The Functional Hypertrophy Program

I like going to the gym, blasting a body part or two, getting a great pump, and training like a bodybuilder.

But I also like to be ready for performing at my best: to be able to go for a 3-4 mile jog without feeling like I’m going to die, or hold my own in a pick-up basketball game. The problem is, when you train like a bodybuilder, you don’t optimally prepare yourself for these types of things that arise frequently in our active lifestyles. So what’s the solution? Here is a program outline I came up with to get the best of both worlds.

Before I just lay out a program, I’m going to talk a little bit about some underlying theory. Depending on our goals, the variables in a workout are going to change. Training for performance and training for good looks call for two entirely different training approaches. A ‘maximal hypertrophy’ program might look something like this:

• 8-12 Rep Range
• 3-4 sets per exercise, 3-4 exercises per body part
• Tempo slow and controlled; like 4-0-2 or 3-0-2
• Rest periods 45-90 Seconds
• Training frequency: Each body part 1-2x a week

The concept is basically to trash a muscle group, let it rest, and grow. Our reps and tempo is moderate, rest periods fairly short, and volume high. We also use intensification techniques like drop sets or supersets judiciously. Now let’s take a look at a program designed more for ‘General Physical Preparedness’:

• 1-100 or more Rep Range – typically very low or very high
• 3-4 sets, 1-2 exercises per body part
• Tempo typically fast or explosive
• Rest periods very low or very high
• Training frequency: Full Body 3-4x a week

What training program was this dude on?

This is clearly a very different training approach. We’re training for multiple adaptations all at once. So what if we were to combine these two methodologies for a hybrid-type training program? Half the time, we bodybuild, half the time we train for functional fitness. We still get to work the beach muscles a couple of times per week, but we still build our maximal strength, our anaerobic capacity, our flexibility – in other words, we are prepared for whatever life throws at us.

Now for the program template. I’m simply going to lay out one week for you; you can follow this same template, switching exercises, cardio days, etc., for at least four to six weeks.


Monday

Push Press – 1 minute work, 1 minute rests, 3 rounds
DB 21’s – 3 sets (Rear Delt Raise x7, Lateral Raise x7, Front Raise x7 =21)
Incline Dumbbell Press – 1 minute work, 1 minute rest, 3 rounds
Cable Fly – 2×15
Dips – 1 minute work, 1 minute rest, 3 rounds
Cable Pushdowns – 100 reps

Tuesday

Run 5K

Wednesday

25 Bodyweight Squats
25 Push-Ups
25 Bodyweight Rows
25 Ball Crunches

4 Rounds

Thursday

Off

Friday

Squats – 5×5
RDL’s – 5×5
Pull-Ups – 5x AMRAP
Barbell Curls – 3×10

Saturday

Take a Yoga Class!

Sunday

Kettlebell Cardio Circuit: 20 reps each exercise, 5 Rounds:

Suitcase Deadlifts
Swings
Front Squats
1-Arm Clean and Press
1-Arm Snatches

To reiterate, the basic outline is this: ‘Body-building’ style push workout Monday, long cardio on Tuesday, Metabolic Conditioning/ Callisthenic workout Weds, and rest Thursday. Friday is a heavy pull day, Saturday is flexibility and core, and Sunday is a kettlebell circuit workout. You can change the program as you desire with different exercises, different workouts on different days – the important factors are that we mix training styles and we still give each body part ample recovery time. Take these tips to look great, feel great, and perform great all at the same time!

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