What’s the difference between Hyrox and CrossFit?

With the growing worldwide popularity of Hyrox events, it’s not uncommon for us to be asked where Hyrox training fits in with the world of CrossFit – or gym training in general – and what the key similarities and differences are between Hyrox and CrossFit.

Whether you’re new to either of these disciplines, a seasoned CrossFit or Hyrox athlete (or both!) – read on to find out what sets the two apart in the Hyrox VS CrossFit debate, and what fits in best with your goals.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is described as “Constantly varied functional movement, performed at high intensity.” But what does this actually mean? CrossFit is a methodology, born out of a proven need for training in functional movements to promote optimum health, fitness and longevity. CrossFit training is characterised by its variety, and its functional nature: picking things up, putting them down, lying down and getting back up again. The training itself is adaptable by design: scalable to suit every individual, regardless of their background, age, fitness level or ability. Workouts are famously adapted in CrossFit gyms around the world to cater to all audiences, and scales are often seen even at the competitive level.

The Goal

For most CrossFit athletes, the training is a way of life – a means to get fit and stay fit, constantly improve, get stronger, faster, and learn new skills, helping ward off the negative impacts of ageing and reduce the risk of disease and illness. It is about being trained and equipped for the unknowable, and to achieve a level of fitness that is rounded across the board without compromise. CrossFit athletes do not specialise in one movement or discipline: it is the variety and adaptability that makes it unique.


By contrast, Hyrox is a set event. Much like a triathlon or similar, Hyrox is a series of movements or stations in a pre-determined order: a race.  The standard Hyrox event format is as follows:

Hyrox and CrossFit

Some athletes may take part in Hyrox training purely for the fun of it – but the end goal is to be competitive at the set event. Of course, by training for Hyrox, the athletes will no doubt get fitter and better at the event itself, but skill acquisition and preparation for the ‘unknown’ is much less of a factor.

Competitive Edge

Much like many other fitness events (including standard endurance events such as runs, triathlons) both Hyrox and CrossFit events do have a competitive element. Certainly when it comes to taking part in CrossFit competitions – both CrossFit and Hyrox will have set movement standards, some standardised movements (although not always, in the case of CrossFit: with some new ‘odd object’ and obstacle-style movements appearing in many competitions) and set time frames. The key difference on the competitive side is the movement variety – or lack of. An absence of variety in Hyrox is not necessarily a negative thing, depending on your goals – in fact having the same routine performed at Hyrox events globally makes for a very straightforward leaderboard system, and invites athletes to train to improve their performance with very clear, measurable results.

The Hyrox and CrossFit Communities

CrossFit prides itself in being community-driven, with a big push on celebrating one another’s achievements, cheering one another on, and often encourages partner and team workouts even in the group class format. The camaraderie seen in many CrossFit gyms is like no other: strangers will be seen to be rooting for each other, high-fiving at the end of class, and even in competition will often re-join the competition floor to cheer on the last man or woman standing. Hyrox does still attract an element of community, although with the event itself being a solo (or pairs) endeavour, it’s unlikely to witness the same group community vibe that is seen in the CrossFit setting.

Crossover in Movements

There is certainly some crossover in the movements seen in both disciplines, with some slight variations to standards. With this in mind, it’s not uncommon for a Hyrox athlete to excel with many aspects of CrossFit, and for a seasoned CrossFit athlete to perform very well at a Hyrox event. Despite the similarities in some movements though, CrossFit is unique in that it includes Olympic Weightlifting (the clean and jerk, and snatch) as well as a whole host of gymnastic movements not featured in Hyrox.

Which is right for me?

Both Hyrox and CrossFit have their benefits, so this really depends on your goals! If your goal is to be competitive in Hyrox, then training for the Hyrox event is, unsurprisingly, an effective way to prepare. If you want to improve in CrossFit, it’s essential that you partake in CrossFit itself, as many of the skills and modalities will otherwise be ‘missed’ in Hyrox training. That being said, it may not be quite as simple as that: evidence shows that there are huge benefits seen when generalising in training even for sport-specific athletes, as training outside of the specific sport can reduce the risk of injury and help address any imbalances. It is also important to note that individuals tend to be more successful when adopting long-term fitness habits if it stays interesting – repeating the same event training indefinitely could run the risk of becoming boring, and cause athletes to lose interest in the long term. It’s for these reasons, coupled with the supportive, buzzing community, that we believe CrossFit is an excellent choice for long-term training – even if your current goal is to compete in Hyrox.

What’s on offer at SCFIT?

SCFIT is a CrossFit Affiliate, and therefor adopts the CrossFit methodology. We follow CrossFit’s Affiliate class programming in our group fitness classes, meaning members are exposed to a range of movements, time domains, modalities and skills throughout the week. The workouts do often include many ‘Hyrox style’ movements: running, ergs, carries, sled drags, burpees – it’s all there! In addition to the class programming, Extras Space is available at multiple times throughout the day for members to carry out any additional work they wish on specific goals or movements. So, if you are interested in competing in Hyrox, SCFIT could be just the ticket: you would be welcomed with open arms into our adaptable, varied group classes, and would have the opportunity to practice specific Hyrox movements and race transitions in the Extras Space if needed.

Let’s wrap up celebrating some recent Hyrox highlights from the SCFIT community!
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Here are Emily & James – recently competing in the pairs Hyrox, achieving an impressive time of 1:13!

We have also seen former coach Helen take to the podium in a Hyrox event (with just a few day’s notice… which really tells us a lot about the benefits of CrossFit training!) as well as achievements from SCFIT’s Ursula Hardy, Natalie Jones and Lewis Grinsell to name just a few.

Interested in finding out what CrossFit can do for you and your training? Book a free No Sweat intro with a member of the team now!

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