Everything You Need to Know, Plus How to Train | Fitness tips of the day

If you peek inside the Chicago Navy Pier in early November, you’ll find thousands people throwing med balls, sprinting around the floor, or pushing sleds. What is going on, might one ask? A Hyrox race, which is a global indoor fitness competition that mixes strength work with running.

Here, we break down everything you need to know about Hyrox—from how it can benefit your run performance to the downsides of participating, plus how to prepare and train.

What is Hyrox?

Hyrox is an indoor fitness competition, which originally started in Germany in 2017 by Christian Toetzke, entrepreneur and former triathlete, and Moritz Furste, two-time German Olympic gold medal field hockey player. It’s now a worldwide competition with events held in various countries including France, Ireland, and the U.K. This fall and next spring, you’ll also find events in the U.S. in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.


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Unlike CrossFit, also a fitness competition, every race is outlined exactly the same. Over the course of a couple of hours (depending on how quickly you finish), every participant has to run 1K and then complete one of eight functional exercises, in the order listed below, before running to the next station. Here’s what the full day looks like:

  • Run 1K
  • Ski Erg 1000 m
  • Run 1K
  • Sled Push 50 m
  • Run 1K
  • Sled Pull 50 m
  • Run 1K
  • Burpee Broad Jumps 80 m
  • Run 1K
  • Rowing 1000 m
  • Run 1K
  • Farmer’s Carry 200 m
  • Run 1K
  • Sandbag Lunges 100 m
  • Run 1K
  • Wall balls 75 to 100

Because anyone can participate in a Hyrox competition, you’ll find several divisions and no course time limits. You can expect to finish the course in three hours or less, according to the Hyrox website, though last year’s average finish time was around 1.5 hours. You also have the option to compete as a group of two or four. Those who perform well and finish fast also have the chance to compete in world championships.

“While at first glance, it might seem like this is the type of competition that lends itself toward people who are doing lots of strength work and lifting, the truth of the matter is, this is an endurance event,” Yusuf Jeffers NASM-certified personal trainer, USATF-certified running coach and race director for Hyrox competitions in the U.S., tells Runner’s World. So naturally, runners have an advantage and the potential to perform well, he adds.

What are the benefits of competing in a Hyrox race?

Runners can always benefit from better strength and endurance—no matter what time of year it is—and that’s exactly what you’ll gain from training for this competition. “It gives a runner a reason to get stronger,” says Jeffers.

This race will force runners who neglect weight training to practice strength exercises like the farmer’s carry, wall balls, and sled pushes, all of which build core stability and lower-body strength. Those who do weight train regularly will also get an extra challenge of moving with speed and precision, especially through moves like the broad jump and ski erg.

When you combine strength training with running in this way, it challenges your muscular endurance so you can keep your form longer on the run, and correct any changes in form as miles progress, says Jeffers.

What’s more, Hyrox will challenge you to train at a higher intensity. “A typical endurance athlete, depending on the distance, is going to be working a lot in zone 2 [heart rate]—very aerobic work. This is the type of thing that, yes, it’s still zone 2 work, but it is kind of nudging it up closer to threshold, depending on how hard you go at each one of the stations,” says Jeffers. This can pay off in better efficiency and speed later down the road.

What are the downsides of competing in a Hyrox race?

Competing in a Hyrox race doesn’t mean you have to forego any running events, but there are a few things you need to consider before you sign-up for one.

First, you need to think about timing, especially if you want to participate in any running events like a 10K or marathon around the same time. Jeffers suggests you add a Hyrox race to your calendar as you would any other race, making sure you allow enough time for recovery before participating in another event. One way to approach this is to schedule your race in place of a weekly long run on your typical race training plan, and don’t plan to run two races in the same week.

If you plan accordingly, there’s no real reason you couldn’t do a half marathon one weekend and a Hyrox competition another, says Jeffers, depending on your goals. If you’re marathon training, you might want to schedule Hyrox earlier or midway through your plan.

Also, there are some risks for injury with Hyrox, just as in running. The most common injuries are muscle cramping and sprains, says Jeffers. That’s why you want to take the time to train for the event (just as you would a running race), so you can lower your risk of injury. Because this is a timed event, you’ll move swiftly and efficiently through each station, but pay close attention to form as you go.

How should you train for a Hyrox race?

When you’re training for a Hyrox competition, you don’t want to neglect your running routine, “because that is the biggest strength and advantage going into a competition like this,” Jeffers says.

Jeffers suggests athletes start training at least two months in advance and work out about five days a week. It’s best to do workouts that mimic what you’ll do on Hyrox race day—that is, mixing running with strength exercises but you can also have regular run days. Aim to clock about 10 to 20 miles each week, including the miles you’ll run during your strength training sessions. You’ll also taper your workouts about a week before race day, so you have less intense sessions and more rest, Jeffers adds.

To kick off your Hyrox training, check out the workout below, designed by Jeffers. Do four rounds of the entire circuit. Record the total amount of time it takes to complete one round, and use that to set your time goal for the next round or the next time you do this workout.

Remember: The goal is to finish in as little time as possible. As your training progresses, the amount of time it takes you to complete the circuit should decrease, says Jeffers.

Lastly, you can swap out any of the strength exercises below, for other moves (ski erg, sled push, sled pull, rowing, farmer’s carry, or wall balls) so you can practice every exercise ahead of race day. You can find the instructions on the rules for each move in the Hyrox handbook.

A Hyrox Workout to Add to Your Training

Run 400 m

Do this at your ideal race pace, which should be somewhere between your 5K and 10K pace. Expect to run a total of 8K on race day, says Jeffers.

Walking Lunge With Weights

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands holding dumbbells or kettlebells at sides, or sandbags on top of shoulders.
  2. Step forward with right foot, bending both knees at 90-degree angle, so left knee touches the floor and right thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Press into left heel to stand back up.
  4. Repeat, this time take a step forward with left foot.
  5. Continue alternating as you walk forward.
  6. Do 20 reps on each leg.

Run for 400 m

Again, do this at your ideal race pace.

Burpee Broad Jump

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Send knees down and back and lower into a squat as deeply as you can.
  3. Place hands on floor by feet (feet shouldn’t pass finger tips).
  4. Jump back with both feet to come into a high plank position.
  5. With core engaged, bend elbows to lower body to the floor (chest must touch the ground) like a push-up, then press back up.
  6. With both feet, jump back up into a squat position.
  7. Stand up, and as you do swing both arms back for momentum
  8. Then jump forward and land on both feet simultaneously.
  9. Repeat.
  10. Do 20 reps.

What else should runners know about Hyrox?

Here are a few other tips from Jeffers to keep in mind as you prepare for your race:

1. Practice each exercise

Jeffers says to keep these tips in mind as you do each exercise:

  • Ski erg: Don’t start off too fast, instead practice an even and steady pace.
  • Sled push: The sleds are meant to feel heavy, so don’t panic if it feels tough. This will likely take you the longest time to compete, so take short breaks as you work toward completing the full distance. Make sure to keep core tight and use those legs and glutes.
  • Sled pull: For a better grip, grab the rope at the end, and walk backwards. Keep chest tall and core tight for this one, too. Your legs and glutes help drive your steps.
  • Burpee broad jumps: Make sure you follow the movement standards to avoid being penalized, which will result in your reps not being counted. Some main things to keep in mind on the burpee and jump: Once you plant your hands, keep them there. And when you land with both feet, keep them stationed—no shuffling forward a few steps.
  • Rowing: This is your opportunity for an active recovery, and don’t push too hard. Again, you want to practice this exercise at an even and steady pace.
  • Farmer’s carry: Move as quickly as possible here. Think race walk gait!
  • Sandbag lunges: To avoid penalties, keep the sandbags on shoulders and don’t overextend your legs—maintain that 90-degree bend in both knees.
  • Wall balls: This station is meant for you to push the pace, but do it with precision so all of your reps are counted. Follow strong squat form and use the legs to toss the ball.

2. Stay fueled

Because this race can take up to three hours to complete, it’s important to consider your potential energy and hydration needs during the race. Expect aid stations at the event, where you can get water. But you should also practice your fueling and hydration strategy during training, just as you would for any other race. This way, you can make sure you have enough stamina to complete the race, but also understand how certain foods and sports products can affect your overall performance.

3. Create a strong team

If you want to partner up, or race in the relay division, make sure you pick a buddy or buddies whose fitness level is relatively close to yours, so you can share the load evenly.

Headshot of Monique Lebrun

Monique LeBrun joined the editorial staff in October 2021 as the associate health and fitness editor. She has a master’s degree in journalism and has previously worked for ABC news and Scholastic. She is an avid runner who loves spending time outside.

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