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I love CrossFit. There's something awesome about pushing your physical and mental limits in functional movements that help you in the real world and there’s a lot to be said about a community that is so fired up about what they do that they share their workout to encourage others to take on new forms of training.
I also love getting a pump and doing workouts that promote hypertrophy, or muscle building.
I see no reason to separate the two.
You can increase both your cardio and your GAINZ in one WOD and I want to help show you how, so I worked with Jeremy Reither, founder of WODwell to create a guide that explains what hypertrophy and building muscle really means and how you can achieve it through your CrossFit workouts.
Together we curate a list of 100+ WODs you can try to prioritize muscle growth. So let’s get into it.
What is Hypertrophy?
Hypertrophy, in plain language, is muscle growth, hence why workouts designed for muscle growth are called hypertrophy workouts. This style of training specifically targets growing the size of the muscle. For beginners, this can often lead to increased strength and muscle endurance. However, true hypertrophy training is geared intentionally toward growing your muscles (this is also what some people call “toned,” which is just magazine copy for “bigger muscles”).
In hypertrophy, you increase the amount of time your muscles are working under moderate weight. This causes damage to the muscles, which then repair and grow. Essentially, this is how all strength training works.
Hypertrophy training can take on all kinds of formats: increasing the time your muscles are under tension with eccentric-based movements, adding more repetitions at lighter weights, and working to fatigue using drop sets. Generally speaking though you are doing multiple rounds of higher repetitions (think 8-12 reps) with moderate sized weights.
Benefits of Hypertrophy Workouts
The Pump. The Gainz. The Beef. Hulking out. Bulking up. Getting swole.
You get it, right? We’re going to build our muscles. Though muscle-building may be the primary benefit of hypertrophy-specific training, there many other benefits of hypertrophy workouts:
- Getting stronger: Bigger muscles have the potential to move more weight. It’s just science: mass moves mass.
- Injury prevention: Thickening muscles and tendons can protect your joints and leave you less susceptible to injury following, say, a fall.
- Efficient energy expenditure: You burn calories during exercise and then burn calories as your muscles begin the repair process. Because muscle is a metabolically active tissue, having more of it also means your body can burn more calories at rest.
- Reducing risk of osteoporosis: Numerous studies have found that resistance training is the best strategy for building bone mass–some have shown that lifting weights can even reverse osteoporosis.
And, of course, exercise leads to the production of endorphins, and endorphins make us happy.
Ready to Work?
Every Friday, a few buddies and I get together to do something different from our traditional training. We call these muscle-fests #UnfunctionalFridays.
So, I've worked with WODwell to compile some of our best #UnfunctionalFridays work into one massive list divided into 4 categories for your enjoyment.
Our full crew masterfully created most of these, but others were scavenged from places across the internet including a few created by the ultimate CrossFit Mass Monster Dan Bailey and some from none other than WODwell themselves.
Without further ado, here are your 100+ CrossFit WODS for hypertrophy:
Otherwise known as every minute on the minute, these workouts are some of my personal favorites, as they pit you against the clock trying to complete the work in the targeted amount of reps and maximize your rest.
Code for as many reps as possible, these workouts give you a set time limit for the opportunity to get in as many rounds and/or reps as you can. If you’re in a time crunch, AMRAP workouts are a great way to sneak in high intensity/muscle building workouts in a small amount of time.
In a rounds for time workout, you complete a list of exercises for a defined number of rounds as fast as you can. Because you’re looking to complete your exercise routine in the fastest time possible, you’re heavily stimulating your muscles with little time for recovery.
TABATA workouts are performed with 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. This means each round is made up of 30 seconds. If improving your workout efficiency is important, TABATA is ideal.
A chipper workout may actually be as direct as it sounds: The overall goal of a chipper workout is to ‘chip away’ at the routine. Traditionally a chipper exercise regimen has anywhere from five to 10 movements, with a high number of reps to be completed. For some, it helps to look at the chipper workout and break out into rounds if needed. For a beginner, 100 pull ups may sound exhausting, however four sets of 25 (with short recovery intervals in between) can help beginners avoid over-fatiguing or injuring themselves..
The premise behind the ladder concept, working up or down in the number of reps, is to increase performance past what a person is typically capable of. It goes without saying, but the ability to perform higher value count on movements, leads to more work and overload on your muscles.
Go Get Those Gainz
The amount of muscle you could gain from these workouts is insane. But, you've got to put in the work. Make sure you do a proper warmup and cooldown, and have fun and if you manage to finish all of these check out some of our signature GGR workouts over atWODwell.
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