Kristi Eramo O’Connell Explains Hybrid Training for Athletic Performance

Kristi Eramo O'Connell Explains Hybrid Training for Athletic Performance

Kristi Eramo O’Connell is retired from competitive CrossFit, but she still trains like one of the fitness women on the planet — running half marathons one day and hitting the gym the next. O’Connell has recently incorporated hybrid training to elevate her strength and conditioning.

On July 9, 2023, she published a video on her YouTube covering how to hybrid train and why it’s beneficial. Check it out below:

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What Kristi Eramo O’Connell’s Hybrid Training Looks Like

O’Connell’s trainer and husband, Patrick O’Connell, says that hybrid training differs for everyone. For example, he runs three-to-five-mile for his running workouts, while Kristi O’Connell goes for 12 miles at an approximate 8:30 pace per mile. Patrick says people can scale the running and weightlifting based on their goals, abilities, and preferences.

The couple performed an endurance-biased strength workout, which showcases how cardio helps strength training. Kristi performed a short warm-up before dead-stop sumo deadlifts, decline hamstring curls, glute kickbacks, and accessory work for her biceps and triceps. She mentioned that unilateral movements improve her running by correcting lower-body muscle imbalances.

Patrick O’Connell rigs a box, weight bench, and resistance bands for decline hamstring curls. For the glutes or the hamstrings, his focus is pressing his hips forward into the bench to ensure the stimulus is on the target muscle group.

Kristi O'Connell
Image via @kristieramo on Instagram

Due to her 12-mile run the day before, Kristi O’Connell opted for “reps in reserve” for the sumo deadlifts, meaning sets of 10 reps regardless of if she has several additional reps left in the tank. Adjusting her training prevents burnout.

Kristi O’Connell’s accessory work helped her performance when training for CrossFit and remains a part of her training regimen. Her biceps and triceps exercises are typical of how a bodybuilder might train, including rep ranges that stop just before full mechanical failure. Training arms like a bodybuilder can pay dividends in competitive CrossFit, as movements like rope climbs are frequently programmed at the elite level.

After all the strength work, the O’Connells undergo metabolic conditioning for about 45 minutes, which they consider part of their active recovery.

Training Variety

Kristi O’Connell feels constant variation is a great way to train; it’s this training methodology that drew her to CrossFit in the first place.

You can incorporate [running and lifting weights] and get really great results

Running and weightlifting complement each other. Lifting can promote more injury-proof runs, and cardio can provide a better engine to stave off fatigue longer during anaerobic training. This is highlighted more during endurance training that incorporates strength, which is common for EMOM (every minute on the minute) or AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) training.

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Mental Fortitude

Excelling in multiple training modalities made O’Connell one of the best female CrossFitters during her competitive career. She attributes building mental fortitude from her longer runs, saying, “You have the mental aspects of pushing really hard in the gym that propels you in your run, and then you also have the mental aspect of finishing those long runs that help you in the gym.”

Kristi Eramo O’Connell has a 380-pound conventional deadlift PR at 132 pounds bodyweight and a 3:04 marathon (averaging 7:03-minute mile). She’s completed marathons, competed at the CrossFit Games seven times, and feels hybrid training is the way forward post-CrossFit career.

Featured image: @kristieramo on Instagram

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