Why you should do hybrid training

I love all types of training and sports. If I had more time, I would get into even more sports. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten deeper into the different “levels” of training and how different things affect different areas when it comes to training. Let me explain.

The definition of hybrid training

The most simple explanation or example, of hybrid training, would be combining strength training with any aerobic exercise, like running. Being strong or having big muscles, as well as having a great cardiovascular system. This doesn’t really make as much sense for people competing in strength/physique or e.g. marathon/triathlon events, as the one genre takes away from the other one — but for someone like me, that exercise to feel good and stay healthy, it’s perfect. I love the idea of being able to lift heavy in the gym, as well as running a marathon. Because my opinion doesn’t matter, let’s go through some benefits training this way.

The health benefits

Let’s keep it simple and continue with strength training and running (aerobic exercise) as our examples. Why should you do them?

Strength training

If you want to lose weight, strength training is great because it burns calories in a “different” way than e.g. walking and running. In short, it increases the resting metabolism, the rate you’re burning calories when you’re not exercising.

That doesn’t convince a lot of people, so let’s look at some other things that affect us all. Aging. There are especially a few things that strength training is great for: muscles, bone density, joints, balance, coordination, and posture. All those get worse as we get older. By regularly doing some strength training, we can avoid walking with some kind of walking assistant device “20 years too early”.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise, mostly known as “cardio”, is any activity that gets your blood pumping. This could be: walking, running, cycling, or swimming. As with strength training, this is a great way to lose weight — but that’s not for everyone, so let’s get to the things that should interest everyone.

  • It strengthens your heart and pumps blood more efficiently throughout the body.
  • It lowers your blood pressure.
  • It helps regulate your blood sugar.

Again, things that you might not think about when you’re young or in your “prime”, but as we get older these things start becoming more present.

Please note that the things listed above are by no means all of the benefits, I just wanted to focus on the things that we all can relate to as we keep aging. Just to name a few other things both of these also can do: improve sleep, brainpower, energy, immune system, mood, etc.

Sport-specific hybrid training

Besides all the health benefits you gain from hybrid training, you also get better results when doing different exercises. I like to compare it to diversifying when investing. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Let’s take training for a marathon as an example: you don’t want to run at the same pace in all training sessions, you want to run shorter sprints, hills, tempo runs, longer easy-paced runs, and do some leg (and core) strength training.

Even for sports like golf, this is important. The reason I’m using golf as an example is that a lot of people don’t see it as a sport. And I’m talking about golf for “normal” people here, not professionals. You need to have good base fitness, otherwise your body will get fatigued by walking up hills for about 4 hours. And that will affect your shots and your game. Besides that, strength training will improve your balance and how you handle your body throughout the swing (=improving your game).

Even if you don’t have a specific goal with your training, mix it up every now and then instead of always doing the same things.

  • If you’re “just running”, add some sprints and hill running.
  • If you’re lifting weights to get muscles, don’t always do 4 sets of 6–12 reps — switch it up and do 2–3 sets of 15+ reps or some one-rep max lifts.

Your body will thank you.

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Andreas Westerlund

Andreas Westerlund

Endurance athlete, digital nomad, nerd. Just a normal guy trying to figure out fitness, business, and life. https://www.andreaswesterlund.com