Bottom Line Up Front: I took the HYROX Physical Fitness Test (P’F”T) today. This post is about what Hyrox is and its PFT.
What is Hyrox?
I heard about Hyrox for the first time this week when I got an email from GoRuck about it coming to Washington D.C. in March 2024. I had never heard the word “Hyrox” before. When I read about it, I realized it’s much bigger deal than I thought. Can’t believe I had never heard of it.
Hyrox is a fitness race. It combines running with what would be called “functional fitness” events in between 1000 meter runs. The events are always the same, so it’s not like a CrossFit Games or Tactical Games where you never know exactly what to expect. Here is a graphic of the events, all of which are preceded by a 1000m (which is 0.62 miles) run.
This competition is held all over the world, mostly in Europe from what I understand. It seems to be popular – not CrossFit Games or IronMan popular but somewhat popular.
The Physical Fitness Test (PFT)
They have a test which is used as a barometer of your fitness level as it relates to performing well at a Hyrox competition. It is a mini Hyrox if you will. They give you recommendations for which Hyrox division you should compete in based on your PFT time. The workout is as follow:
- 1000m Run (outdoor or treadmill at 2% incline)
- 50 Burpee Broad Jumps (90 cm)
- 100 Stationary Lunges (Fully Extended)
- 1000m Row
- 30 Push Up (Hand Release)
- 100 Wallballs (6kg/14lb male / 4 kg/10lb female)
It looked interesting so I wanted to give it a try. I scored a 23:30, which was good because I was shooting for sub-24 minutes. I wanted to score in the Pro division based on the division recommendations on the website:
- 15 – 25 minutes – HYROX PRO
- 25 – 35 minutes – HYROX Open
- 30 – 40 minutes – HYROX Doubles
- 35 – 45 minutes – HYROX Relay
I went through it unbroken until the wall ball shots, i.e. I didn’t take any breaks in between events or during them until the wall balls. I ran about a 6:30 mile pace, burpees unbroken, lunges unbroken, rowed at a 2 min/500m pace, and push-ups unbroken. I broke up the wall balls into sets of about 13-17 until I got to 100. I didn’t really feel any pain until the wall balls. That is a terrible exercise when done for a lot of reps. 100 reps is indeed a lot. And it’s right after push-ups (shoulder fatigue) and after about 20 minutes of non-stop movement at a very high heart rate. The only place I could make up a lot of time would be wall balls for sure.
The thing that stuck out to me most was how good I felt rolling through this despite the fact that I never do workouts like this any more. I used to do a lot of METCONs (AMRAPS, chippers, etc.). At some point I realized as long as I kept myself in good condition I could perform well on these horrible workouts even without really doing them. For the past 18 months, I have done typically only one cardio session a week (running and rowing variations for 30-45 minutes). I do strength and hypertrophy sessions three times per week (zero hard breathing, no sets over 13 reps, lots of rest in between sets). I do one session day of just Turkish Get-ups and heavy kettlebell swings. I also do one session of a high power/explosive movement every minute on the minute for 20-30 minutes (1-3 reps of kettlebell snatch, for example). Then one day per week I do a sled drag and carry session which lasts about an hour. I drag light sleds, heavy sleds, carry light things for long periods of time, and carry heavy things for short periods of time. Sometimes I throw in high rep push-up sets in there too. This last day has a lot of high heart rates and requires muscular endurance for long periods of time, so it definitely helps prepare for a Hyrox-type event.
You can see that really nowhere am I doing anything that looks like that Hyrox PFT though. I would say I have done less than five METCONs in a year yet I was able to do well on this PFT. I honestly can’t remember the last one I did outside of Murph on Memorial Day and Chad100x on Veteran’s Day. Would I have done better if I did more sets of 100 wall balls after running and rowing? For sure. How much better, I don’t know. Also, I would rather focus on maintaining strength and muscle much more than being able to do 100 unbroken wall ball shots at the end of a cardio session.
For you nerds, here is a comparison of the heart rate demands between the Hyrox PFT (top), a session of drags and carries (middle), and a cardio session (bottom):
This PFT also lets me know I can do a Hyrox competition without changing my training at all. If I were a powerlifter, this PFT would have destroyed me, if I could do it at all at a reasonable time. Given where I scored without tailoring my training, I can just choose to compete without adjusting anything. It also tells me if I want to do as well as I can, I could change my training to being more similar to these events (more running plus unpleasant things in high rep ranges or for long lengths of time). It does show you that a GPP (general physical preparedness) routine that I follow really lets you be a jack of all trades, master of none.
Finally, I wanted to note that this is a great benchmark workout. It is something you could do, conduct a block of training and use to give yourself a cardio/endurance status check on if you have improved. You could also just do it once in a while periodically, unrelated to a specific training program. You don’t have to be prepping for a Hyrox event to use it this way at all. You could use a lot of other metrics to do the same thing (a lot of CrossFit named workouts would work too), but this highlights the utility of having one.
If you are so inclined, give it a shot! Maybe we will see each other in DC in Mach 2024.
Post thoughts to comments below.