In this exclusive training guide for new functional fitness event, HYROX, we’re taking you through how to do the 8 key movements including SkiErg, Sled Push & Farmer’s Carry…
Billing itself as the ‘World Series of Fitness’, HYROX is the new run-lift-HIIT event designed to be doable in commercial gyms with conventional equipment. From the first events in 2018, HYROX now has partner training gyms and operates in eight countries, including the UK and the US.
You can read our introduction to HYROX – including a race-ready training workout from world-record-holder Hunter McIntyre – here.
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What does HYROX involve?
In any HYROX event, along with the 8 x 1km of running, you will be tasked with completing variations of the following exercises:
- Sled Push
- Sled Pull
- Burpee Broad Jump
- Farmer’s Carry
- Sandbag Lunge
- Wall Ball
Start training and get good at each of the above, and you’ll stand a very good chance of posting a respectable HYROX time.
HYROX training guide: how to do the 8 key movements
To help you on your way, the training experts at HYROX have broken each movement down into its constituent parts. Follow their lead to move more efficiently and delay fatigue.
How to use the HYROX SkiErg
The SkiErg mainly targets the lats/triceps, shoulder and core muscles. But when done properly, the muscles of the lower body are also involved in the movement, making it a total-body exercise.
- Hip-width stance on the rear third of the platform.
- Grab both handles, with your arms extended and initiate the movement.
- Pull the handles downward and use upper body for support while hinging with a neutral spine, into a quarter squat. Finish the pull with both arms extended alongside the thighs.
- Initiate a new pull by extending the arms back up and driving the handles down.
- No full extension of the hips, shoulders and arms.
- Knees go inwards during the quarter squat.
- Athlete is reliant on the arms for pull, and not using lower body .
- Round back.
- Full range of motion = complete extension = effective pulling.
- Use the upper body and legs to relieve the arms.
- Upper body and back remain straight when pulling downwards.
- Drive your arms as close to your body as possible when pulling.
- Check breathing: pull down = exhale / release = inhale.
Read more: How to use a SkiErg
How to do the HYROX Sled Push
Anyone who has used a sled will understand how good it is at building genuine strength and power. It can be used for fat-burning sprint workouts or serious strength sessions, and you can adjust the workout outcomes by tweaking all the usual variables: adding or reducing weight, distance, speed and rest periods.
The Sled Push mainly targets the muscles of the lower body, especially the anterior thigh muscles. The entire posterior chain and core muscles are also involved.
- Take a staggered stance before pushing the sled.
- Hold onto the handles with your arms extended, and initiate the movement.
- While pushing the sled, stay low and keep tension in the core, with shoulders and arms locked out.
- Not enough core tension.
- No power transmission from legs/core into the sled.
- Slippery shoes.
- Frequently incorporate into your training to become accustomed to movement and technique.
- Stay aware of your breathing.
- Make an explosive start to accumulate speed and momentum.
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How to do the HYROX Sled Pull
The Sled Pull works the entire trunk, but particularly the lower back and quads. Your biceps will also get a good workout.
- Grab the rope with both hands to initiate the pull.
- Keep your feet within the width of the sled.
- Not enough core tension.
- No hip extension.
- No power transmission from hips/core to arms.
- Loss of rope tension.
- Practise hip extension when pulling.
- Long pulls.
- Train pull on both sides.
How to do the HYROX Burpee Broad Jump
The Burpee primarily targets the large muscle groups of the chest, back and anterior thigh – while sending your heart rate through the roof. The arm muscles, meanwhile – especially the triceps and shoulder muscles – play an important role. When jumping forward, the quads, calves and glute muscles are crucial.
- Start in an upright standing position.
- Place hands close to your feet, then jump the feet back into a high plank position.
- Lower your chest and thighs to the ground.
- Then push yourself up back into the plank position and hop both feet forward toward your hands.
- Now jump and land with both feet, covering as much distance as possible.
- When lowering the body from press-up position to the floor and vice versa: loss of body tension causing hips to droop.
- No full hip extension in the forward jump.
- Not landing on entire the entire foot when jumping back from press-up position to hands.
- Maintain tension and focus on holding a plank when transitioning from and to the press-up position.
- Position your legs wider in order to land on your whole foot.
- Use momentum from the arms for a more efficient long jump.
How to master the HYROX Rowing Machine technique
Rowing with the correct form can activate almost every muscle in the body (around 85 per cent), meaning you’ll achieve close to a full-body workout and burn far more calories than any other piece of conventional gym equipment.
The key term there, though, is ‘correct form’, because unfortunately the rowing machine – perhaps more than any other machine in the gym – is forgiving of sloppy technnique.
- While staying in an upright position, grab the handle with your hands and your legs bent.
- Initiate the drive/stroke with your legs first, then arms and upper body follow.
- Extend your legs completely and pull the handle towards your stomach (below your ribs).
- When the drive is finished prepare for the ‘catch’ with first your arms, then upper body, reversing the drive movement.
- Rushed strokes/not creating a full drive – no full extension of the knees.
- Pulling too much and too early with arms.
- Not maintaining lumbar curve.
- Large range of movement = complete knee extension = effective stroke.
- Train long strokes with a short ‘break’ to make the stroke more effective.
- Use your legs more to relieve arms.
- Try to maintain a straight back in every position.
- Keep your arms as close to your body as possible on the stroke.
- Check breathing: catch = inhale, drive = exhale.
How to do the HYROX Farmer’s Carry
The Farmer’s Carry primarily targets the upper back muscles (trapezius), the entire core and of course the forearms (grip strength). Lower body is secondary, but still involved.
“Farmer’s Carries are fun, dynamic, grip-intensive and way more challenging on your cardio than you’d imagine,” says MF‘s strength expert James Griffiths.
- Stand in-between a pair of heavy kettlebells (or any heavy objects).
- Hinge forward with your back straight, until your arms reach the handles of the kettlebells.
- Then use your legs and straight back (torso tension) to lift them off the floor.
- Keep your lats and core tight, and walk with small steps
- Upper traps are engaged during the exercise.
- Arms are bent.
- Arms swing when walking/weight touches your thighs.
- Maintain body tension.
- Arms act as hooks.
- Movement only comes from the legs.
How to do HYROX Sandbag Lunges
The lunge primarily targets the thigh and glute muscles. Because of the way the centre of gravity shifts, sandbags test your stabiliser muscles from every angle, giving you a tougher full-body test than a nice, stable bar.
- First, lift up the sandbag without assistance and place it over your shoulders.
- Start in an upright standing position.
- One leg steps forward and initiates the lunge.
- Lower yourself until your back knee touches the floor.
- You can either lunge continuously or stop after each lunge.
- Lunges have to be alternating.
- Your knees and hips must be extended before switching legs.
- Unstable front knee.
- The rear knee does not touch the floor.
- No full hip extension.
- When front knee is unstable, start with bodyweight or less deep lunges.
- Stop after each lunge to take a break and relax the muscles briefly.
How to do HYROX Wall Balls
The Wall Ball is a functional fitness staple, but this seemingly uncomplicated move requires more than just chucking a medicine ball into the air. And while on the face of it your legs and glutes muscles are the main focus of attention, throwing the med ball also demands upper-body activation, specifically of the shoulder muscles.
- Start in an upright standing position with feet hip-width apart, approx. one arm length from the wall or rig.
- Pick up the ball from the floor, return to an upright position, and then initiate the movement by lowering into a squat.
- At the bottom position of the squat, your hips must descend lower than your knees.
- When standing back up, use momentum and throw the ball against the target.
- Catch the ball afterwards and repeat the movement.
- Standing too close or too far from the wall/rig.
- When squatting, hips do not descend below parallel.
- Knees rotate internally.
- Upper body leans forward.
- No explosive hip extension (momentum).
- Throwing the ball using arms only.
- Find a good position in front of the wall/rig.
- Keep elbows under the ball with the upper body upright.
- Drive through the heels when squatting.
- Use explosive hip extension to create momentum.
- During breaks, pinch ball between body and wall/rig.
You can find HYROX training guides, plans and event info at hyrox.com/en
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