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.
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.
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.