What is HYROX? The 2024 Ultimate Beginners Guide

The word 'Hyrox' displayed in bold, dynamic letters, symbolizing the high-intensity, global fitness competition that challenges both mental and physical endurance

Bored of lifting weights next to the guy who grunts like he’s auditioning for a Tarzan reboot?

I’m Jim (20 years in fitness and 5 years as a dedicated PTI) and I’m here to share everything I’ve learnt during my obsession with everything HYROX

Stick around and I’ll unravel the hype train that is HYROX. From its mysterious origins to how you can smash your first event, I’ve got you covered.

Grab your protein shake, or wine (if that’s the way you roll), and let’s get into the guide to what is HYROX!

What is HYROX?

“HYROX” is an indoor functional movement race. It is a mix of 8 x 1k runs and 8 fitness movements. The race structure and exercises are the same for every race at every venue across the world. You always start with a 1km run and finish with wall balls.

The only elements that changes is the No. of Wall Balls and the weight used in the Sled Push/Pulls, Kettle Bell Farmer Carry, Sand Bag Lunges, and Wall Balls, which are set based on your gender and Open or Pro Categories.

HYROX Race Structure

The event is structured in a way that you’ll have to complete a 1km run followed by a functional workout, and this cycle is repeated eight times.

All HYROX races are run 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

HYROX Competition Categories

HYROX offers four main 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.

Age Groups

The different categories are split into age groups. The Individual Open and Pro has 11 age groups, the Doubles Division has 5 age groups and the Relay has 2 age groups as follows;

Individual Competition

16-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-55

55-59

60-64

65-69 (This is the Oldest Age Group for the Pro’s)

70+

Doubles Competition

16-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60-70+

Relay Teams

16-39

40+

The HYROX Timing Chip

Every time you take part in a HYROX you are given a timing chip to put around your ankle. This measures your performance time throughout the race.

The data gets uploaded to the Hyrox ranking page.

HYROX Ranking

When you finish a HYROX race your performance data gets uploaded to the HYROX website and is displayed like the image below;

Image displaying the data uploaded from the Hyrox timing chip from a Hyrox race which gets displayed Ranking Page

Your individual workout results are broken down so you can see how long each element of the race took you and what position you finished each element of the race compared to every other competitor worldwide within the same division.

This is a great feature to analyse your performance and see which specific areas you need to work on.

Average HYROX Finishing Time Statistics

The average finish times for the 22/23 season are shown below, split into individual exercise finish times.

You can compare your finishing stats to the average for your division to see where you are excelling and where you need to improve and focus your training.

Open WomenPro WomenOpen MenPro MenDoubles WomenDoubles Men
SkiErg5:104:434:284:094:393:56
Sled Push2:594:073:134:001:521:47
Sled Pull5:576:065:016:174:043:00
Burpees6:344:535:374:163:492:56
Row5:384:594:524:315:054:24
Farmers Carry2:252:422:192:191:551:43
Lunges5:085:025:255:063:413:27
Wall Balls4:416:106:506:463:164:10
Run Time Total & Roxzone Time56:2348:4652:4245:3557:4250:37
Total Time1:34:461:27:261:30:271:22:561:26:121:15:58
Statistics courtesy of https://www.theroxzone.com

Statistical Analysis: Compare your HYROX Split Times

You can use the below calculator to quickly compare your times to the average in each aspect of your race.

How to use the Calculator;

  • Select your Race Category from the top pull down menu, i.e. Pro Men
  • Enter the specific time(s) you wish to compare in the format of Mins:Secs, i.e. 4:03 and Hrs:Mins:Secs, i.e. 01:20:45 for Total Times
  • Press the Purple Calculate Button
  • Read the Ouput next to the element you are comparing.
  • If the ouput is Green, you are quicker than average by the amount of time displayed
  • If the output is red, you are slower than the average by the amount of time displayed.
HYROX Time Calculator

HYROX Time Calculator

The History of HYROX

Hyrox was the brainchild of Hamburg-based cycling, marathon, and triathlon veteran Christian Toetzke and London and Beijing Olympic gold medal hockey player Moritz Furste. Invented in 2017, they launched the first Hyrox event in Hamburg in April 2018.

The Story Behind the Name “Hyrox”

Ever wondered what “Hyrox” stands for? Well, it doesn’t stand for anything! The name is said to be a combination of Hybrid and Rockstar created by the founders during a drunken night!

The 1st HYROX Athlete Champions

In Hamburg 2018 the 1st male winner was Joshua Wichtrup of Germany with a finishing time of 01:04:20hrs.

The 1st female champion was Imke Salander of Germany with a time of 01:11:35hrs.

The 1st Double Champions were Johannes Jolmes and Maximilian Willer, finishing in a time of 01:02:24hrs.

The 1st World Champion was Lukas Storath of Germany with an impressive sub-hour time of 00:59:07hrs

How has HYROX Evolved?

From its humble beginnings in Hamburg with 650 participants, there are now over 40 races across the world from Dubai to LA with 90,000 participants and a further 50,000 spectators recorded in 2023.

The event has standardised exercises and requirements, making it a level playing field for participants worldwide.

The HYROX World Championships

In each HYROX race, top performers in every age group earn a spot in the World Championships which are held at the end of each season.

The number of qualifying slots depends on participant count and is shared in the Athlete Guide beforehand. If you qualify, you’ll receive a 48-hour valid registration code via email. Note, this code isn’t a free pass; you’ll still need to pay the World Championships ticket fee.

If slots aren’t claimed within 48 hours, they roll over to the next best athletes. These slots also come with a 48-hour claim deadline, or else they’re forfeited.

Out of approximately 50,000 athletes worldwide, around 1,500 qualify to race against the elite athletes.

It is a 2-day fitness festival including a host of entertainment and guest speakers.

HYROX European Championships in Maastricht, The Netherlands

The European Championships serve as an open platform for athletes from over 25 different nationalities to compete.

Held annually in Maastricht, the Netherlands, this event aims to crown the European Champion in various divisions and age groups. It’s an inclusive competition, meaning anyone who wishes to participate can sign up.

HYROX North American Championships at Navy Pier, Chicago

Similar to its European counterpart, the North American Championships are also an open event.

Hosted at the Navy Pier in Chicago, this championship allows athletes from across North America to compete against each other. The goal is to identify the best athletes in each division and age group.

A group of elite athletes poised at the starting line, eagerly awaiting the signal to kick off a high-stakes Hyrox event.

What Science Says About HYROX Workouts

The Physiology Behind HYROX

HYROX is not another fitness fad; it’s a well-thought-out workout that taps into various aspects of human physiology. The combination of running and functional exercises challenges both your aerobic and anaerobic systems, providing a full-body workout that improves strength, endurance, and power.

Study Reference: “Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system” – This study indicates that both aerobic and anaerobic exercises have unique and collective positive correlations towards improved cardiovascular health.

The Role of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The structure of HYROX—alternating between running and functional exercises—resembles a HIIT workout. Numerous studies have shown that HIIT workouts are effective for improving cardiovascular health, building muscle, and burning fat.

Study Reference: “The Relationship Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Performance in Recreational Runners” – Research has indicated that combined aerobic and anaerobic training may improve aerobic performance greater than aerobic or anaerobic training alone.

Metabolic Rate and Caloric Burn

One of the most appealing aspects of HYROX is its ability to torch calories. The blend of cardio and strength training keeps your metabolic rate elevated for hours after the workout, a phenomenon known as the “afterburn effect” or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).

Study Reference: “Effect of Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise on the Complement System of Proteins in Healthy Young Males” – This study provides evidence that different types of physical effort promote different immune responses in physically active young men.

Muscle Activation and Functional Fitness

The functional exercises in HYROX are designed to engage multiple muscle groups, promoting functional fitness. This is particularly beneficial for improving everyday activities and can even reduce the risk of injury.

Study Reference: “Effects of anaerobic exercise training on human function based on multiple linear regression” – This study has proved that anaerobic exercise training has a significant effect on the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

What the Science Means

Hyrox is a workout designed with core physical principles in mind, offering a balanced approach to fitness that can improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, burnt fat (Even hours after the workout) and reduce risk of injury. All of which are validated by scientific research.

Picking the Right Gear for HYROX

Best Shoes for HYROX

Picking the right shoes can make or break your Hyrox. Here’s the quick rundown:

  1. Comfort: You’ll be moving a lot, so make sure they fit like a glove.
  2. Speed: Opt for bouncy foam and rockers to give your runs an extra kick.
  3. Grip: A solid grip is non-negotiable, especially for sled work.
  4. Stability: You’ll need stable shoes for exercises like Wall Balls and lunges.

The right shoes will massively help, but the real game-changer is your dedication to training. For more on this, check out our Best Shoes for Hyrox in 2023.

HYROX Race Specifications

Listed below is a breakdown of the exact Weights, Reps, and Distances for Hyrox exercises in each category.

Open Individual Women

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (102 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (78 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x16kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (10kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 75 Wall Balls (4kg)

Pro Individual Women

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (152 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (103 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x24kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (20kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (6kg)

Open Individual Men

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (152 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (103 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x24kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (20kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (6kg)

Pro Individual Men

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (202 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (153 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x32kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (30kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (9kg)

Doubles Women

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (102 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (78 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x16kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (10kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 75 Wall Balls (4kg)

Doubles Men

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (152 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (103 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x24kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (20kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (6kg)

Doubles Mixed

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (152 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (103 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x24kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (20kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (6kg)

Relay Women

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (102 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (78 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x16kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (10kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (4kg)

Relay Men

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (152 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (103 kg Including Sled)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2x24kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (20kg)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (6kg)

Relay Mixed

  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Ski Erg,
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Push (102/152 kg Including Sled) (F/M)
  • 1km Run,
  • 4 x 12.5m Sled Pull, (78/103 kg Including Sled) (F/M)
  • 1km Run,
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jump,
  • 1km Run,
  • 1000m Row
  • 1km Run,
  • 200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry, (2×16/24kg) (F/M)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges, (10/20kg) (F/M)
  • 1km Run,
  • 100 Wall Balls (4/6kg) (F/M)

The Mental Game: How to Prepare Your Mind for a HYROX Workout

Alt text: "Exhausted yet triumphant Hyrox competitors sprawled on the floor at the finish line, capturing the emotional and mental toll of the event, perfectly illustrating the mental game involved in preparing for a Hyrox workout.

The importance of mindset is huge in the HYROX race.

Hunter McIntyre (Elite HYROX Champion) said in 2022:

“It’s never gonna be someone challenging you, it’s you challenging yourself. If you can use others to push yourself harder then that’s great, but if you allow those other people to own a bit of your mind during a race, that is 100% how you lose a race.”

He emphases that success in Hyrox requires not just physical strength but mental fortitude as well.

Here are my tips to keep pushing through when your mind says no;

Visualization

  • Before the event, close your eyes and visualise yourself going through each exercise and run. Imagine the sweat, the fatigue, and then the exhilaration of completing each section.

Positive Affirmations

  • Keep a list of positive affirmations that you can repeat to yourself during training and the actual event. Something like, “I am strong. I’ve got this,. Pain is just weakness leaving my body”

Mindfulness and Breathing

  • Learn some basic mindfulness techniques and deep-breathing exercises. They can be a lifesaver when you’re in the middle of a gruelling workout and you need to center yourself.

Set Realistic Goals

  • Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make sure your goals are achievable but still challenging. And remember, it’s okay to adjust them as you go along.

What to Eat and Drink for a HYROX Race

Picture of healthy foods to eat to prepare for a Hyrox Race

Let’s talk fuel. You wouldn’t put crappy fuel in a Ferrari, would you? Your body is your Ferrari when it comes to HYROX, so let’s treat it that way.

Carb-Loading

  • About 2-3 days before the event, start increasing your carb intake. This will help maximise the glycogen stores in your muscles, giving you more energy during the event.

Hydration

  • Start hydrating well in advance of the event. On the day, make sure you’re taking in fluids but not to the point where you feel bloated.

Protein and Fats

  • Don’t ignore these. A balanced meal 2-3 hours before the event can go a long way. Think lean protein, some healthy fats, and you got it, more carbs.

During the Endurance Event

  • Energy gels and electrolyte drinks can be a lifesaver. But make sure you’ve tried them during your training. You don’t want any nasty surprises on the day of the event.

Why HYROX is More Than Just a Race

A high-energy moment captured as elite Hyrox athletes triumphantly cross the finish line, arms raised with feelings of sheer determination and accomplishment

HYROX isn’t just about you; it’s about being part of something bigger. When you’re out there, grinding behind the sled or rowing your heart out, look around. Everyone is in it together, and that sense of community is electrifying.

Networking

  • It’s like LinkedIn but with more sweat and less awkward endorsements. You might just meet your future gym buddy or, at the very least, someone to share memes with about the agony of wall balls.

Support

  • Whether it’s the cheers from the crowd or the encouraging nod from a fellow competitor, the support you’ll find at a HYROX event is unparalleled.

Shared Goals

  • Everyone’s here for the same reason: to push their absolute limits. There’s a unique camaraderie in shared suffering, like a team-building exercise but with less trust falls and more burpees.

Post-Event Celebrations

  • Don’t rush off as soon as you cross the finish line. Stick around, celebrate, and share your war stories. It’s all part of the experience.

The Cost of a Hyrox Event

The cost of participating in a HYROX event varies by location and category but generally ranges from £52 – £109. This fee includes entry to the event, a timing chip, and some HYROX swag to take home.


Where can you Compete in HYROX?

HYROX has global reach. Events take place across different continents in epic places including; Amsterdam, Barcelona, Birmingham, Chicago, Copenhagen/Malmö, Dallas, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Maastricht, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Singapore, Stockholm, Valencia, Warsaw.

So, whether you’re in Europe, America, or even the Middle East, there’s likely a HYROX event happening near you. Ready to join the fitness revolution?

A signpost with arrows pointing to various global cities, highlighting the international locations where you can compete in Hyrox events

HYROX vs CrossFit

Similarities

  1. Functional Training: Both focus on functional movements that mimic real-world activities at varying workout stations
  2. Competitive Element: Both offer competitions—CrossFit has the CrossFit Games, and HYROX is dubbed the ‘World Series of Fitness.’
  3. Community: Both have strong community aspects, emphasising teamwork and mutual support.
  4. Global Presence: Both have international reach, with CrossFit gyms and HYROX events around the world.

Differences

Workout Structure

  • CrossFit: Workouts of the Day (WODs) vary daily and can include weightlifting, cardio, and gymnastics.
  • HYROX: Fixed format of 8 x 1k runs with specific functional exercises like rowing, SkiErg, and sled pushes/pulls inbetween each 1k run

Duration & Intensity

  • CrossFit: Shorter, high-intensity workouts lasting around 20 minutes.
  • HYROX: Longer, endurance-focused events that last about an hour.

Standardisation

  • CrossFit: Less standardised, with each gym (box) often creating its own WODs.
  • HYROX: Highly standardised, with the same set of exercises and runs in every event worldwide.

Accessibility

  • CrossFit: Seen as more intense and can be intimidating for beginners. Requires some foundational classes before you can start.
  • HYROX: More accessible with categories for different fitness levels. As a beginner you can jump straight in.

Equipment

  • CrossFit: Utilises a wide range of equipment from barbells to ropes.
  • HYROX: Limited to specific equipment including rowing machines, SkiErgs, and sleds.

Scoring and Timing

  • CrossFit: Scoring can vary based on the WOD.
  • HYROX: Uses a timing chip to provide detailed analytics on performance.
Photo showing a Hrox competitor in the middle of a kettle bell farmer walk

Expert Opinions on HYROX

David Morton, Men’s Health Executive Editor: After competing in his 1st Hyrox event, David Morton described it as a “challenging and rewarding” experience that tests one’s limits. He completed the HYROX in 1 hour and 35 minutes and burned 1650 calories. He emphasises that HYROX is a smooth and seamless experience, even when it’s challenging. Men’s Health

Jade Skillen, HYROX Master Trainer: Jade Skillen, a HYROX Master Trainer, offers training tips and advice for HYROX athletes. She emphasises the importance of being able to cover 8 x 1km of running and working out for 80-100 minutes. Women’s Health

Mark Bailey, Men’s Fitness Editor: Mark Bailey reports from a HYROX event and describes it as a “feel-good event” that offers expert tips for both short- and long-term results. Men’s Fitness

HYROX Basic Fitness Requirements: Are You Ready?

While HYROX is open to all fitness levels, some basic fitness capabilities are recommended:

  • Ability to run or jog a minimum of 3km.
  • Basic strength to perform exercises like sled pushes, burpees, and wall balls.
  • Mental stamina to push through challenging rounds.

If the answer to the points above is yes, make sure you have the right clothing for the race.

Check out the Beginners 6 Week HYROX Training Plan to get you ready for race day!


Wrapping Up 

Whether you’re a fitness newbie still trying to figure out how to tie your gym shoes or a seasoned athlete who eats burpees for breakfast, HYROX has a special corner of hell— I mean, challenge—just for you.

If this appeals to you, sign up for your first event and you might just find yourself gasping for air at the next HYROX World Championships, wondering why you ever thought this was a good idea. Pain is temporary, glory is eternal.

FAQ’s

What are the 8 HYROX exercises?

  1. Skierg
  2. Sled Push
  3. Sled Pull
  4. Burpee Broad Jump
  5. Sandbag Lunges
  6. Farmers Carry
  7. Rowing
  8. Wall Balls

These exercises are interspersed with 1 km runs, making for a grand total of 8 km of running by the end.

How hard is HYROX?

HYROX is a high-intensity fitness competition designed to push participants to their limits. It’s considered tough due to the combination of cardio, strength, and functional movements.

Can a beginner do HYROX?

Absolutely! While challenging, HYROX is scalable to different fitness levels. Beginners can participate, but it’s recommended they undergo a period of specific training to build up their endurance and familiarity with the exercises.

How many times a week should I run for HYROX?

It depends on your current fitness level and background. A good starting point for beginners would be 2-3 times a week, focusing on building up to the 8 km total running distance that HYROX requires, interspersed with strength and functional movement training.

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