by: Brandon Richey
What Is Hybrid Training All About?
Today I’m going to address this relatively new term that describes a form of training that has essentially been around for a while. It’s known as hybrid training. The fact is that there are many ways to go about describing what a hybrid program is all about, but essentially it’s all about addressing different physical needs. I’ll explain in further detail if you would like to keep on reading my young Jedi.
Over the past month or so I’ve been asked by a few different people about hybrid training. To be honest this specific term used to describe this certain training methodology is relatively new to even myself. Now to be clear the “name” is relatively new to my vocabulary, but the method is something that I’m very familiar with and have actually been coaching and practicing myself for years.
To clarify this I want you to think of a spectrum where one end of it is all about developing power (like a powerlifter) and the opposite end of the spectrum is all about pure muscular size (like a bodybuilder). The way you develop a strength program is either to do so by catering to power/strength or to all out muscular size, right? I mean it could be one or the other depending on the athlete. Well the fact is that you have a 3rd option that you may have not thought about up until now and this is the hybrid option.
If you can imagine this spectrum I’m talking about with one end being all about power and strength and the other relating to size and muscular endurance, then hybrid training would involve an athlete that trains by developing characteristics from both ends of this spectrum within the scope of their respective strength and conditioning programs. The difference in muscular development depends on the manipulation of variables that build muscle for strength and those that build muscle for size.
A great example of this would be to look at the type of athletes that may qualify as more of the “Hybrid” athlete. I would categorize rugby, hockey, and american football players as hybrid athletes due to the specific demands of their sport. They’ve got to have power and size, but they’ve also got to be able to run, jump, and be agile.
Once again, if you are trying to meet the needs of developing power you’re going to program some heavy reps on some major lifts. The principle I follow, which is also stated in the video, is that I may aim to develop more strength and power on a major lift such as my deadlift, but then I might incorporate more high volume repetitions for additional size/endurance development such as adding in more high volume deadlifts, or to gain more work volume in a different exercise altogether such as with medicine ball throws or kettle bell swings.
Once again the difference is just about manipulating variables for the desired purpose of your training. To reinforce what the video pointed out sets of 1 to 5 reps will encourage the power factor where sets of 8 reps and beyond will encourage more muscular size and endurance. As I stated earlier manipulation of these variables has been around for years, but the buzzword of hybrid training has come along as another means to describe this particular method of implementation.
Let’s not forget that these methods can be varied further by manipulating the speed at which lifts are performed and with adding in varied resistance (such as with bands, chains, etc.) by changing up the TUT (Time Under Tension) variable.
As I pointed out earlier football players have to incorporate hybrid training because they are hybrid athletes due to the demands of their sport. This is why I have always enjoyed what is described today as hybrid training because the stress of training heavy along with developing speed and endurance presents sort of sick and enjoyable way to train that I’ve personally bought into! 🙂
I’m sure I’m not alone in that. If you noticed at the beginning of this article I put an old school photo of Dick Butkus up pulverizing a Green Bay Packer as the intro picture to the article. Now I can’t personally attest to what Dick Butkus’s strength program involved back in the day, but he clearly didn’t have an issue with having developed both size and agility for the game of football even during the “old school” days of the NFL.
I know what you’re thinking. “Then coach why did you choose Dick Butkus for the picture?” Well my young Jedi I chose him for the picture and for the following video to further demonstrate my point of what a hybrid athlete is all about, and because for no other reason other than the fact that I think Dick Butkus is pretty damn cool. For my younger viewers make sure you pay attention because this was a real football player!
I hope you enjoyed that little demonstration along with today’s article on hybrid training. If you did then please make sure you leave your questions and comments in the box below this article. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend. Start your smart training today!