I have written in the past about the need to regularly change your program variables (every 2 -3 weeks) including:
- Repetitions - number of times you complete the movement
- Sets - a group of repetitions together
- Time under tension (eccentric - lowering phase/concentric - lifting phase/ isometric - holding weight statically)
- Speed of movement
- Exercise type
- Exercise order
This month I want to share with you an exciting alternative called hybrid training to spice up your workouts. These are more advance techniques and as always form is essential. So if you are new to training I recommend a postural and movement assessment to determine if you have any imbalances that need to be first addressed and corrected. Additionally being already familiar with the single exercises (e.g. bench press, bicep curl etc) is a prerequisite. Many experienced gym users may be familiar with some of these techniques, possibly giving them another name.
The term Hybrid Training was coined by Dr. Mel Siff, a leading trainer who began using it with his athletes, then bodybuilding clients, then everyday gym users with equal success. Hybrid Training combines two or more separate movements with a single weight or item of apparatus in one exercise. Hybrid exercises involve several joints of the body moving through a greater range of motion than is normal with single exercises (1).
Hybrid Training offers the following advantages:
· Greater variety of muscle groups used in a shorter time
· Greater range of joint movement used
· Prevention to a single muscle group overloading and subsequently leading to imbalance
· Strength, speed and suppleness are combined in a training session
· Avoidance of any mental and physical stagnation
· Avoidance of one movement pattern overloads (e.g. pushing)
· Increased blood flow to all the muscles which control a particular series of joint movements
· Workouts are time efficient (1)
There are various ways to implement Hybrid Training:
1. Alternating repetitions
First rep narrow grip bench press (emphasizing triceps) followed immediately by a wide grip press (emphasizing chest) and repeat for desired repetitions.
2. Hybrid sets
Pre-exhaust one body part before moving on to another as shown in the examples below (DB - Dumbell):
· Reps 1-5: DB Press; 6-10: DB Curl, 11-15: Side DB Raise
· Reps 1-5: DB Flyes; 6-10: DB Pullovers: 11-15: DB Bench Press
· Reps 1-5: Narrow grip bench press; 6 -10: Wide grip bench press
· Reps 1-5: DB squats; 6-10: Overhead press
· Reps 1-5: Front DB Raises; 6-10: Side DB Raises, 11-15: Back DB Raises
3. Hybrid repetitions
Here one movement follows directly the next:
· DB Squat to bicep curl to shoulder press
· DB Squat to side DB raise
· DB Lunge to bicep curl to press
· DB Lunge to triceps kickback
Rules to Hybrid Training
1. A weight must be chosen which will not impose excessive strain on the muscles involved in the weakest movement in each sequence.
2. You are only limited by your imagination
3. When choosing specific exercises I highly recommend addressing your current
muscle imbalances and balancing workouts to correct them (if unsure seek advice from a certified trainer experienced in postural assessment and programs).
I hope this has provided further insights and inspiration into your next program.
Your 3d Coach
(1) Siff, Mel, "Hybrid Training - A Strength Training Innovation", 2006,