Let’s first understand what a hybrid athlete is and then we’ll talk about how to become one. Well, according to the popular idea this would be an athlete that excels extremely well in both strength and endurance sports. That would be for example a weightlifter who is doing pretty good in let’s say cycling.
Before understanding how to become one, let’s talk about what actually an athlete is. Naturally, an athlete is a person who participates in competitive sports. Athletes can be both professional and amateur. This makes it pretty easy for almost anyone to slap an “athlete” tag on his Instagram page, but hey, who are we to judge.
However, there are plenty of amateur leagues out there in the wild. So, if you are wondering if you may consider yourself an athlete while kicking the ball in the backyard with your buddies – probably not.
Why would you need to become a hybrid athlete in the first place?
I guess nobody would need to be an athlete because of the pure need to be one. Becoming a hybrid athlete because you need it sounds even more counter-intuitive. However, if you are already good at weightlifting, but lack endurance, then running or cycling is a good start.
Many athletes actually practice another type of sports to supplement the main one in which they are already good. You may look at it from the perspective of a weightlifter who lacks mobility. If you lack mobility, then you could incorporate mobility drills, yoga, or something from that caliber. This way you would improve your technique in weightlifting, range of motion and general mobility.
Some folks however desire to bring that other sport they practice on a higher level. If that’s running, they are going knee-deep in running or cycling for example. Like with the mobility example, running and cycling would give a weightlifter a unique advantage over other weightlifters.
From the other way around, many runners, footballers, and other professional athletes practice weightlifting. That gives them a unique advantage during competition and might be the difference between winning and losing.
How to become a hybrid athlete?
I guess it’s going to be much easier to be really good at either strength or endurance type of sport first. However, if you’re not already there, you are going to have a big challenge in front of you. In this kind of situation, I would argue that you really need to go that deep in perfecting 2 kinds of sports. You would have far better results in going all-in in just one sport first.
If you’re already a weightlifter, runner, cyclist, footballer, swimmer, or any kind of professional or amateur athlete, think about what you’re missing at the moment. Like, would building endurance boost your results? Do you need strength? Don’t think about it as a requirement, but more like from the perspective of resolving a problem.
if you know where you’re lagging behind the competition in your sport, analyze it and hire a coach. If you are already an athlete, you definitely know the significance of having a good coach. A good coach would show you how to improve your results in the area where you are lagging behind others from the team or the competition.
Not an athlete but want to be good at a specific sport?
Getting into a different sport while still practicing the one that pumps you is a good thing. It could help you to understand a potential area of improvement. The example I gave with mobility earlier is exactly that. The difference between a good weightlifter and a person that just lifts weights is technique.
Is your technique good? Do you record yourself? If you do, do you watch your recording later to analyze it for weak spots? If the answer to the latter is “yes”, then you are in the right mindset for becoming really good at what you do.
There are numerous ways to even get feedback on your technique. The first and easiest one is to book a session with a coach from your local gym. The second is to open Reddit and check out the weightlifting subreddit – you can upload your video there and get feedback from hundreds of people. Yeah, some of that feedback might not be objective, but it’s a risk you need to account for.
There are many ways to improve yourself in the sport you practice. Just evaluate and perfect yourself frequently.
How endurance and strength training helped me in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu (or BJJ in short) is a sport that requires a lot of mobility, strength, endurance and knowing what you’re doing 100% of the time. Early in 2019 I finally decided to start practicing BJJ, found a local gym with a coach I like, and started classes. The atmosphere was awesome and the guys were amazing.
As I was visiting that gym only once a week, my goal was to just have fun and learn something new. However, I quickly realized that the strength and endurance training I had till that moment was giving me lots of advantages over others in this gym. I was frequently asked about my weight and what else I do apart from the BJJ classes.
The reason was that I had plenty of endurance and strength. Not that I could win a match against a higher belt, but because I could challenge them enough to really believe they could lose one from me. This was a huge confidence boost, that won me some matches.
Other guys that were really good also talked about visiting the weightroom, because they understood they lack strength. See? They had the winner mindset.
Hybrid athletes to follow and motivate yourself
It’s not hard to find folks out there in the wild and follow their journeys. However, there are not so many athletes that talk openly about what they do besides the main sport they are into. Why? No idea. Probably because they are afraid to be judged by someone or because they don’t feel they are good enough to show it off.
One example of a hybrid athlete is Ramses Principe (@mia_fitness). This guy participated in the IronMan competition as part of his transition from more of a fitness type of athlete.
Ashley Horner is another good example of a hybrid athlete. To become a hybrid athlete is not something reserved only for men and Ashley Horner proves it.
Here’s a pretty good interview with Heba Ali from Women’s Best Blog. She outlines her hybrid workout routine, what she eats and her way of living. A pretty good read.
Another example is Nick Bare. He is openly discussing his participation in IronMan while also being into fitness and weightlifting. In his YouTube videos, you would find about his training style where he shares about mixing weightlifting and endurance training.
One cool thing is that Nick actually trains with various coaches and you can have a sneak peek at his lifestyle around all of that. This is pretty rare I would say.
And, of course, my favorite: Obi Vincent. Obi is into weightlifting (or powerlifting?) and mixed it up with Crossfit. He effectively applied a new term over that and called himself a crossliftr. Well, that’s new, isn’t it? Apart from these, Obi also runs and cycles, so to me, he does a pretty nice mix of lots of things.
Do what you feel best for yourself
Doing what you feel best for yourself is probably the most important thing of them all. In general, you don’t need to become a hybrid athlete in order to have fun participating in any sports activities.
However, if you feel like you need something more to push you forward or to make things more fun and interesting, this might be it. Incorporating another sport into your program could make things fun and interesting once again and bring new gains and challenges.
Do you participate in multiple sports activities that sound counterintuitive to most folks? Do you enjoy it? Share with us what you do down in the comments!