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.


Power Elizabeth

21-15-9 of-

Dumbbell hang power cleans*

Ring dips**

*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.


Legless Karen

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.


Bodybuilding Birchall

100 x front squats @ bodyweight on bar

Every minute until complete, perform-

5 x Romanian deadlift*


*Use same bar

Andrew Tracey