HYROX vs CrossFit: The Ultimate Showdown

Dynamic face-off between HYROX and CrossFit logos, boldly displayed in white text against a dramatic black background. The contrasting typography captures the essence of this showdown between two titans of fitness, sparking curiosity about the comparisons and differences between the two regimes

Confused about whether to jump into HYROX or stick with the tried-and-true CrossFit? You’re not alone. I was in the same boat when mates at the gym started raving about HYROX.

This in-depth guide will break down all you need to know about these two fitness giants.

From the workouts to the athletes, and even how to train for each, I’ve got you covered. So, let’s get into HYROX vs CrossFit and see which is right for you.

HYROX vs CrossFit Quick Summary

Feature HYROX CrossFit
Event Structure Standardised; same workouts and order Varied; workouts change daily
Skill Level Accessible to all levels Requires broad skill set including weightlifting and gymnastics
Workout Duration Longer events, around 60-90 minutes Typically under 20 minutes
Key Exercises Predetermined set of functional exercises Wide range of exercises, including complex Olympic lifts
Training Focus Specific preparation for known events General physical preparedness for the unknown
Community Aspect Individual competition with some community events Strong community focus, with group workouts
Running Component 8x1km of running Running varies, not always a component
Progress Tracking Easier due to predictability Challenging due to workout variability
Accessibility Suitable for various fitness levels Less accessible due to complex movements
Competitive Scene HYROX World Championships with clear standards CrossFit Games with diverse events and categories

Hyrox vs Crossfit – Which One Best Suits You?

HYROX: Tailor-Made for the Endurance Enthusiast and the Metrics Motivated

Who’s Suited for HYROX:

Endurance Junkies: If you’re someone who revels in the rush of long-distance running, cycling, or swimming, HYROX is your playground. It’s tailor-made for athletes who are all about stamina and can keep their engine running for miles on end.

Data-Driven Gym Goers: For the fitness fans who live by their smartwatches and apps, tracking every heartbeat, step, and calorie burned, HYROX’s quantifiable nature is a perfect match. It lets you track progress over time with precision.

Obstacle Course Racers: If Spartan races and Tough Mudders are your idea of a weekend well spent, HYROX provides the structured training regimen to conquer those courses with gusto.

Solo Competitors: Individuals who thrive in their own space, focusing on personal bests rather than team dynamics, will find HYROX aligns with their solo spirit.

Training Style for HYROX:

  • Structured Workouts: The HYROX format is consistent, which means training can be methodical and focused on improving specific aspects of fitness, like running efficiency or functional strength.
  • Stamina and Cardio Emphasis: Training focuses on building a robust cardiovascular system that can sustain prolonged physical effort, crucial for completing the HYROX events.
  • Interval Training: Alternating between high-intensity efforts and recovery is key in HYROX training to simulate the event’s rhythm.

CrossFit: The Playground for the All-Rounder and Community Challenger

Who’s Suited for CrossFit:

Versatile Athletes: If you’re the jack-of-all-trades athlete who enjoys a bit of everything—lifting, jumping, climbing—CrossFit is your jam. It ensures you develop a broad fitness base.

Social Workout Warriors: Those who get a motivational boost from group dynamics will thrive in the CrossFit box, where the community is as much a part of the workout as the weights.

Functional Fitness Fans: If you’re looking to build strength that you can apply outside the gym—in day-to-day activities or in sports—CrossFit’s functional movements are ideal.

Competitive Spirits: CrossFitters often compete with others in their gym, fostering a competitive yet supportive environment that can push athletes to new personal records.

Training Style for CrossFit:

  • Varied Functional Movements: Training includes a mix of aerobic exercises, bodyweight movements, and Olympic weightlifting to prepare the body for a variety of physical tasks.
  • High-Intensity WODs: Workouts of the Day (WODs) are cornerstone in CrossFit, often requiring you to complete a certain number of reps or rounds as quickly as possible.
  • Skill Progressions: Given the technical nature of many CrossFit exercises, training often involves skill development sessions to master movements like handstands, muscle-ups, or snatch lifts.

To sum it up, if you’re all about endurance, love a good set of stats, and prefer a personal challenge, lace up for HYROX. But if you’re seeking diversity in your workout then it’s time to chalk up for CrossFit.

What is HYROX? A Detailed Breakdown

HYROX is the new kid on the fitness block, and it’s making waves. This functional fitness competition combines running and functional exercises set out in the following order;

1km Run,

1000m Ski Erg,

1km Run,

4 x 12.5m Sled Push,

1km Run,

4 x 12.5m Sled Pull,

1km Run,

80m Burpee Broad Jump,

1km Run,

1000m Row

1km Run,

200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry,

1km Run,

100m Sandbag Lunges,

1km Run,

75-100 Wall Balls

It typically lasts around 60-90 minutes, making it an intense workout that tests your endurance and strength.

It offers 4 Race Categories;

  • Open: Ideal for beginners and casual fitness enthusiasts.
  • Individual Pro: For advanced athletes looking for a serious challenge.
  • Doubles: Compete with a partner, share the workload, and challenge as a pair
  • Relay Teams: A team of four, each member completes two rounds.

If you’re an athlete or just a fitness enthusiast, HYROX offers a unique challenge that’s both inclusive and competitive. Unlike other fitness competitions, HYROX is accessible to athletes of all levels, not just the elite. HYROX is a new form of competition that’s rapidly gaining traction in the fitness world. The Beginners Guide to Hyrox offers a deep dive if you crave more Hyrox specific info.

What is CrossFit? Understanding the Basics

CrossFit is the OG of functional fitness competitions. It’s a high-intensity workout that combines weightlifting, cardiovascular exercises, and even gymnastics. A typical CrossFit workout can be completed in less than 20 minutes but packs a punch in terms of intensity.

CrossFit provides a comprehensive workout plan that targets various muscle groups. It’s perfect for those who want a well-rounded approach to fitness, from strength training to endurance. Plus, CrossFit has a massive global community, so you’ll never be short of workout buddies or competitions to enter.

The CrossFit Workout

A CrossFit workout, known as a “Workout of the Day” (WOD), is a varied set of functional movements performed at a high intensity. These workouts are the cornerstone of CrossFit’s fitness philosophy and can include a wide range of activities such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing ropes, weightlifting, and carrying heavy objects.

WODs often consist of a circuit of exercises completed for time or a set number of rounds, promoting a blend of stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. The goal is to build a body that’s capable of practically anything and everything.

Key Differences Between HYROX and CrossFit

The main differences between HYROX and CrossFit lie in the types of exercises and the duration of the workouts. HYROX focuses on running and functional fitness, while CrossFit incorporates a wider range of exercises, including heavy Olympic lifts and even handstands.

  • HYROX focuses on running and functional workouts.
  • CrossFit incorporates a wider range of exercises.
  • HYROX is generally more accessible for beginners.
  • CrossFit has a larger and more established community.

Training for HYROX vs CrossFit: Tailoring Your Workout

Image of JimmyJRichard performing a snatch movement during a CrossFit class to highlight the difference between training for Hyrox and CrossFit

Training for HYROX and CrossFit might seem to tread similar grounds, but they each have unique demands. Here’s how you can prepare for each:

HYROX Training Focus:

  • Endurance Mastery: Emphasise endurance through running, rowing, and skiing workouts. HYROX is a marathon of functional movements interspersed with 1km runs, so stamina is king.
  • Specific Skill Work: Practice the specific stations you’ll encounter in HYROX, such as sled pulls and wall balls, to build muscle memory and efficiency.
  • Time-Based Training: HYROX is timed, making it essential to work on pacing and sustaining effort over time. Include timed sets in your workouts to simulate race conditions.

CrossFit Training Focus:

  • Varied Functional Training: CrossFit’s mantra is variety, preparing you for the unknown. Incorporate a wide range of movements, from Olympic lifts to gymnastic exercises, into your workouts.
  • Intensity and Volume: CrossFit workouts are high intensity and often high volume. Train to push your limits with shorter, more intense sessions that challenge your work capacity.
  • Community Engagement: Leverage the power of the CrossFit community for motivation and support. The shared suffering and triumph in a box forge mental toughness.

Shared Training Strategies:

  • Strength and Conditioning: Both disciplines require a solid base of strength combined with cardiovascular fitness. Tailor your strength training to be functional and compound, coupled with conditioning work.
  • Technique and Efficiency: Regardless of the competition, technique matters. Invest time in honing your form to ensure efficiency and prevent injury.
  • Nutrition and Recovery: Proper fueling and recovery protocols are universal for peak performance. Balance your macronutrient intake and allow for adequate rest and recovery.
  • Mental Fortitude: Both HYROX and CrossFit will test your mental edges. Cultivate resilience and a positive mindset through visualization and goal-setting.

The right footwear can be a game changer in Hyrox!

What Participants Say About HYROX vs CrossFit – Firsthand Experiences

HYROX: Community and Challenge

  • Jelle: “HYROX has had such a positive impact on my gym. After COVID, it brought us all together, train harder and have fun at the same time.” His experience reflects the unifying power of HYROX in bringing communities together through fitness​​.
  • John: “My best friend convinced me to participate in a HYROX Doubles and we started going to the gym together. It took us 1h and 55 minutes and I loved every minute of the experience.” John’s account highlights the camaraderie and collective challenge that HYROX promotes​​.

CrossFit: Professional Performance and Lifelong Fitness

  • Sasha Gomez: “I’m able to move fast in a fire… I believe every fire academy should implement CrossFit as part of their daily training.” Sasha attests to the profound impact of CrossFit on his capacity to perform as a firefighter​​.
  • Rosemary Sarka: “It’s not so much the end product. … It’s the process.” At 78, Rosemary values CrossFit for maintaining her functional independence, showcasing its adaptability across ages​​.

Notable Athletes in HYROX and CrossFit

Both HYROX and CrossFit have their standout athletes who excel in their respective sports. Knowing who these athletes are can provide valuable insights into the level of competition and what it takes to become the very best.

Leading Athletes in HYROX

In the HYROX circuit, top performing female athletes include Imke Salander and Lauren Weeks, while the men’s field is often led by athletes like Hunter McIntyre and David Magida. These individuals have consistently performed well in HYROX events, setting high standards for the sport.

CrossFit Legends

In the realm of CrossFit, Tia-Clair Toomey and Katrin Davidsdottir are dominant figures among women. For the men, Matt Fraser and Rich Froning have been highly successful, each with multiple CrossFit Games titles to their names.

Hyrox Events: US, European and World Championships

World Championships: The HYROX World Championships represent the apex of the HYROX season. Athletes from around the globe qualify through HYROX global races, aiming for the title of Age Group World Champion. The qualification depends on achieving top placings within their age group at any HYROX event during the season​​.

US or European Champion: HYROX also hosts Open Championships in Europe and the United States, where athletes compete to become the European or US Champion of their age group. These championships do not require prior qualification and are open to all athletes, competing in the Open Weights Division. This makes the Open Championships a welcoming event for both seasoned competitors and those new to the sport​​.

CrossFit Events: From Daily Workouts to the World Championship

The CrossFit competition structure is designed to test fitness across a range of activities and culminates in the annual CrossFit Games:

  • Daily Workouts of the Day (WODs): At the heart of CrossFit are the daily WODs, which are constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. These are foundational to training and prepare athletes for all physical contingencies.
  • The CrossFit Open: An inclusive competition where athletes from around the world submit their scores online over a three-week period. It’s the first stepping stone for those looking to compete at higher levels. You can enter as as an individual or a part of a 4 person team. Make sure you pick the right name if entering as a team.
  • Quarterfinals and Semifinals: Athletes who perform well in the Open advance to these rounds, which further narrow the field through a series of rigorous workouts.
  • The CrossFit Games: The elite of CrossFit competitions, this event brings together the world’s elite athletes to compete for the title of the Fittest on Earth™. The Games challenge competitors with a diverse range of activities, from Olympic weightlifting to gymnastics and endurance events.

Is HYROX or CrossFit Better for Weight Loss?

Picture of a slim female measuring her waistline to highlight which out of Hyrox and Crossfit is better for weight loss

HYROX: Structured around endurance, HYROX’s combination of cardio through running and strength through functional exercises can lead to substantial calorie burn. The predictability allows for targeted training, potentially maximizing weight loss over time as participants can progressively increase intensity and volume.

CrossFit: The varied nature of CrossFit’s Workouts of the Day (WODs) keeps the body guessing and can lead to high post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which continues to burn calories long after the workout. Additionally, the incorporation of Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics in CrossFit can lead to increased muscle mass, which boosts metabolic rate.

Summary: Both HYROX and CrossFit are effective for weight loss; the best choice is the style that you get more enjoyment from and that you are most likely to be consistent with.

Which is More Cost-Effective: HYROX or CrossFit?

HYROX: The costs associated with HYROX are largely event-based. Participants may need to factor in event registration fees, travel costs, and any specific training gear. However, HYROX’s standardised nature means you can train for it at most gyms without needing a specialised HYROX facility. The average price to enter a Hyrox Race is £69 – £109.

CrossFit: A CrossFit box membership includes access to all classes, coaching, and often a community aspect which can be motivating. Pricing varies widely, but it typically involves a monthly fee that might seem steep compared to traditional gym memberships. Some may find the comprehensive coaching and community support justifies the expense. The average monthly membership fee for unlimited classes ranges from £90 – £184.

Summary: CrossFit may represent a higher regular cost due to monthly fees, but HYROX could also accumulate costs through event participation and travel. Evaluate both based on how often you would engage with each and the value you place on community and coaching.

Deciding Between HYROX and CrossFit

Ultimately, the choice between HYROX and CrossFit comes down to your fitness goals, the types of exercises you enjoy, and the community you want to be a part of. If you love running and knowing exactly what is coming in each event the Hyrox is your choice. If you like gymnastics, barbell movements and an element of the unknown when entering an event then CrossFit is the one for you. Both offer unique challenges and benefits, making them a worthwhile venture you’ll be glad you started. Make sure you you’re kitted with the right knee sleeves for Hyrox and/or CrossFit.

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Summary Points to Remember

  • HYROX is a newer, more accessible form of functional fitness competition.
  • CrossFit offers a more diverse range of exercises and has a larger community.
  • Both are inclusive and cater to athletes of all levels.
  • Training for each requires a different approach, so choose based on your fitness goals.

So, whether you’re a HYROX hopeful or a CrossFit fanatic, there’s a world of fitness waiting for you to explore. Pick one or pick both and start smashing out your workouts. Committing to either one of these sports will lead you to a fitter and healthier version of yourself!

If HYROX is your choice, make sure you check out the following Guides;


Is Hyrox easier than CrossFit?

The difficulty of Hyrox compared to CrossFit can vary for each individual. Hyrox focuses on endurance and functional fitness, with a specific set of exercises and running, while CrossFit includes a wider range of activities and an emphasis on high-intensity interval training. Whether one is easier than the other depends on your personal strengths and training focus.

Is Hyrox the new CrossFit?

Hyrox is not exactly the new CrossFit; it’s a different kind of fitness challenge. While both are based on high-intensity workouts, Hyrox is more focused on endurance with a combination of running and functional exercises. It offers a structured race format, whereas CrossFit has a broader approach to fitness and competition.

Can you build muscle with Hyrox?

Yes, you can build muscle with Hyrox. The training involves functional movements that engage multiple muscle groups, which can lead to muscle growth. However, it’s primarily designed to improve overall fitness and endurance.

What does Hyrox mean?

‘Hyrox’ comes from combining ‘Hypertrophy’ (muscle growth) and ‘Ox’, symbolising the strength of an ox. It represents the blend of strength and endurance that the workout aims to develop.

What are the 8 HYROX exercises?

The 8 Hyrox exercises are:

  1. Skierg
  2. Sled Push
  3. Sled Pull
  4. Burpee Broad Jumps
  5. Rowing
  6. Farmers Carry
  7. Sandbag Lunges
  8. Wall Balls These exercises are interspersed with 1km runs, making up the Hyrox race format.

How many times a week should you train for HYROX?

Training frequency for Hyrox can vary, but most athletes find that 3-5 days a week allows for a balance of workout intensity and recovery. It’s important to tailor your regimen to your current fitness level and goals.

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