Forget dumbbells — this 3-move Hyrox workout burns calories and torches muscles all over

Hyrox: man pulling handle towards him on a rowing machine
(Image credit: Getty images)

Hyrox has recently taken the world by storm, and it seems the popular new workout trend isn’t going anywhere. If you haven’t heard of it yet or want to find out more, here’s your chance, because Hyrox is posting a regular Workout of the Week to their fast-growing Instagram. 

Hyrox is a global fitness race that brings together people of all fitness abilities from around the world into one competitive workout. The race combines functional fitness and endurance racing and features a 1km run followed by one functional exercise, repeated eight times, inside one indoor venue. Unlike its peers, including the CrossFit Games or Turf Games, Hyrox features four race categories so that everyday gym-goers can compete. 

I’ve just signed up to race in the London event in 2023, but I wanted to get a flavor of what fresh hell is to come by giving some Hyrox workouts a go. I’ve been scouring their Instagram for ideas and found this gem hiding in their stories. It replicates what you can expect from the race, combining full-body functional exercises with endurance cardio. Be prepared to break a sweat, blitz calories, and build full-body strength.

Grab one of the best fitness trackers to track your next workout, or read on for this Hyrox workout to try.  

What is Hyrox? 

Hyrox is the brainchild of race event organizer Christian Toetzke, three-time Olympic medallist and world champion Moritz Fuerste, marketing man Michael Trautmann, and Mintra Tilly, race designer. The race takes place worldwide, and all participants wear a chip to record their finishing times, which are ranked globally. 

According to Hyrox, it’s currently the world’s largest mass-participation fitness race, which is pretty good going considering who they’re against. It’s a 50:50 running and functional movement split, so whether you’re a dedicated runner, CrossFit athlete, or somewhere in between, the race will build full-body strength, work various energy systems and improve your endurance. 

You can expect to compete for around 90 minutes, depending on your fitness level, with the eight 1km runs split up by rep or calorie targets on functional exercises with or without equipment (think sled pushes, ski erg and rowing). Training workouts will also incorporate endurance-based cardio, bodyweight exercises and equipment work because the goal is to simulate how it feels to run after banging out a ton of burpees, for example. Grim. 

According to Hyrox, the race itself is comparable to a half Marathon or Olympic distance Triathlon (why did I sign up), but the weekly workouts are far more accessible if you just want a taste of what it’s all about.  

 Hyrox workout of the week  

Hyrox lists this as a doubles edition, so you could partner up or halve the totals if you’re exercising solo. If you’re up for the challenge, try to complete the full workout yourself. It combines one full-body functional bodyweight movement, one cardio-endurance exercise, and one equipment-focused movement — the epitome of Hyrox ethos. 

Complete 50 burpees, a 50-calorie row on the rowing machine, and 50 wall balls, then move through the rest of the chain to complete the workout. If working with a partner, adopt a YGIG (you go, I go) strategy. Burpees should ideally be completed chest to floor, but modify if this option isn’t suitable for you. Here's more on how to do a burpee

The wall balls require you to throw a weighted ball at a wall (or equivalent) as you stand up from a squatting position, catching the ball as you drop back down into your squat. If you don’t have a ball, complete this using a dumbbell and mimic the same movement pattern without letting go of the weight — just like a thruster.

Woman in a squat position throwing a weighted ball towards a wall during workout

(Image credit: Getty images)

Functional exercises closely resemble daily activities like pushing, pulling, squatting, or lunging. Compound movements are functional exercises that work multiple muscles and joints in one go, which could reduce your likelihood of injury, improve your mobility and build full-body strength and muscle mass. 

Research has shown that compared to isolation exercises (like a bicep curl), compound exercises use more muscle mass, which requires more oxygen and energy and subsequently burns more calories — especially during recovery when the body is trying to return to homeostasis (balance). You’ll also require more core activation to complete exercises like squats, burpees or an overhead press, which can build a stronger core. 

What’s more, calorie-torching exercises like burpees, rows and wall balls use most muscle groups, and rowing is estimated to recruit a whopping 96% of your muscles while also building endurance. All in all, you can expect to build an engine any athlete would be proud of by giving these workouts a go, which I'll certainly be dreaming of when I hit the start line next Spring.

If you usually reach for Instagram for workout inspiration, more Hyrox workouts are available on the Hyrox Instagram page. You might also like Chris Hemsworth’s 250-rep dumbbell workout, and this functional calisthenics workout uses four moves to build full-body strength using the same compound exercise principles mentioned above. 

Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III qualified fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.