Seven Functional Bodybuilding Workouts, For Any Goal
10/06/2022 | Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.
In a recent podcast episode we dived deep into just what ‘functional bodybuilding’ is, and how to implement the concept into your own training in a variety of manners, for every training goal.
As promised on the recording, here are seven workouts that you can perform (or use as templates), to implement the protocol into your own training, whenever you decide that swole is the goal.
The Strength Bias
As discussed in the pod, there’s a fine line between ‘accessory’ training and bodybuilding; in fact more often than not, there’s no line- it just comes down to the label we choose.
If your goals are primarily strength based, but you want to inject some bodybuilding pump work into the mix, I’ve got some good news- not only is that doable, it’s also ideal. Using the right movements, your bodybuilding work can become the cornerstone of the ‘assistance’ work that will help to develop your main lifts. That’s some seriously ‘functional’ bodybuilding, right?
Begin your sessions working on your main lift, before moving onto, or finishing with one of these FBB couplets:
Overhead pressing session:
4 rounds of-
5 x weighted dip
10 x bodyweight dip
15 x dumbbell lateral raise
20 x banded/ cable tricep pressdown
Lower body session:
4 rounds of-
10 x dumbbell Romanian deadlift
15 x heels elevated goblet squat
20 x walking lunge
25 x leg extension
Second upper body/ hinge/ pulling session (ie. deadlifts or pull-ups)
4 rounds of-
10 x chest supported rows
15 x banded/ cable lat pulldowns
20 x alternating hammer curl (10 each arm)
25 x standing band/ cable curl
The Endurance Bias
If your training is geared towards longer conditioning bouts, or out and out endurance work- additional pump work won’t just add some ‘polish’ to the bodywork, it’ll also help to strengthen the chassis; building resilience against injury, boosting work capacity and even improving recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles worked.
If your training time is limited and you don’t want to sacrifice your CV work in pursuit of a pump, this hybrid upper body EMOM session could be ideal on a longer, ‘recovery’ day.
30-60 minute run/row/ride (pick your poison, and aim for your usual pace over this time domain)
Each minute, hop off of your machine of choice and perform one the following movements (each movement in a separate minute, alternating between them)-
Minute 1- 5 x chin-up
Minute 2- 10 x dumbbell press to lateral lower (press overhead, lower laterally, repeat)
Minute 3- 15 x dumbbell hammer curls (perform both arms simultaneously)
Minute 4- 20 x push-up on dumbbells (drop reps if sets take longer than 25-30secs)
The Crossfit Bias
If you want to stick to your constantly varied, high intensity roots but throw in the occasional swole-centric modification, here’s three adaptations of legendary benchmark WOD’s that will make putting that shirt back on post-workout all the tougher.
Dumbbell hang power cleans*
*Take dumbbell from outside of the body, at hip height. Muscle them up. You know what we’re trying to do here…
**Tuck your chin, lean forward and control the eccentric before blasting back up.
150 wallballs for time, upper body only*
*Keep legs locked out for as long as possible, use a slight push press when you begin to hit failure. Focus on generating force from the shoulders. Try not to cry.
100 x front squats @ bodyweight on bar
Every minute until complete, perform-
5 x Romanian deadlift*
*Use same bar
The barbell is the quintessential tool of weight training- perhaps only superseded by the humble dumbbell- but unlike the dumbbell there are a lot of options when it comes to picking the right bar. Let us run you through some of our offerings, so you can make the right decision for your needs.