HYROX Training Fundamentals - Part I: Facilities & Equipment

YOUR TRAINING APPROACH: Metaphor of a Race Car Driver

Visualize yourself as the driver of a race car.

You are not the car, itself, but rather the driver.

Now, your race car will be built, developed, and enhanced in preparation for race day, but as you make your approach to race day, it’s critical that you do so from the perspective of the driver.

Because as a race car driver you are separate from your race car, and this is a critical distinction you’ll need to make throughout training as well as during your race.

You’ll need to take a more objective approach with regard to your body as the race car and yourself as the driver. The car is meant to be driven and you are meant to drive it.

Seeing through the lens of the driver, you likely want to get in the car and start driving fast. But first, like any sophisticated driver would, you want to account for factors critical to your training experience and race result. And to help you do this you’ll use the Critical Factors Checklist:

Critical Training & Race Factors

    • Training Site(s)
    • Equipment Essentials
    • Training Team or Buddy
    • Training Program



As a race car driver, you need a garage and a track where you can build, develop, and enhance your race car while also honing your skills as master & commander of your race car…So, where are you going to train?

Your backyard or garage? A gym? The local recreation center? A specialized training center?

Of course, the equipment availability will be a factor, but we’ll talk more about that in Equipment Essentials. As far as overarching needs for your the place or places you choose to train, there are two critical features you’ll want — attractive force and familiarity.

Wherever you do choose to train, the fact is, you want to want to go and be there. 

Whether it’s the decor, the equipment, the privacy, or perhaps the lack of privacy but the Community, or whatever those qualities are that you find attractive, it’s important that you can identify exactly what they are. Being focused on the attractive features can psychologically draw you there more easily and make you be there more often.

And more than just an inviting space, you want your training environment to help anchor your attention more deeply into the present moment and cut out any distractions.

Additionally, you want to develop, if you haven’t already, a level of familiarity with your training sites. Having a training home is great for many reasons, but most importantly it holds you accountable and exposes your process to onlookers and even other like-minded athletes targeting similar goals, and even better, a Coach or Mentor. 

This isn’t to say it’s not great to mix it up from time to time and enjoy new training environments, but this is one area in your process in which you’d like the logistics as simple as possible while having as much predictability as possible so that no training session or training day is inadvertently interrupted.

Personally, I have a primary training center in which a majority of my training happens and then a secondary site — literally across the street — where I’ll go for a more public setting and to enjoy the recovery amenities. And then a tertiary site — my garage — for late night sessions, impromptu strength sessions, or for when my schedule provides for nothing else.

A great place to start finding your place to train IS HERE. Click the link and search your area for a gym already doing HYROX training. This could fast-track your process and solve for several critical factors.

Now, everything I just said about your gym setup is also true for outdoor running sites. You want attractive and familiar (or at least they’ll become familiar) places to execute your training plan.

As a race car driver, your garage and metaphorical race track are where you’ll build your race car, construct your engine, and become a hyper-efficient race car driver. Also, like any effective garage your training center must be replete with all the necessary tools and even some specialized ones.

Let’s take a look at the tools in your garage and understand the Equipment Essentials that go into your Training Site(s).



Even though HYROX has been considered a “hybrid” sport, blending strength, speed, and endurance into a single race event, training for HYROX does not require a wide spectrum of tools with which to train. In fact, the MUST HAVE tools are minimal and basic; however, it is important how you’re able to set up your training space in order to provide for integrative transitions between your heavy lifts and your running demands.

As a premised position I’ll elaborate on later, I don’t agree with the perspective of HYROX being a hybrid sport. But saying so now serves the purpose of emphasizing the importance of having training equipment in a single training space to facilitate frequent transitions between strength-based movements and running, as opposed to the traditional hybrid method of distinctly separating strength from running or endurance.

With that said, when you walk into your garage to construct your engine and wrench on your race car, what tools do you want to see?

Let’s break this down into three types of equipment: must have, great to have, and good to have.

MUST HAVE equipment allows you to hit the fundamental aspects of your fitness. Here’s a list of MUST HAVE equipment:

    • Barbell
    • Plates to make bar heavy AF
    • Treadmill or space to run

The barbell and the plates, while having nothing to do with your HYROX race, have everything to do with your fundamentals of strength — which have everything to do with your HYROX race.

No, there’s no Deadlift or Squat ROX Zone in HYROX, but nearly every ROX Zone movement has a squat or deadlift packaged in it. From picking up kettlebells for Farmer’s Carry to squatting down on a Wall Ball Shot or the jumping of a Burpee Broad Jump and even the Row and Ski Erg strokes — they all incorporate some aspect of hinging and/or squatting.

For this reason, a barbell along with enough plates to make that bar heavier than you want it to be are two of three of the only tools you must have in order to develop the fundamentals of strength & endurance, which’ll carry over into HYROX success.

In as-close proximity as possible to your barbell and plates, you must have a treadmill or running ground.

 A key feature here is the close-proximity of your strength-based equipment to your running apparatus or terrain. This will allow you to integrate the strength aspects of HYROX seamlessly with the running aspect of your training. Other than those three things, you needn’t anything else to get started and to begin advancing your performance as it relates to HYROX Fitness Racing.

But, maybe you have access to more gear or simply want to invest in a broader set of tools with more specific instruments to work with. Let’s look at some GREAT TO HAVE equipment that fits the description.

GREAT TO HAVE equipment allows for slightly more specificity in your training. Here’s a list of GREAT TO HAVE equipment:

    • Includes all MUST HAVE
    • Rack System
    • Wall Ball 6kg and/or 9kg
    • Sandbag 20kg and/or 30kg
    • Sled plus plates to make heavy AF

Perhaps you noticed I didn’t mention the rack system for the barbell and plates? Perhaps not; either way, I left out the rack system from the MUST HAVE’s because you can get away with most movements (deadlift, clean variations, squatting & pressing variations) at most weight load demands without it and a good rack system will set you back around $500. But when your strength in movements like back squat, front squat, and pressing patterns get to a certain point, you’ll need to start your bar in a racked position instead of pulling it from the ground and the rack system will provide for that.

Now, while barbell thrusters can simulate what it’s like to do a Wall Ball Shot, in order to become great at Wall Ball Shots you’re going to have to do A LOT of Wall Ball Shots. The squatting and pressing are fairly simply to simulate, but receiving the ball and even “tossing” the ball upward are exclusive to the Wall Ball Shot itself, and for this reason it’s good to have a Wall Ball.

Squatting and reverse lunging with a barbell will build the strength for doing 100 meters of Sandbag Walking Lunges, but you’ll be troubled to find a strip of ground over which you’ll do one hundred walking lunges with a barbell on your back. For this reason a sandbag is good to have in order to condition your self for the extensive operation that is the 100-meter Sandbag Walking Lunge.

A sled doesn’t cost much, not compared to your cardio machines or a barbell and set of bumper plates. And the return on investment is remarkable.

If you’ve already run your first HYROX race then perhaps you can relate with me here…I can still remember my first push on the Sled in my first HYROX race. “Is this thing gonna move,” I asked myself.

I looked over the plates stacked on my sled and down the 12.5-meter stretch of carpet, and for a split second I questioned e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

It was a feeling of surprise I could’ve done without. Now, I finished that sled push but I’ll never forget that first push.

Now, don’t let my story about my first Sled Push discount anything I could tell you about my first Sled Pull — also miserable. So, if you can facilitate the acquisition of a 40-foot rope to pull your heavy-AF sled then do it.

For the Sled Pull, a useful effect you want to experience is that of the rope’s slinky-like feeling as you first attempt to pull the sled. It’s as though you have to pull more than a foot of stretch out of the rope before the sled even starts to move. Without an ultra-heavy sled and a very long rope, it’s difficult to simulate that. And for this reason a sled is a GREAT purchase.

GOOD TO HAVE equipment would complete your HYROX tool kit and includes:

    • Includes All MUST HAVE and GREAT TO HAVE, plus…
    • Ski Erg
    • Row Erg
    • Kettlebells 53lb and/or 70lb
    • Air Bike

While there are fundamental strength and power movement patterns you can learn and even master that‘ll promote efficiency through the Ski and Row, each, the Ski and Row Erg movements engage technical features that are worth exploring in order to truly excel in HYROX.

With that said, while these are exclusive ROX Zone challenges that cost upwards of 4 minutes each8 minutes total — of your race time (comparatively more than most others), there’s far less variance between the fastest and slowest rower or skier compared to say the fastest and slowest sled pusher, so you really don’t have that great of margins to make up on the Ski or the Row.

For instance, 2023 Dallas, USA Men’s Pro race: The fastest Ski Erg was 3:41 and the 93rd fastest was 4:29 — a 48-second difference. In the same race the fastest Sled Pull was 3:54 and the 93rd fastest was 8:39 — a 4-minute 45-second difference.

From a coach’s perspective, your time and energy will be better invested targeting that almost 5-minute gap instead of the 48-second gap. But given that there is some skill involved in the row and ski, there will be training time and energy dedicated to ensuring you don’t lose too much time on either ROX Zone challenge, or that neither leave you feeling gassed when you’ve finished them.

What’s really great about having the Ski and Row Ergs is they also prove as endurance training tools with which you can — for those who do it — Zone Train with minimal impact. This is also why I’ve included the Air Bike as a GOOD TO HAVE training tool — minimal impact, but great for cardio-respiratory training as well as very simple to measure power output and efficiency.

And your final tool for specificity is your set of kettlebells. For your Top 50 Pro athletes the Farmer’s Carry averages about 2 minutes of race time with variance up to 3 minutes and down to 1 minute 15 seconds. And while almost every upper body pulling movement will improve your grip strength to some degree, the 200-meter HYROX Farmer’s Carry will bring you to your limit while also imposing discomfort on your quads, shoulders, and back muscles, and it’s definitely worth conditioning yourself to the full effect.

For those reasons and to completely outfit your toolkit for building a robust race car of a body, acquiring a set of kettlebells is good.



We took a look at the necessary tools for race preparation through the eyes of a race car driver. The top priorities of Training Site(s) and Essential Equipment are non-negotiable. If your training site(s) is often too packed or has unpredictable hours or is too far a drive or presents other negative factors that could interrupt your training, then you will want to reconsider where you train in order to have a level of excitement and maximal predictability.

Also, while the bare minimum for equipment is rather minimal, it’s non-negotiable. Now, I am certain there are outliers who can freakishly move heavy things without significant training; however, I am willing to bet you are not that outlier and will have to expose yourself to the lifting of heavy things. A small investment in a barbell and upwards of 300 pounds in plates is the most effective tool and is a MUST HAVE for developing the stability, strength, and integrity of your race car.

And finally, HYROX is, for all intents and purposes, a RUNNING SPORT. Just as in triathlon and Spartan, how you put together a quality race in its entirety is critical, but if you’re not proficient at running — which requires voluminous run training — then you’re gonna get eaten alive on the course. And HYROX Race, in particular, presents the frequent transition between strength demands and running, which requires you to have your strength training tools in proximity to where your run training will occur.

In a lot of cases, both of these priorities can be reckoned BY CLICKING HERE and locating a HYROX Affiliated Training Center near you.

These gyms are more than likely have the MUST HAVE and some of the GREAT TO HAVE equipment while, more importantly, having the knowledge and understanding for best methods for training for HYROX.

HYROX is an endurance sport, and there’s a lot of sophistication that goes into endurance racing success. Just like being a race car driver, it’s not all about having the fastest car. While having the fastest car is great, you still gotta drive it, which takes mental strength, fortitude, and emotional intelligence. You gotta gas-up and fuel your race car which requires knowledge and discipline. And the more you start to account for in order to produce HYROX Race success, the more you realize you need something you probably haven’t even thought of — your Team.

And that’s what we’ll discuss next in Part II— the Importance of Your Race Team.

Leave a comment