CrossFit versus Hyrox

The Distinction Between CrossFit and Hyrox

CrossFit is a training methodology. Hyrox is a sport. CrossFit is the equivalent of a broad-based fitness “education.”  Hyrox is a specific “test” of certain aspects of fitness.

A CrossFit “education” involves ten different “subjects:” cardiovascular / respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, accuracy, balance. A Hyrox race is a specifically defined test of (primarily) three aspects of fitness: cardiovascular / respiratory endurance, stamina, and strength.

Hyrox is not a training methodology. Hyrox is a sport that combines both running and functional fitness workout stations, where participants run 1 km, followed by 1 functional workout station, repeated eight times. While Hyrox is a clearly defined event, that doesn’t make it easy. The Decathlon is also a clearly defined event.

The Difference Between CrossFit Training and Hyrox Training

The three primary physical skills required for a Hyrox race (cardiovascular / respiratory endurance, stamina, and strength) are organic. They involve physical changes to the body and are developed primarily by training. (Flexibility is also an organic physical skill.)

In addition to these four organic skills, CrossFit develops four neurological skills: coordination, agility, accuracy, and balance. Neurological skills are developed in the brain primarily by practice. They also are the source of great frustration for many people who don’t come to the gym to practice, but to work hard and sweat.

CrossFit training also involves skills that combine organic and neurological skills: speed and power. Speed requires physical adaptations plus the neurological skills to move with precision. (For example, hitting a ball or running a given distance at maximum speed). Power is doing work quickly. Power can involve a large set of physical skills, for example the Olympic Lifts.

Hyrox training can be done by concentrating primarily on running plus the functional fitness challenges involved in a Hyrox race: sled push, sled pull, ski erg, rowing, sandbag lunges, burpee broad jumps, farmers carry, and wall balls). It is possible to get very good at Hyrox (strong and conditioned) by training with various combinations of just these exercises. Hyrox training is vastly superior to the standard High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Bootcamp classes offered by most gyms. It is also a great way to transition to CrossFit training.

How We Balance CrossFit and Hyrox at CrossFit NYC

At CrossFit NYC (50 West 28th Street) we offer two options: traditional CrossFit classes (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri) and “Black Box” Hyrox classes (Wed, Sat).

Our CrossFit members who incorporate Hyrox classes into their training week, recognize these workouts for what they are: constantly varied functional movements done at high intensity, the definition of CrossFit. To them, Hyrox days are a chance for longer METCON (metabolic conditioning) workouts and a chance to put some of their hard-earned strength to fun use. It’s all part of the constantly varied aspect of CrossFit training. There is nothing that happens in a Black Box Hyrox class that would not be fair game in any of our CrossFit classes. For that matter, there is nothing in a Hyrox Race that might not be included in whole or in part at the CrossFit Games.

For those who take Black Box Hyrox classes only, these are a chance to do serious strength and stamina work that is far more effective than anything found outside of CrossFit. Most of our Hyrox-only members supplement their training with running. However, for those who become serious about Hyrox, the next logical step is CrossFit.

The Best Way to Train for a Hyrox Race is CrossFit

You can get only so good at pushing a sled just by pushing a sled. To get great at pushing a sled, you need to get strong. To get strong you need to lift heavy (squat, press, dead lift). To get great pulling a sled (and pulling a ski erg) you need to pull heavy (row rings, pull-ups, muscle-ups). To get faster at sand bang lunges, you need to get faster at opening and closing your hips and you need to improve your balance (Olympic lifts). To get better at wall balls, it helps to get more flexible. To get better at Farmers Carrys, you need to strengthen your grip. To get better at burpee broad jumps, you need to get better at jumping. Ultimately, the best way to get better at Hyrox is to get better at CrossFit. CrossFit will give you all the physical skills you need to maximize your performance in any sport.

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