Insights from the HYROX Podium | Concept2

Insights from the HYROX Podium

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Feb 01, 2023

cady on podium
Cady Hart-Petterssen (right) on the podium for her 2nd place finish.

HYROX is a relatively new fitness race that is gaining traction with athletes around the world. Originating in Germany in 2017, HYROX events are now held in 30 cities in 11 countries. The race is the same regardless of location—eight different functional fitness movements, followed by a 1k run. We are proud to say the Concept2 RowErg and SKiErg are included in this challenging race!

Here, Concept2 trainer Cady Hart-Petterssen offers a firsthand account of her experience at the HYROX race in New York City in 2019. Cady is also the host of our workout podcast As the Flywheel Spins.

There I was, standing on the podium holding my age group second place finisher plaque.

While I was super proud of myself, I knew I needed to hold on to that moment for as long as possible. I couldn’t help but look around at all the competitors, knowing deep down that this was probably the only time I would find myself standing here.

This is not a message of self-doubt or self-pity, but a reflection of the reality of a new sporting event about to blossom into popularity. I was one of the lucky ones to get a taste of the HYROX high at their debut event in New York City in December 2019. While there were many participants, many of us had never experienced a race quite like this one. I could tell some were straight up runners, many were strong, functional fitness enthusiasts and everyone seemed brand new to combining the two elements together.

The HYROX race is comprised of eight unique workouts with a 1k run between each of the workouts. I believe there are a couple things that landed me on the podium that day and I would like to share my secrets with you.

hyrox race format
The HYROX race format. Eight different workouts with a 1k run in between each workout.

Before I dive too deep, let me begin by saying it was NOT because of my running prowess. I can manage to get through the full 8000 meters of running, but there was certainly a reason my high school track coach relegated me to the shot put.

Where I think my value lies with this race is that I am not shy when it comes to doing hard work. In fact, that’s how I love to train. I would much rather spend 45 minutes in a pain cave of pushing, pulling, lifting, throwing, jumping and carrying instead of 45 minutes zoning out on an elliptical machine. Navigating through eight task-oriented workouts was quite a welcome, and somewhat familiar, challenge. Call it a secret advantage.

All eight of the workouts have a set goal to accomplish before you can check the box and set out for the next run. If we were to look a little closer at the workouts, you’d see that six of them have their weights and distances or rep count locked in. There is a push, a pull, a jump, a couple carries and a throw where the only way to increase the intensity within the workout is to move faster through the task. The weights do not get heavier, and the rep count does not increase.

This brings me to the other secret advantage I potentially had over the other athletes was up against. The 1000 meters on the Concept2 SkiErg (the first of eight workouts) and the 1000 meters on the Concept2 RowErg (the fifth of eight workouts) are the two workouts of this race that could sink you if you are not careful. Because of the way the machine works, the harder you work the machine, the significantly greater the resistance you feel through that work. The more resistance you feel, the more taxing on your body. From much experience, I am very familiar with how hard I can go without going into the red zone, a zone from which it is very hard to recover. In addition to knowing my capacity for work, I also have spent a lot of time dialing my technique on both machines. It is incredibly valuable to maximize the capacity of the strength of your entire body and not tap out one or two muscle groups on either of these machines, a mistake that can wreck your ability to be successful elsewhere in the race.

Ok, so there you have it. My secrets are out. Train hard and train smart. Use the workouts that we’ve created here at Concept2 to help you understand how you get through those two Concept2 workouts. Our YouTube channel also has some great technique videos that will help get the most of your workouts.

See you at the next HYROX event! Maybe it’s your turn to be on that podium.

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