaching platform allows you to monitor your clients’ strength and cardio performance from week to week and gain in-depth insight into every activity you prescribe. 

This allows you to monitor all athletes closely and adjust their workout plans as necessary without using spreadsheets.

5. Rules to Minimize the Interference

You must control your athletes’ training volume to allow for proper recovery and progression while keeping overtraining at bay. However, there are a few additional ways to minimize the interference effect:

  • Modality – consider cardio activities that aren’t as high-impact and don’t generate as much fatigue. Options include cycling, swimming, rowing, and using an elliptical trainer.
  • Intensity – keep the intensity low to moderate to allow athletes to train for at least 30 minutes.
  • Timing – do cardio and strength on separate days. If that’s impossible, schedule one in the morning and the other in the evening.

As noted by Wilson et al. in their 2012 meta-analysis:

“Our results indicate that interference effects of endurance training are a factor of the modality, frequency, and duration of the endurance training selected.”

FAQ

1. Is hybrid training the same as concurrent training?

Hybrid and concurrent training mean the same thing. The primary difference is that ‘hybrid athlete’ is a way for trainees to classify themselves, whereas concurrent training is the scientific method for this approach.

2. Who is hybrid training for?

Hybrid training is ideal for anyone looking to build strength and cardiovascular capacity, enjoy a more varied workout plan, and reap all the associated health benefits of the two modalities.

Related Terms in Training Concepts Category

RPE