Hyrox vs CrossFit: What Are The Differences?

If you're a regular gym-goer looking to improve your performance, you might have considered HYROX or CrossFit. But if you've never competed in either, you'd be forgiven for not knowing where to start!

Although there are some similarities, HYROX and CrossFit are wildly different in terms of the training required to take part and the types of functional fitness exercises performed at each.

If you're keen to start with either of these hybrid fitness disciplines, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we're breaking down the differences between the two so you can learn which will best suit you as an athlete. 

Table of contents 

Is HYROX CrossFit?

What is the difference between HYROX and CrossFit?

Is HYROX easier than CrossFit?

HYROX vs CrossFit: The Highlights 

Is HYROX CrossFit?

In short, no. Although Hyrox and CrossFit are both classed as hybrid sporting events and have some similarities, the two disciplines are very different. 

Before we examine the differences between these two sporting phenomena, let's establish each one's structure and the training required to participate.

What is HYROX?

HYROX is a relatively new competition that combines running with functional fitness. Established in 2017, it's open to all abilities and follows the same standard format wherever it is completed.

Although HYROX has different entry levels, “Open” for everyone and “Pro” for the more experienced athlete, it has no entry requirements. Its exercises are tailored to be accessible to all, provided they train for them.

HYROX is generally an individual sport, but it can also be completed in a team of two, known as doubles. In this format, both competitors complete the running part of the competition but share the eight workstation exercises. There's also an option to complete the competition as a relay team of four.

A close up of a woman tying her trainers

The format of HYROX is as follows:

  • Eight workstations are broken up by 8 x 1 km runs.
  • The competition starts with a 1 km run followed by a 1000m ski-erg, then each exercise follows on from another 1 km run.
  • The exercises are always in the same order and are as follows:
  1. 1000 m ski-erg
  2. 2 x 25m weighted sled push (weights vary for gender and open/pro level)
  3. 2 x 25 m sled pull (weights vary for gender and open/pro level)
  4. 80m burpee broad jump
  5. 1000 m row 
  6. 200 m kettlebell farmer's carry (weights vary for gender and open/pro level)
  7. 100 m sandbag lunges (weights vary for gender and open/pro level)
  8. 75/100 wall balls (weights and number vary for gender and open/pro level)

Training for HYROX should revolve around the eight strength exercises and perfecting your running ability and stamina.

It's tailor-made for endurance athletes, so if you enjoy long-distance running, swimming or cycling and are seeking a new challenge, then HYROX could be the event for you!

HYROX is also a great choice for athletes who love stats and seeing a clear progression between their workouts. Since the exercises always stay the same, comparing your performance and time between events is much easier. It's also a great competition for obstacle-course lovers, as it follows a similar workout structure of running between each workstation.

What is CrossFit?

First launched in 2000, CrossFit is the original functional fitness competition. 

CrossFit is a high-intensity workout that combines weightlifting, cardio and gym exercises. It's the perfect pick for those with a more well-rounded approach to fitness and who prefer short, high-intensity, high-volume workouts.

Woman squats with a barbell on her back

A CrossFit competition is structured around a WOD, or Workout of the Day, where competitors are given various functional workouts to perform. These could be anything from Olympic-style weightlifting to technical gymnastic exercises. WODs usually involve a circuit of exercises completed for a length of time or a set number of rounds, blending stamina, strength, and flexibility with speed, power, coordination, accuracy, and balance. 

The goal of the CrossFit athlete is to build a body capable of anything. As CrossFit prides itself on variety, unlike HYROX, when competing, you won't learn which exercises you need to perform until just before the competition. Because of this, training for CrossFit requires multiple high-intensity workouts in high volumes, focusing on shorter and tougher sessions that push your work capacity. 

CrossFit is for the more versatile athlete who loves lifting, jumping and climbing and isn't afraid of the competition's unpredictability. Training for the competition has to be tailored to the exercises you might face, such as aerobic exercises or walking handstands, which can take years to master. You may also require skill development training with a coach to master the more technical aspects of the sport.

A group of gum goers huddle around the weights

Compared to HYROX, CrossFit is a team sport, so it is great for those who like to work out in the gym as part of a big community.  

What is the difference between CrossFit and HYROX?

Although CrossFit and HYROX have some obvious similarities, they differ in format, completion time, exercises involved, and final competitions. 

Here are some of the major differences between the two:

1. Standardisation 

HYROX is a standardised event, which means that wherever you compete in the world and at whatever level, the amount of running involved, the exercises to complete, and the order in which they occur remains the same.

Woman performs a chest to floor burpee

However, this isn't the case for CrossFit, a competition that prides itself on unpredictability. CrossFit consists of many different workouts on the same day, and these exercises aren't usually revealed until just before the competition. 

Therefore, CrossFit always carries an element of the unknown, making HYROX an easier competition to train and prepare for. Still, CrossFit is great for those who prefer that unpredictable element and have a more all-around approach to fitness.

2. Running and exercises

As mentioned, HYROX focuses on the same eight workstations every time, separated by eight 1 km running reps. Because of this, the competition prides itself on being accessible to all. Its functional fitness exercises are easy to train for and master, and competitors know what to expect. 

Conversely, CrossFit often involves technical movements that can be more difficult to master, including heavy Olympic-style barbell lifts and gymnastic movements. These exercises and the unpredictability of what you might be presented with means that athletes must be more technically skilled to compete in CrossFit competitions.

A group of runners run along a promenade

However, the 8 km running element of HYROX is often why many CrossFit athletes won't participate. Whilst CrossFit might sometimes feature running, it isn't closely associated with the sport; 8 km running is often more than most CrossFit athletes are used to. 

3. Completion completion time 

In our 'What Is Hyrox?' blog, we explained that, on average, most athletes take around 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the competition. Conversely, CrossFit is generally a much shorter event, with most WODs completed in around 20 minutes.

4. Finals of the events 

CrossFit and HYROX have finals, The HYROX World Championships and the CrossFit Games, where the best athletes in each discipline can compete to become recognised as the best in the world. Each of these finals takes a different format and is as follows:

The CrossFit Games 

In the CrossFit Games, the world's best cross-fitters compete over a few days, performing several different workouts. The winners are crowned best male and female for that year based on who accrues the most points across all workouts. 

Alongside the main competition, there are also age-group Masters Competitions (for ages 35 and up and separated into male and female age groups) and a team division. 

HYROX World Championships 

As you'd expect from HYROX, the event format doesn't change for the World Championships. The best 15 men and women in the world, known as the Elite 15, compete at the HYROX World Championships, and the winner of this race is crowned that year's HYROX World Champion. 

The HYROX World Championships has more age divisions than the CrossFit Games, and these athletes will compete on the same day as the Elites to become the best in their age group. 

Is HYROX easier than CrossFit?

As with everything, the ease of participating in HYROX or CrossFit will depend on your strengths as an individual and your primary training focus.

Man performs a handstand walk

The difficulty of each can vary, with HYROX being a better fit for those who like endurance sports and functional fitness and CrossFit for those who prefer a wider range of activities and more unpredictable competition.

Woman wipes her brow in the gym, post-workout

Those from a running or endurance background who enjoy functional fitness may prefer the structure of HYROX. Those keener on more technical precision from their strength exercises and enjoy performing high-intensity reps over a shorter period may find CrossFit a much easier task. 

HYROX vs CrossFit: The Highlights 

HYROX and CrossFit are both forms of functional fitness, but they have significant differences. The training required for each will be suited to slightly different types of athletes: CrossFit for those who find high-intensity, high-volume workouts over shorter periods more appealing, and HYROX for those who love endurance alongside specific functional fitness exercises they can train for. 

Whichever discipline you choose, both require a good base of strength and conditioning training and a decent level of cardiovascular fitness for success at a competitive level. Perfecting your technique is also valuable in providing efficiency for performing each required exercise and preventing injury. 

HYROX is fundamentally a more accessible competition as it has no barriers to entry. CrossFit, however, requires more specific training due to its unpredictable nature; athletes must be physically able to complete various strength exercises to a high, technical standard. 

Although there are options to enter HYROX as a doubles or relay team, it is considered an individual sport. It is a great opportunity to push yourself while being measured against the same criteria as some of the best HYROX athletes in the world. CrossFit is much more of a team sport suited to those who like to train, compete with their gym buddies, and support each other in achieving new personal records. 

Fuel your HYROX and CrossFit journeys at Discount Supplements 

Whatever your competition of choice, you can easily prepare for it at Discount Supplements. With the best pre and post-workout drinks and snacks, recovery supplements and vitamins and minerals to support your well-being throughout your training, find options from leading brands, including The Health Project, Efectiv Nutrition and XL Nutrition

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