High-intensity functional bodybuilding (HIFB) is a hybrid training protocol, which combines traditional bodybuilding, high-intensity functional movements, and interval training to optimize body composition and maximize performance. Personally, conventional bodybuilding splits and steady-state cardio can become monotonous and boring. Although splits are extremely effective in building more muscle and strength, they’re not always the most sustainable and challenging training protocols.
Training with intent is crucial if you want to maximize your athleticism, body composition, and training performance. Burning body fat while building more muscle mass aka “clean bulking” is one of the most sought after, yet difficult body aesthetics to achieve. If total body recomposition is your goal, HIFB will turn up the intensity and increase the workout volume to get you shredded in no time.
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What is High-Intensity Functional Bodybuilding?
The main word in functional training is function. Function means purpose, therefore, functional training is training for a specific purpose. That purpose being to build more strength, balance, and stability recruited to perform common movement patterns while performing everyday activities. Now, combine function with bodybuilding. Bodybuilding is linear and primarily focused on body aesthetics by maximizing hypertrophy. The purpose is focused on strength and definition, by optimizing body composition. In other words, your intent is to look good.
High intensity functional bodybuilding combines three different training modalities: traditional bodybuilding, interval training, and functional fitness into one hybrid training protocol. This is created to maximize performance, functional movement, mobility, strength, and optimize composition.
HIFB is programmed to enhance all aspects of human performance, focused on strength, mobility, and aesthetics, through higher volume isolated, compound, and constantly varied movements, without the traditional Olympic lifts, found in similar training modalities such as high-intensity functional training, aka CrossFit.
HIFB training incorporates compound movements; multi-jointed movements, which require more than one muscle group to be used throughout an exercise. Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, and push press can improve mobility, strength, and functionality. These types of exercises, mimic specific movement patterns used for everyday activities such as hip rotation, muscle stabilizers, flexor muscles, and ensure your joints are moving through a full range of motion. How often do you pull down weight from above your head, behind your neck, similar to a military press? Probably never. How often do you lift something heavy off the floor? Most likely every day.
With high-intensity functional bodybuilding, you get the best of everything, and more bang for your buck, in one training protocol.
5 Day High-Intensity Functional Bodybuilding Workout
Bodybuilding is conventionally performed utilizing an intensity between 50-70%, with 3-5 sets, of 6-12 reps, with 1–3-minute rest intervals. Bodybuilding is systematically designed to increase gains through periodization, ensuring progressive overload, performed with traditional split training isolating specific muscle groups, designated to certain days (i.e. back and biceps, chest and triceps, legs and shoulders). HIFB incorporates this same type of training split, but with higher volume, increased intensity, shorter rest intervals, and added supersets with accelerated functional movements.
HIFB is performed at 80-90% intensity, 3-5 sets, 10-16 reps with .30-1-minute rest intervals. Fundamentally bodybuilding and HIFB are very similar, the only difference is the training objective. Instead of just aesthetics, we’re adding an aspect of athleticism and performance.
This high-intensity functional bodybuilding program follows a standard split, 5 days per week, with two rest days, and is to be followed for 6 weeks. This program follows a linear progression, meaning as time goes on, you will need to increase the load in order to build more muscle and stack on gains. The load is not as important as hitting the prescribed rep volume – every rep counts. Despite the weight you choose, make sure you’re hitting the volume.
- Day 1 - Shoulders and Legs
- Day 2 - Chest and Triceps
- Day 3 - Back and Biceps
- Day 4 - Shoulders and Legs
- Day 5 - Back and Chest
- Day 6 - Rest
- Day 7 - Rest
Day 1 - Shoulders and Legs
|1a. Kettlebell Z Press||4||10 each side|
|1b. Burpee to Pull Up||4||8|
|2a. Barbell Deadlift||4||12|
|2b. Alternating Kettlebell Box Step Ups||4||30|
|2c. Kettlebell Swings||4||10|
|3a. Single Arm Overhead Kettlebell Walking Lunge||4||12 each side|
|3b. Toes to Bar or Hanging Knee Raise||4||10|
|3c. Ground to Overhead with Plate||4||12|
|4b. Barbell Shoulder Press||4||10|
|5a. Dumbbell Lateral Raise||4||12 each side|
|5b. Band Pull Apart||4||10|
|5c. Single Leg Split Squat||4||10 each side|
Day 2 - Chest and Triceps
|1a. Tricep Rope Push Down||4||16|
|1b. Burpee to Overhead Plate Raise||4||10|
|2a. Tricep Bar Pushdown||4||14|
|2b. Narrow Push Up||4||15|
|2c. Air Squats||4||20|
|3a. Cable Flys||4||12|
|3b. Bench Step Ups||4||20|
|3c. Single Arm Pull Down||4||20 each side|
|4a. Incline Dumbbell Press||4||10|
|4b. Bench V-Ups||4||20|
|5a. Dumbbell Bench Press||4||10|
|5c. Bench Dips||4||12|
Day 3 - Back and Biceps
|1a. Lat Pull Down||4||14|
|1b. Dumbbell Curls||4||10 each side|
|2a. Seated Row||4||14|
|2b. Rope Curls||4||14|
|3a. Rope Face Pulls||4||12|
|3b. Narrow Push Up||4||15|
|3c. Bent Over Dumbbell Curls||4||10 each side|
|4a. Strict Pull Ups||4||10|
|4b. Toes to Bar or Hanging Knee Raises||4||10|
|5a. Bent Over Single Arm Kettlebell Row||4||10 each side|
|5b. EZ Bar Bicep 21s||4||21s|
Day 4 - Shoulders and Legs
|1a. Standing Kettlebell Press||3||12|
|1b. Barbell Front Squat||3||6 (heavy)|
|2a. Barbell Deadlifts||3||6 (heavy)|
|2b. Burpees||3||1 minute|
|3. Ball Slams||1||100 for time|
|4a. Front Rack Kettlebell Walking Lunge||3||20|
|4b. Toes to Bar or Hanging Knee Raise||3||8|
|4c. Dumbbell Lateral Raise to Front Raise||3||12 each side|
|5. Wall Balls*||4||25|
|6. Handstand Push Up Against Wall**||4||10|
- * Rest 2 minutes after each set of wall balls.
- ** Rest 2 minutes after each set of handstand pushups. If you can't do handstand push ups, you can do heavy seated dumbbell shoulder presses or modified handstand push ups off a box.
Day 5 - Back and Chest
|1a. Lat Pull Down||4||12|
|1b. Push Ups||4||20|
|2a. Dumbbell Single Arm Row||4||10 each side|
|2b. Dumbbell Bench Press||3||8 (heavy)|
|3a. Close Grip Lat Pull Down||4||12|
|3b. Dumbbell Incline Press||3||8 (heavy)|
|4a. Rear Delt Cable Crossover||4||10|
|4b. Dumbbell Flys||4||10|
|5a. Bent Over Barbell Row||3||12|
|5b. Bench Press||3||12|
|5c. Box Jump||3||10|
Nutrition and supplementation play fundamental roles in optimizing your body composition. Training and nutrition are two co-dependent variables, and if you’re missing one, then you’ll never reach your goals. A diet consisting of high-quality lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, and the right supplements to optimize your training and fill the gaps, will help and build more muscle and optimize your performance.