3 Intense Hypertrophy Workouts for Serious Functional Fitness Athletes

When it comes to metabolic conditioning workouts, there can be a wide array of rep schemes, exercises, and expected training outcomes. Functional fitness athletes must have great work capacity, strength, power, and yes, muscle mass to drive further progress day in and day out.

A photo posted by martsromero (@martsromero) on


Thanks to top athletes like Marcus Filly and Sam Dancer, you can now drive some serious muscle growth and functional fitness into your life. Each workout (leg, upper total body) will:

  • Promote muscular hypertrophy specific to a bodypart/group (legs, back, upper body, etc)
  • Develop a fast and extremely efficient workout to drive anabolic effects upon an athlete
  • Produced a workout that can be individualized based on abilities and strength, yet still allow for healthy competition against oneself or their peers.

Why Train Hypertrophy?

Increasing lean muscle mass at certain times throughout the year (via increase training volume) can be highly beneficial for overall fitness, regardless of sport. Increased muscle mass means:

  1. Increase force output potentials
  2. Application of power
  3. Greater aerobic and/or anaerobic capacity of the muscle cells (provided if trained for specific event)
  4. Enhanced injury resistance as increased muscle mass can work to support ligaments, tendons, and bones.
  5. Increased caloric expenditure/needs, always great for those looking to get leaner while still eating.
  6. Overall enhanced fitness and health, as increase muscle mass can improve daily living and slow the degeneration of aging (sarcopenia).

Personally, I enjoy finding balance between old-school hypertrophy based workouts (“bodybuilding splits”) with more functional fitness/work capacity driven training sessions, as both can play nicely together to increase the anabolic effect that a hard training session can have on muscle growth, athletic performance, and fat loss.

Workout 1: “Triple Double”

If you don’t know the name, Marcus Filly, you are missing out. Marcus took 12th in the 2016 CrossFit Games, and is an absolute functional fitness beast. His workout, “Triple Double,” might very well be one of the hardest upper body sessions I have had in awhile, coupling quality barbell movements like Pendlay Rows with gymnastics to deliver a hypertrophy-based functional movement workout.

A video posted by Marcus Filly (@marcusfilly) on


According to Marcus, this gem took him about 30 minutes, however I didn’t fair so well. Each movement can be scaled to your abilities (for example lighter on rows, assisted strict pull ups, and non-deficit handstand push ups, etc) so that you can still work your technique yet drive muscular adaptation.

12-9-6-3

  • “L” Pull Up
  • Parallette Handstand Push Up (HSPU)

REST 5 MINUTES

27-21-15

  • Ring Push Up

15-12-9

  • Pendlay Row (185 lbs)

REST 5 MINUTES

12-9-6-3

  • Double Kettlebell Russian Swings (two 32kg kettlebells)
  • Strict Handstand Push Up (HSPU)

As you can see, this workout placed a huge emphasis on back strength and overhead movements. Functional fitness athletes (as well as weightlifters) need to have large amounts of muscle mass and strength in the lats, traps, and shoulders. This workout delivered that, and then some.

Workout 2: “Wobbles”

This format has become one of my most recent ones when in need for a quick leg-based hypertrophy session that increases muscle mass and work capacity. This workout is appropriately named, “Wobbles”, since you may or may not do exactly that as you leave the gym following this overhauled rendition of a common, “Leg Day”.

A video posted by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on


The format is pretty straight forward, incorporating common rep schemes often found in functional fitness metcons. In the video, I chose to do my Olympic weightlifting programming first, and then ended with a quality leg training session.

Squat x Heavy Triple (take 15-20 minutes to work up to daily heavy triple)

REST 5 MINUTES

21-15-9

  • Squat at 60% of squat 1 rep max
  • GHD Sit Up

REST 5 MINUTES

12-9-6-3

  • Unbroken Power/Muscle Snatch at 30-40% of 1 snatch rep max
  • Kettlebell Double Front Rack Bulgarian Split Squat (12-9-6-3 reps done on EACH leg)

REST 5 MINUTES

27-21-15

  • Calories on Airdyne
  • Burpees

The workout places a strong emphasis on squatting strength, then backs off with some quality hypertrophy based sets. From there, the power/muscle snatches works the hamstrings and lower back, which pairs well with the supersetted front rack unilateral Bulgarian squat. Lastly, the airdyne sprint works to create high fatigue in the quads, glutes, and hamstring, which in turn can lead to a highly anabolic aftermath.

Workout 3: “Sam Dancer’s German Volume Superset”

German volume training  (GVT) has been used for decades to promote ungodly gains in muscle mass. The protocol is very straight forward, in which a lifter will perform an exercise for 10 sets of 10 repetitions, usually with 50-60% of their 1 rep max. Rest periods are kept on the short side of anywhere between 60-90 seconds to maximize the anabolic and metabolic training effect.

Recently, Sam Dancer posted his rendition of GVT that nearly any athlete can do while they travel or are just in need of some added training volume to increase their muscle mass and strength.

A video posted by SAM DANCER (@samdancing) on


In Sam’s video, he chose two movements (dumbbell bench press and dumbbell front squat) to make a nasty yet highly effective total body superset.

Perform 10 rounds:

  • Dumbbell Press x 10 reps (start bench on on max incline, and drop the incline one click every round, ending with flat bench press)
  • Dumbbell Front Squat x 10 reps

This workout is not only simple, it’s also highly effective at increasing muscle mass in the shoulders, chest, arms, and legs. I recommend starting with a load that is challenging but not near maximal (Sam Dancer used 50lb dumbbells). Be methodical with your rest periods, and keep the tension and emphasis on sound movement and muscular contraction throughout the total body pump session.

Want More Hypertrophy?

Check out some of the articles below to add some serious muscle and increase your fitness!

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured Image: @martsromero and @jdcohen91 on Instagram

Comments