Build an Athletic Body with this Hybrid Training Workout

Athletic body
(Image credit: Unknown)

Looking strong, lean and powerful isn’t half as satisfying as being strong, lean and powerful. That’s where hybrid training can give you the edge over the baseball cap-toting 1,000-curl zealots who clog up the gym floor. “This plan unites full-body compound moves, dynamic Olympic lifts and muscle-fortifying assistance exercises into a three-pronged attack on your physique,” says fitness coach and model James Potter who came to our attention after winning our 2015 Optimum Nutrition workout challenge.

Here he shares the plan that got him in winning condition, including the bonus metabolic conditioning workouts that’ll put your respiratory system under short spells of duress to melt away excess fat and enhance your cardiovascular endurance. The final package is a ripped, robust and athletic body that’ll help you score personal bests in the gym and be ultra-fit for function, whatever the world throws at you.

How it Works

Hybrid training is meant to keep you on your toes. Each of these four workouts includes either heavy lifts for strength, dynamic moves for power, high-intensity finishers or all three. Keep your workouts varied and challenging by subbing in these six metabolic conditioning training methods, and use this nutritional info to help fuel your efforts.


If you want to emulate Potter, follow this plan for eight weeks. Take at least a day’s break between workouts 2 and 3 to recover. “For the big compound lifts (bench, deadlift and front squat) you should be pushing almost to failure on every set,” says Potter. For the Olympic lifts (cleans), move the bar explosively. “Keep the load moderate and the movement powerful.”

Workout 1: Lower-Body Pull

Construct your opening session around the muscle-building deadlift.



Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 2-3 minutes

Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, with your arms straight and knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, drive down through your heels and pull the bar up your legs, pushing your hips forwards to stand tall.

Compact kettlebell swing


Sets 3 Reps 15-20 Rest 60-90 seconds

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms slightly bent and all your muscles tensed. Drive your hips forwards to push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing. As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, allowing the kettlebell to rise to head height. Because your body is more compact than in a regular swing, the movement is faster and more powerful.

Good morning


Sets 4 Reps 8 Rest 60-90 seconds

Stand holding a barbell on the backs of your shoulders, not your neck. Slowly bend forwards at your hips, keeping your legs and back straight. Bend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then rise back to the start.

Hollow rock

Hollow rock

(Image credit: Unknown)

Sets 3 Time 30 seconds Rest 60-90 seconds

Lie on the floor with your legs and arms together. Contract your core and glutes to lift your hands and feet slightly off the floor. Holding this shape, rock forwards and backwards.

Workout 2: Upper-Body Push

Target your chest and shoulders, and spare some energy for the fat-blasting finisher.

Wide-grip bench press

bench press

(Image credit: Unknown)

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 2-3 minutes

Lie on a flat bench, holding the bar with an overhand grip, hands outside shoulder-width, your shoulder blades retracted and feet flat on the floor. Take the bar out of the rack and lower slowly until it’s touching your chest, then drive straight up.

Close-grip bench press

Close-grip bench press

(Image credit: Unknown)

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 60-90 seconds

Reduce the weight from the previous exercise. This time hold the bar with hands less than shoulder-width apart. Take the bar out of the rack and slowly lower it to your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in to your body, then drive the weight straight up. The triceps muscles are key here. Reduce the weight and dig in

Military press


Sets 4 Reps 8 Rest 60-90 seconds

Stand with your feet together holding the bar level with your shoulders. Brace your core and glutes to keep your balance and press the weights straight up so your biceps are close to your ears, then lower to the start.



Sets 4 Reps 8-12 Rest 60-90 seconds

Grip the bars or handles with your arms locked out, and lean forward so you recruit your chest muscles. Bend your arms to lower until your chest is level with your hands, then press back up powerfully.

Finisher: 10min AMRAP

Workouts 2 and 4 include finishers – in this case a 10min AMRAP, or “as many rounds as possible”. These circuits build stamina and burn excess calories. Keep a score of your reps and try to beat it next time.

Hang power clean: Reps 10

Hold the bar just above your knees, hingeing forwards at your hips. Drive your hips forwards to generate power and use this movement to raise the bar to chest height. Quickly drop into a quarter squat and bring your arms under the bar to catch it on the top of your chest, then stand up.

Burpee over bar: Reps 10

Put the bar down and drop into a crouch with your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back into the top position of a press-up. Jump your feet forwards again, then jump up and over the bar. Turn and repeat in the other direction.

Workout 3: Lower-Body Push

Like an adrenaline shot in the glutes, heavy squats will prep your whole body to grow.

Front squat


Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 2-3 minutes

Rest the bar across your upper chest with your hands holding it in place and your elbows as high as you can get them. Keeping your chest up and back straight, squat down, keeping your weight on your heels. Lower until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground, making sure your knees stay wide apart, then drive back up.

Barbell lunge


Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 2-3 minutes

Use a light barbell. Holding the bar across your shoulders, take a big step forwards, making sure you’re balanced, and lower your back knee until it’s just off the floor. Keep your back upright and your front knee in line with your front foot. Return to the start and keep alternating legs.

Bench pistol squat


Sets 3 Reps 6 each side Rest 60-90 seconds

On a stable bench or box, stand on one leg, with the other extended in front of you. Bend your standing leg to lower into a single-leg squat, then press back up to stand.

Turkish get-up


Sets 3 Reps 3 each side Rest 60-90 seconds

Lie holding the kettlebell in one hand straight above you. Keep your eyes on the weight and shoulder strong as you contract your abs to sit up, resting on your other hand. Bring your straightened leg back so you’re kneeling, then straighten up and stand. Slowly reverse the move back to the start.

Workout 4: Upper-Body Pull

The large muscles in your back join the party before another dynamic finisher rounds off your week.

Power snatch


Sets 3 Reps 3 Rest 2-3 minutes

Hold the bar just above your knees, hingeing at the hips. Then drive your hips forwards to generate power and use this movement to raise the bar above your head, keeping it close to your body. Quickly drop into a quarter squat so you don’t have to lift it as high, lock out your shoulders and stand.



(Image credit: Unknown)

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 60-90 seconds

Grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Retract your shoulder blades to engage the muscles in your upper back. Brace your core and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, then lower under control.

Pendlay row


Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 60-90 seconds

With the bar on the floor, bend your knees slightly and hinge forward from the hips, keeping your back slightly concave and your shoulder blades back throughout, and grasp it with an overhand grip just outside your legs. Powerfully pull the weight up to your lower sternum, then lower it back to the floor and repeat.

Kettlebell clean and press


Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60-90 seconds

Hold a kettlebell between your legs. Drive your hips forwards to push the kettlebell off your body like you would with a swing. As the weight rises, rotate your wrist so your palm faces up and catch the kettlebell on your shoulder. From here, press the kettlebell overhead, driving with your legs if you need extra momentum. Reverse the weight to the start.

Finisher: 3 RFT

Do 21 thrusters, then 21 reps jumping over the bench. Next do 15 reps of each, then nine. Race the clock and rest as needed.

Thruster: Reps 21/15/9

Hold the bar level with the top of your chest and your elbows high. Keeping your chest up and back straight, squat down. Lower until your thighs are at least horizontal, keeping your knees wide apart, then drive back up and press the weight overhead.

Jump over bench: Reps 21/15/9

Stand facing a knee-high bench. Jump over it, using your arms to generate momentum and bending your knees to soften your landing. Turn and repeat in the other direction.

Metabolic Conditioning Workouts

Add these training methods popularised by CrossFit to break up the monotony of body part splits.

EMOM (every minute on the minute)

Do a set number of reps at regular intervals on a running clock, usually every minute, on the minute. This tests your powers of recovery.

Do it Three clean and jerks every minute for ten minutes

AMRAP (as many reps as possible)

Complete as many rounds as possible of a given exercise combination within a given time. It builds stamina and burns fat.

Do it 12 minutes of eight front squats and eight push presses

RFT (rounds for time)

Complete a given number of rounds of a circuit as fast as possible. Short rest periods develop long-lasting muscle endurance.

Do it Eight rounds of 15 kettlebell swings, ten KB clean and presses and five KB snatches


A series of exercises, usually high reps. Complete one round for time. A high-volume, muscle building grind.

Do it 100 press-ups, 75 bodyweight squats, 50 burpees, 25 pull-ups


One or more movements, increasing or decreasing workload over time. Build intensity for a challenging warm-up.

Do it One to ten reps of goblet squats alternating with ten to one reps of pull-ups


Do eight rounds of high-intensity intervals, alternating 20 seconds’ effort with ten seconds’ rest. A real fat-eviscerating finisher.

Do it: Row for max distance

Sam Rider

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.