Program Design for the Future: Hybrid Training

by Juan Carlos Santana, MEd on Nov 19, 2008

At the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Florida, we believe there are many great approaches to strength development and performance enhancement. There is no need to pick sides; all methods of training are effective to some degree. Traditionally, strength and function have been treated as mutually exclusive: stability and core weakness have usually been treated in the rehabilitative or corrective movement setting, while hypertrophy and strength have been trained in the gym.

Knowing that we have some great training systems to choose from, I developed a comprehensive method in which all systems could co-exist: the IHP Hybrid System of Training.

What Is the IHP Hybrid System of Training?

This system basically uses circuits of exercises that focus on the specific components of training you want to address. The circuits can have two (bi-plex), three (tri-plex) or four (quad-plex) exercises in them. The first exercise is usually a traditional strength or power move, while the other exercises are functional in nature. These complexes allow you to train one body part for hypertrophy and the other body parts for function in every workout.

For example, using a tri-plex you can easily address hypertrophy for the upper body, while developing multiplanar range and control in the external rotators of the hips and rehabilitating an old ankle or knee injury. The circuit could look something like this:

  • bench press (8-15 reps)
  • frontal-plane reaching lunge (10 reps per side)
  • single-leg reactive balance exercise (15-30 seconds each leg)

This workout can move along at a deliberate tempo: 30 seconds on the traditional exercise, 15-20 seconds of transition, 20-30 seconds for the second exercise, 15-20 seconds of transition and about 30 seconds for the last exercise. That means your clients are executing a strength move every 90 seconds or so. If they need less rest between strength exercises, use a bi-plex. If they need more rest, use a quad-plex or allow a small rest period after each tri-plex. You can include 2-3 hybrids in a session. This system works the entire body every training day; the emphasis is what changes.

Sample Workout Using Tri-Plexes

(Traditional work for the legs and hips and stability work for the chest, back, shoulders and rotation)

Circuit One x 3-4 rounds

  1. squat x 10
  2. standing band alternating punching x 10-20/side
  3. medicine ball rotation x 20

Circuit Two x 3-4 rounds

  1. dumbbell lunge x 10/leg
  2. standing one-arm band pull with step x 10-20/leg
  3. cross uppercut with dumbbells x 10-20/side

Circuit Three x 3-4 rounds

  1. dumbbell step-up x 10/leg
  2. medicine ball cross-over push-up x 5-10/side
  3. medicine ball superman x 20

The IHP Hybrid System of Training is extremely flexible; it can combine every effective modality you can think of, from stretching protocols to SAQ drills. This training method also makes an excellent format for large groups; it keeps everyone busy and you get the most out of your training time. For example, by setting up a three-movement (tri-plex) circuit around a platform or rack, you can keep four athletes busy and productive with no downtime.

Santana will present a session called “Program Design for the New Millennium” at the 2009 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™, February 19-22, 2009, in Alexandria, Virginia. To learn more about the conference, visit the IDEA website.

IDEA Fit Tips , Volume 6, Issue 4

© 2008 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Juan Carlos Santana, MEd

Juan Carlos Santana, MEd IDEA Author/Presenter

Juan Carlos Santana, MEd, is the director and CEO for the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a graduate degree in exercise science and is currently pursuing his doctorate....


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