This 20-Minute Hybrid Training Routine Builds Muscle And Boosts Your Cardio Fitness

Two people rowing on rowing machines in the foreground, two people working out with kettlebells in the background
Hybrid training sees you working on more than one type of fitness in the same workout, often combining cardio and weights. (Image credit: Pekic / Getty Images)

In an era of hybrid work, there’s another hybrid approach we should all look to incorporate in our daily lives. Hybrid training is the combination of multiple methods of exercise that allows you to simultaneously work on several objectives at once. For example, build strength, increase power, boost endurance and drill functional fitness

It means shifting away from a single-minded focus to make you a jack of all trades, instead of a master of one. CrossFit is a perfect example of a hybrid training approach, demonstrating that it’s possible to become immensely strong and powerful, while also retaining formidable endurance and stamina.

For this hybrid workout, performance coach Ashley Reece has devised an upper-body dumbbell circuit combined with sprint intervals that will forge both stronger shoulders and improved cardio fitness. The result? A body that’s ready for any challenge you throw at it, whether that’s in your local CrossFit box or in everyday life.

Not only is hybrid training a more efficient approach than squeezing in runs around your regular lifting, it can also help improve the way you move. 

The resistance training element will strengthen your muscles, joints and bones, making you less susceptible to injury. Meanwhile, working against the clock will crank up the intensity of the session, helping burn calories while providing ample cardio perks. 

How To Do This Hybrid Training Workout

Start a clock and perform the exercises below as a circuit, aiming to move through them as quickly as possible while maintaining proper form. Complete four rounds in total.

Move at a steady pace throughout the workout, rather than going out too fast and having to take breaks, and use a weight that doesn’t allow you to reach failure or your tank will run empty before you’ve barely begun. 

“Make sure you thoroughly warm up your upper body beforehand too, and aim for negative splits,” says Reece. This means you should aim to complete each round faster than the last—an approach sure to spike your heart rate, test your muscular endurance and force you to flex your engine as well as your muscles. 

Hybrid Workout Overview

Four rounds in total of:

  • 250m row, ski or run
  • 20 dumbbell push presses
  • 15 dumbbell hang cleans
  • 10 renegade rows (5 each side)
  • 5 Devil presses

Form Guides

1 Row, ski or run

Distance 250m

Pick a cardio machine and cover 250m on it. If you choose a rowing machine, brush up on proper rowing form first.

2 Dumbbell push press

Reps 20

Pick up a pair of dumbbells and clean them to shoulder height with your palms facing each other. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, lower into a quarter squat, then drive up with power to generate momentum and extend your arms to press the weights overhead. Lower under control. 

3 Dumbbell hang clean

Reps 15

Hold dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing your legs. Hinge forward at your hips to lower the dumbbells to just above your knees, allowing a slight bend in your legs and with your gaze forward to keep your chest up. Brace your core, then drive your hips forward powerfully to generate momentum to lift the weights to chest height, then quickly bend your knees to drop under the dumbbells and catch them with your palms facing up and elbows pointing forward. Straighten your legs to complete the rep. Lower the weights back to the start position.

4 Renegade row

Reps 5 each side

Place the dumbbells on the floor and hold them so your palms are facing, with the weights lined up under your shoulders. Assume a push-up position, with your weight supported by your hands and balls of your feet, and your ankles, hips and shoulders in a straight line. Engage your core and glutes to keep your body stable and lift one dumbbell to your armpit, bending and lifting your elbow. Lower the dumbbell under control, then repeat on the other side. Make it more difficult by moving your feet closer together, or easier by spacing them further apart. 

5 Devil press

Reps 5

Place the dumbbells on the floor in front of you, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping a flat back, hinge at your hips to bend down and grasp the dumbbells with an overhand grip. Jump both feet backward and then drop your chest to the floor between the weights. Push back up and jump both feet forward again, then rise to stand and clean the dumbbells off the floor and then straight overhead in one fluid motion. Pause for a moment, then safely lower the dumbbells back to the floor and go straight into your next rep.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.