Functional Bodybuilding and Functional Fitness

Functional Bodybuilding and Functional Fitness

How Functional Bodybuilding Builds The Base For Competitive CrossFit®

High-intensity metabolic conditioning workouts can be effective at preparing for functional fitness competitions, but only to a certain extent and for a limited time. Eventually, doing the same thing over and over again leads to infamous strength ‘plateau’. If you’re looking for a new type of program to prepare you for competition, you need to look no further than Functional Bodybuilding.

Functional Bodybuilding was created by OPEX Director of Coaching Mike Lee as a rehabilitative tool for CrossFit Games veteran athlete Marcus Filly. Marcus had suffered a significant injury in his shoulder following the conclusion of the 2016 competitive season but still wished to continue pursuing the competitive season. Functional Bodybuilding became the tool by which Marcus’s base was built for another season of competition.

So how exactly does Functional Bodybuilding translate into success in competitive functional fitness?

Well, one of the key ingredients for success in functional fitness is contraction volume. Meaning that the best in the competitive functional fitness field have bodies that are well acclimated to the insane amount of contractions required in functional fitness. We can extrapolate this to mean excellent muscle endurance capacity in multiple planes of movement: pressing, pulling, pushing, squatting, bending.

(Coach’s Resource: Learn how to prepare athletes for the rigors of competition with this course.)

Learn how to prepare athletes for the rigors of competition and build balance in clients bodies with Functional Bodybuilding.

As discussed above, one of the key tenets of Functional Bodybuilding is the ability to work on muscle endurance in multiple planes of movement in a controlled setting. This allows athletes to build a greater base of contractions which can transfer in time to one’s ability to sustain output on mixed modal activities.

The other piece of Functional Bodybuilding that attributes to building the base of support needed for competitive functional fitness and is the refinement of movement via controlled tempo, non-dynamic activities, and low demand on the nervous system. Athletes have to remove intensity to create motor pattern changes that can stick once we build back intensity and speed of contraction. Functional Bodybuilding principles facilitate the environment needed to elicit that response helping build the base of support needed for competitive functional fitness.

Interested in learning more about coaching functional fitness? Learn how to coach all aspects of the sport from the innagural CrossFit Games winner, James FitzGerald, in his latest course—Mixed Modal.


CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. OPEX Fitness’s uses of the CrossFit® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and OPEX Fitness is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.

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