Been a jogging junkie for years and years? Burned through two home Cybex machines? Is a raging head cold just a bump in the road for your daily TRX workouts (only missed one in six years)? Maybe you live to lift, but are ready to change up your usual “if it’s Tuesday, it must be glutes day” routine.
These hybrid workouts—most a combination of aerobic (for cardiovascular health) and anaerobic moves—can help you do just that, providing as much variety as they do physical and mental challenges to keep you going. What’s more, hybrid workouts can move the body off of any plateau it may be experiencing, either in the areas of increased performance or weight loss, as breaking patterns by changing the way you exercise stimulates new responses:
Love basketball? Always concerned about the height of the basket? SlamBall™ leaves no room for excuses as the ubiquitous game of basketball reaches new heights played on trampolines.
- Disc (or Frisbee) Golf
Estimated to be played in at least 40 countries, history reveals the sport was invented in Canada in 1929. While those who’ve never been exposed to it may assume it’s nothing more than an excuse to throw something inconsequential at trees, proponents of some of the major competitions spend months getting into shape, using heavier discs (think: flattened shotput), and even running the courses in between tosses for added value.
Created for Norway’s military in the 19th century, biathlons are a combination of cross country skiing and rifle shooting. In 1958, Austria held the first World Championship for Biathlon, a sport that was added to the Olympics two years later. If you’re not all that game for shooting, you can create your own biathlon by combining any two outdoor sports such as cross country skiing and rock climbing.
- Chess Boxing
Try and avoid including this anomaly in any hybrid sports lineup and it comes back to bite you. Perhaps more prevalent than anything else on lists of top hybrid sports, in chess boxing—created by Dutch artist B.T. Rubingh in 2003 and based on a comic book—participants engage in alternating rounds of chess and boxing. Matches end either by a knockdown, checkmate or referee panel decision. Ouch!
Invented in England in 1954, Octopush is played at the bottom of a swimming pool. If you’re a swimmer looking to up the ante on the usual 30 minutes’ worth of crawl or breast stroke, a hockey puck is thrust around the bottom of the pool with a curved wooden instrument into the opposing team’s goal (a new use for fishing nets!). The first Underwater Hockey Championship was played—where else—in Canada more than three decades ago. This hybrid sport ranks through the stratosphere in increased lung capacity!
- Football Tennis (or for all intents and purposes Soccer Tennis)
Originating in 1920s Czechoslovakia, this sport has all the excitement of a tennis match, replete with center net, but played with a large ball (hands free)!
- Underwater Rugby
A serious workout for the serious water buff, and with roots in German diving club training exercises, underwater rugby challenges participants who wear helmets, masks, fins and use underwater goal baskets. The entire length and depth of the pool are used as a playing field. For all of its hardcore aggression, it’s sometimes as hard to watch as it is to play.
Though it may sound Brazilian, this hybrid sport actually originated in Spain. A confluence of volleyball, soccer, gymnastics and samba music (all hail Antonio Carlos Jobim), a giant inflatable trampoline ensures players can spike the ball to unimaginable heights.
Started in Pennsylvania in 2008, Kronum is a hybrid of soccer, basketball and handball. A full body workout as hands and feet are always in play, a Kronum-issued ball is required, and mouth and shin guards are recommended.
A creative combination of the wildly popular Zumba but with the added dimension of a heavy ball kept in fast play, Zumball is a fast-paced, 60- or 90-minute aerobic and anaerobic workout that improves lung capacity, muscles—and rhythm!
Snoga: or Tadasana (mountain pose) – right on the mountain!
Love winter? While this isn’t exactly a hybrid sport, it does combine seemingly counterintuitive elements. If you’re smitten with everything snow, almost hate to go indoors and find yourself boarding, downhill or cross country skiing the hours away, why not add a flexibility workout to your day—without ever leaving the slopes!
With snoga—which conceives of the great outdoors as a big snowy yoga mat (though a mat and blanket can be used)—combining the asanas of the practice with the signs of the season makes winter yoga a welcome challenge. Just think Surya namaskara (sun salutation) to the low winter sun, or Ananda balasana (happy baby pose) by a frozen brook! Why not try Alanasana, or crescent lunge, by a crusty creek? While the requisite bare feet are not recommended (is there a Sanskrit word for frostbite?), devotees claim heavy socks, bulky boots, fleece lined gloves, wool scarves and parkas only add a few more layers to be overcome by the meditative qualities of a dedicated yoga practice. And who knows—your Halasana (plow pose) may just come in handy if it starts to snow out there.