How Functional Bodybuilding Builds The Base For Competitive CrossFit®

How Functional Bodybuilding Builds The Base For CrossFit

High intensity metabolic conditioning workouts can be effective at preparing for CrossFit Competition, 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 the a new type of program to prepare you for competitive CrossFit, you need 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 significant injury in his shoulder following the conclusion of the 2016 competitive season, but still wished to continue pursuing the competitive CrossFit. Functional Bodybuilding became the tool by which the Marcus’s base was built for another season of competition. Focus on the basics of movement with various loads is what spawned the concept known as Functional Bodybuilding.

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

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

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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 for 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 the Sport of Fitness™ 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 CrossFit.

If you’re curious to explore what a Functional Bodybuilding program can do for you, check out this free training template and informational guide. The best way to experience how a functional bodybuilding program can improve your CrossFit competitive ambitions is to try it.


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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