Hypertrophy Is Not A Bad Word: Functional Hypertrophy Training
Functional Bodybuilding Programs
3 Day Program For Athletic Hypertrophy
In this article I will share with you some interesting facts about functional bodybuilding programs. These are not necessarily new or original ideas, but they are just too good to pass up! Let’s start off with three days of high intensity training.
What do these mean?
Well, it means that your workouts consist of three consecutive days where you perform heavy compound lifts and exercises for maximum muscle growth. You may think that this sounds like a typical bodybuilder routine, but there is one big difference between the two types of training.
The first thing you need to understand is that there are two different kinds of strength training: Heavy weight lifting (weightlifting) and light weight lifting (bodybuilding). Both types of training have their advantages and disadvantages. Strength training consists of lifting weights to develop muscular size and strength. Light weight lifting involves lighter loads such as those used in gymnastics, dance, swimming, etc., which allow for greater flexibility in movement patterns.
However, heavy weight lifting requires higher levels of energy expenditure than light weight exercise because it uses more muscle mass while using less oxygen.
Research has suggested that there are two major types of strength training: heavy weight lifting and and explosive weight lifting (weightlifting). Both types have different purposes and goals. Heavy weight lifting involves the use of slow movements and low reps with heavy weights (1-5 reps, with 3 being the most common). This method is used to build maximal strength. For example, powerlifters and strongmen rely primarily on this type of training to build massive strength.
Explosive weight lifting, also known as weightlifting, involves the use of fast movements and high reps with light weights (8-15 reps, with 12 being the most common). This method is used to build muscular endurance, muscular flexibility, and anaerobic endurance. Athletes that require explosive strength such as sprinters, jumpers, and football players rely primarily on this type of training to enhance their performance.
Now that you understand the two different types of strength training, let’s get back to our topic. As I mentioned before, typical bodybuilding routines consist of light weight lifting. In other words, you will be doing lots of reps with light weights. This is done for several reasons:
To increase muscular endurance. To stretch the muscle fibers under load.
The third advantage of bodybuilding is to give the skin time to catch up with the underlying muscle growth. If you have ever wondered why bodybuilders typically have such small arms compared to their massive biceps, it’s because they are often so vascular. The more you train your muscles to grow, the heavier and thicker your skin has to grow in order to maintain its elasticity.
So what does this have to do with your training?
Well, our goal is to build strength and muscle, not maximize muscular endurance. This means that we don’t want to do a lot of reps and we definitely don’t want to stretch or tax the muscle under load. This is why I advocate heavy weightlifting for beginners rather than bodybuilding. Heavy weightlifting increases strength and muscle mass, which in turn enhances overall conditioning.
By the way, I should mention that there is an exception to this rule. Some beginner programs (such as Starting Strength and the Greyskull LP) use slow negative reps to help build strength and size. While the concept of slow negative reps has merit, I don’t think the average beginner needs to worry about them. Advanced bodybuilders use them because they are more concerned with muscular development rather than strength development. The average beginner just wants to get strong as quickly as possible.
All of the sample programs that I will present in this article follow this rule: they all use heavy weightlifting rather than bodybuilding.
The Chaos Training Program
The Chaos training program is probably the most basic and traditional lifting program out there. It consists of a repeating cycle of three days: a “heavy” day, a “light” day, and a “medium” day. Here is the basic template:
Heavy day: 5 sets of 5 reps using 80-85% of your 1RM
5 sets of 5 reps using 80-85% of your 1RM Light day: 3 sets of 8 reps using 65-70% of your 1RM
3 sets of 8 reps using 65-70% of your 1RM Medium day: 3 sets of 5 reps using 55-60% of your 1RM
As you can see, the program is pretty simple. You can repeat this cycle for as long as necessary until you reach your goals. I should note that many people will advocate different percentages for the heavy day. Some will say to always do 85%, while others will say to do only 70%. I recommend using 75-80% because this is a good balance between volume and intensity.
The only other thing that I need to mention is what weight to use for the medium day. This may vary on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis, but the key is to pick a weight where you can still hit five reps on the last set without struggling. If you fail on the fifth rep, go up 5 pounds the next time you perform that exercise. On the flip side, if you get all five reps easily, drop 5 pounds the next time. It’s also fine to stay at that weight for more than one session if you’re feeling good.
The great thing about this program is that it’s incredibly flexible. You can do this program two, three, or four times a week. It’s up to you. Just remember: heavy, light, medium, heavy, light, medium.
I’ve written two sample programs using the Chaos training program. The first is for the person who can only train twice a week, while the second is for the person who can train three times a week. Feel free to adjust the programs to meet your needs.
The two-day program would look like this:
Day 1 – Heavy
– Heavy Day 2 – Light
– Light Day 3 – Rest
– Rest Day 4 – Medium
– Medium Day 5 – Heavy
– Heavy Day 6 – Rest
– Rest Day 7 – Rest
The three-day program would look like this:
Day 1 – Heavy
– Heavy Day 2 – Light
– Light Day 3 – Medium
– Medium Day 4 – Heavy
– Heavy Day 5 – Rest
– Rest Day 6 – Light
– Light Day 7 – Rest
I’ve also come up with a four-day version, but it’s a bit more complex, so I’ll post it in the forum. If you’re interested in that program, go to the thread titled “The Chaos Program (4 days).” People have been reporting good results with that version.
Good luck, and have fun!
3b. Power & Strength Part 2: The Sheiko Routines.
The second routine is the most popular power lifting routine in the world: the Sheiko Routines. While these routines were originally made for elite weightlifters looking to get stronger, they also work very well for powerlifters since they’re so heavy on the squats and bench presses. Here are the two sample programs.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Cardiac hypertrophy: the good, the bad, and the ugly by N Frey, EN Olson – Annual review of physiology, 2003 – annualreviews.org