Do you have limited time to work out? Are you looking for new ways to maximize your strength gains? The answer to both questions may very well be the same thing: try your hand at hybrid lifts.
These types of lifts, also known as compound sets, are exercises performed back to back with no rest in between, where the ending position of the first exercise is the starting position for the second exercise. Simply put, they are two exercises performed, one after the other, that naturally flow into each other together.
So, why exactly do these lifts maximize your time in the gym as well as your gains? Simple, really: stacking two exercises together that work different muscle groups allows the first muscle group to rest while a second muscle group is working, so you’ll be making the most of every moment in the weight room. It also allows your body to get an efficient full body workout.
To get you started, try these simple hybrid lifts as a way to boost your gains, maximize your gym time, and see results faster.
Front Squat to Push Press
How to Perform:
Begin standing with a barbell resting on the fronts of your shoulders, holding the barbell so that your elbows are pointing forward and your triceps are parallel to the floor. Squat down between your feet until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then press through your heels and squeeze your glutes back to a standing position. Keep your torso upright and your chest high.
From here, immediately push the barbell up high so that your elbows fully extend and the barbell is overhead, forming a straight line with your ears, shoulders, hips, and feet. While pushing the barbell upward, keep your core tight and your torso as upright as you can. Try to prevent yourself from leaning backwards. Then, lower the barbell to the starting position, and repeat.
Why This Hybrid Lift Works:
This hybrid lift works both your lower and upper body in one effective and fluid motion. Because the end of the front squat is the starting position of the overhead press, there’s no need to reset or set up in between exercises. The front squat works your quads and glutes, and the push press works your shoulders and upper back, creating a killer combo.
Barbell Romanian Deadlift to Bent Over Row
How to Perform:
Stand tall while holding a barbell just outside hip width with your palms facing toward you. Put a very slight bend in your knees. From this position, push your hips back while reaching the barbell down toward your toes. Keep your chest puffed out and your back flat. Once you reach the point at which your lower back is about to fold forward (which will be when the barbell reaches around your shins) stop, and reverse the motion by lifting your torso back to a standing position.
Then, slightly bend forward with your arms hanging down while still holding the barbell. Make sure your back is flat. Slowly pull the barbell up to the bottom of your ribcage by retracting your shoulder blades and pushing your shoulders down and back. After touching the barbell to the base of your ribcage, lower the barbell to the starting position and repeat the first motion.
Why This Hybrid Lift Works:
Once again, this hybrid lift works both your lower and upper body. The Romanian deadlift works your hamstrings and lower back, while the bent over row works your biceps and your back. Performed together, you’ve got a full body workout that works almost every major muscle along the posterior chain of your body.
The possibilities with hybrid lifts are endless, but just remember, choose exercises where the ending position of the first can act as the starting position of the second. And the best way to maximize gains with these lifts is to choose two exercises that work your lower and upper body back to back. If you want to try it out yourself, the two hybrid lifts described above can be used in the same workout to get a great full body workout in one day. Perform 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions each, and you’ve got yourself an entire workout that will strengthen and tone your entire body.
NOTE: It’s important to keep in mind that hybrid lifts often incorporate complex movements that require lots of practice to perform correctly. Start with light weights and slowly progress to heavier weights as you continue to build healthy and powerful full-body strength.