T Nation

Hybrid Programs: Results & Thoughts

2 months ago I’ve switched to a hybrid program from Starting Strength which I was on for about 4 months. I’ve seen some pretty good results so far which I’d like to share. I’ve incorporated crossfit metcons; olympic lifts; Westside-barbell style heavy lifting and gymnastics ie Iron Cross.

Before SS (6 months ago): 155 lbs
Weight 2 months ago: 171 lbs (hybrid program start)
Yesterday morning weigh in: 180 lbs

This is my program as of 2 months ago:

Mon - Cross - BS 3x5 - PC 5x3 - Press - Metcon
Tue - Rest
Wed - Cross - FS 3x5 - BP 3x5 - 1x5 DL - W/PULL ups 2x8
Thur - Rest
Fri - Cross - BS 4x8-10 - Snatch - W/Dips on rings - Metcon
Sat - Optional / Misc Sports / heavy-met-con

The Cross we’re training on a pair of rings using thera-bands as counter-resistance. The progress on the cross has been slow and grueling; however, any progress is better than none. Were considering the thera-band a constant and because its hard to judge how much weight is taken off by lengthening or shortening it. To increase the difficulty were first adding SETS to a totall of 5; then adding REPS to a total of 5x10.

At this point we’ll be adding weight via an adjustable weight vest. Basically were doing cross pulls, down 2 seconds up 1 second from horizontal. Three sets five reps right now. I have noticed size increase in my bicep and forearm that I can attribute to the cross training alone. Because of my constant weight increase from training I am hoping that I can do a body weight cross in about a year.

I’m not sure how to interpret the strength gains from the cross. I don’t think it translates in a linear fashion to any of the lifts; what I do know is that my joints and connective tissue is stronger than EVER and that my arms are growing finally. When I was doing Starting Strength I saw my collection of jeans get thrown away from the growth in my ass and thighs, also I saw a lot of growth in my upper back and chest; however not very much growth in my arms and shoulders at all.

Ever since I integrated a decent amount of volume for the cross I’ve been noticing my arms adding size and fast. I deff think it’s the staple of the workout for my upper body; also the reason I haven’t included any assistance arm work. I really wanted to see if the cross by itself would increase arm size; in my case at least I was right. I’m really excited to see what the next few months will bring.

I started at 195 3x5 squat two months ago, as of yesterday morning I’m at 245 3x5. Those numbers are nothing special but PR’s for me :slight_smile: Hopefully I’ll be able to continue weekly weight increases for quite some time.

Dead lifting at 315 lbs 3x5; up from 265 2 months ago. Another PR. I really love deadlifts, even with my shorter arms it’s one of my favorite exercises. Just the rush of lifting 3 plates on each side for the first time for 5 reps was electrifying. I know it’s nothing special or to brag about; it sure was exciting for me tho!

Bench Press is at 195 3x5; have been teetering 195-200 for the past few weeks now; it’s up from 180 3x5. If anybody would have a suggestion as to what a good idea would be to break through this I’m all ears. The 195 is another PR.

My diet is pretty much full time. I try to eat as much good food as I can. I’m trying to bulk so although I’m keeping tally in the back of my head (somewhat) I’m really just trying to feed every few hours.

The met-cons have been short and intense. I don’t really want to go into super lengthy detail about this; it’s a work in progress.


I thought that adding the extra volume was going to affect my main lifts; so far I haven’t noticed them lacking but if I don’t sleep or eat right the day before I’m shot half way through the workout.

The cross training impressed me the most, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. I wonder if I can get up to 17 inch arms w/o ever doing a curl? I’m at 15 now; up from 14.25 2 months ago. I’m not stopping the cross training so I’ll see.

Also, I’ve been playing on the rings for some time now. Thus my elbows have gotten stronger before I ever even started SERIOUS cross training at a higher volume. If you’ve never touched a set of rings I guarantee tennis elbow if the volume is too high. Even now it feels like my elbow will snap in half each and every rep, just doesn’t hurt afterwards like it did.

Fat gain has been problematic because of my loose diet; however the metcon has been keeping it in check for the most part. However, the added weight has made it extra hard to progress in the cross. My thinking is that once I do decide to cut down for summer; the cross progress will catapult.

I know the lift numbers aren’t spectacular but I’m excited at the progress. Especially excited about the now exagerated shoulder/bicep muscle seperation.

Has anybody else experimented with a program like such?