How to Combine Hypertrophy and Functional Training?

How to Combine Hypertrophy and Functional Training?

Hypertrophy and functional training can be combined by adding exercises that target both muscle growth and functional movement patterns into your workout routine.

Table of Contents

Functional training is a type of training which has a goal to replicate real-life motions in your exercises. It emphasizes pushing, pulling, and squatting movements to help you execute everyday tasks with ease.

Using a variety of rep ranges and intensities is another technique to integrate muscular hypertrophy and functional training. Also incorporate active rest and adequate recovery like yoga, stretching, and foam rolling into your regimen. 

If you want to build muscle, you should prioritize progressive loading and concentrate on workouts that target the muscle groups you wish to develop. Focus on exercises that simulate real-world motions and blend stability, mobility, and power exercises into your regimen if you want to increase your functional fitness and athleticism.

Read below if you want to learn how to combine hypertrophy and functional training.

How to Combine Hypertrophy and Functional Training?

To combine hypertrophy and functional training, incorporate unilateral exercises, single-joint movements, machine-based lifts, and light compound lifts. In addition, follow the principle of progressive overload, increase protein intake, utilize a variety of ranges, improve rest and recovery, use proper technique, train intensively, and incorporate compound exercises.

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Quick Summary

  • Add exercises that target both muscle growth and functional movement patterns into your workout program.
  • Incorporate active rest and adequate recovery into your regimen.
  • Combine heavy compound lifts for low reps (2-5) to gain strength and power, with higher reps exercises (6-12) for hypertrophy.
  • Prioritize progressive loading and concentrate on workouts that target the muscle groups you want to develop.

Hypertrophy Training vs Functional Strength Training

The goal of muscle building is to increase the muscle’s total size by causing hypertrophy of the muscular tissue. Strength training, on the other hand, strives to improve the muscles’ functional capacity. 

A larger training volume (moderate loads), more frequent sessions, and shorter rest intervals between sets are necessary increase muscle mass. The exercises consist of more sets and repetitions with a lighter weight. 

Submaximal or maximal strength training is more intense but has a smaller training volume (fewer days, longer recovery periods). Less sets and reps while lifting a significant amount of weights is the objective.

Similarities Between Functional Strength and Hypertrophy Training

Functional strength and hypertrophy training have some similarities in terms of the types of exercises they utilize and the overall training approach:

Consist of Performing Compound Movements Like Squats, Deadlifts, and Rows

Multi-joint motions known as compound exercises activate many muscle groups simultaneously. They are incredibly effective at increasing muscular growth, strength, and power. Some of the most efficient workouts for increasing general strength and size include squats, deadlifts, and rows. Squats work the lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. Deadlifts exercise the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back as well as the complete posterior chain. Conversely, rows engage the arms, shoulders, and back.

Progressive Overload

According to the idea of progressive overload, the body has to be continually tested with heavier weights or more resistance in order to advance. Both functional strength training and training for hypertrophy can benefit from this idea. The muscles are forced to adapt and expand by progressively increasing the weight, repetitions, or resistance of an activity.

Proper Form and Technique

Exercises accomplished incorrectly raise the chance of injury and decrease the effectiveness of activating the targeted muscle groups. Exercises should be carried out with good form and technique in both functional strength training and hypertrophy training to ensure optimum muscle activation and reduce the risk of injury. When lifting heavy weights or engaging in exercises that need a high level of stability and balance, this is particularly crucial.

You can obtain proper form and technique by:

  • Hiring a coach or personal trainer to assist you with technique and form.
  • Utilizing only the muscle groups that the workout is supposed to target.
  • Acquiring knowledge of the proper movement patterns for the activities you’re performing.
  • Starting off light so you can perfect your form and technique.
  • Using a mirror or asking someone to check and provide comments on your form.

Proper Recovery

Muscle fibers suffer an injury during exercise, which requires time for recovery and growth Recovery describes the process of development and healing. Lack of recuperation might prevent the muscles from growing and repairing themselves effectively, which could result in tiredness, accidents, and subpar performance [1].

A proper recovery entails:

  • Get adequate sleep: Sleep is crucial for muscular growth and recuperation. Hormones that support muscle development and repair are released by the body as you sleep [2].
  • Stretching and foam rolling: These techniques can soothe aches and pains in the muscles, promote flexibility, and improve blood flow to the area, all of which can speed up the healing process [3].
  • Proper nutrition: It helps assist muscle growth and repair. Eating a diet high in protein, light in carbs, and high in healthy fats can aid. To promote muscle growth and repair, it is critical to ingest enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats [4].
  • Active recovery: Yoga and swimming are two low-impact sports that can help with recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles and easing pain [5].

Balance of Exercises That Target Both Muscle Growth and Functional Movement Patterns

You may obtain a well-rounded approach to fitness that enhances both your lean muscle mass and functional ability by implementing a balance of activities that target muscle growth, decrease body fat, and improve functional movement patterns. You could also focus on other components of fitness, like power, endurance, and strength, by using a variety of rep ranges and intensities. 

Also, you may include some of these most common exercises:

  • Squats, deadlifts, and rows for functional strength and hypertrophy.
  • Pull-ups and rows are exercises for the upper body.
  • Step-ups and lunges for the lower body.
  • For functional core strength and stability, try planks and rotational exercises.

Periodization of Training

Periodization is the technique of breaking up training into several training blocks, each having a distinct emphasis and goal. This is crucial to minimize boredom, and overuse injuries, and to add variation to the workout for both functional strength and hypertrophy [6].

Periodization in functional strength training might entail concentrating on particular activities, such as powerlifting or Olympic lifting, for a set amount of time before moving to functional movements, including kettlebell swings, box jumps, and plyometric exercises.

In hypertrophy training, periodization may entail focusing on certain muscle parts for a set length of time before transitioning to other muscle groups. A good example is focusing on upper-body muscle parts for a few weeks and then moving to lower-body muscle areas for a few weeks.

Improving Overall Fitness, Strength, and Athleticism

While functional strength and hypertrophy training have different goals, they both share the common goal of improving the overall fitness, strength, and performance of functional fitness athletes. Improving overall fitness, strength, and athleticism can lead to better health, increased energy, and better posture, and also can boost self-confidence [7].

Differences Between Functional Strength and Hypertrophy Training

Functional strength training and hypertrophy training have different fundamental objectives, and they concentrate on various facets of physical fitness and muscular development. Knowing how the two forms of resistance training vary allows you to design a thorough training schedule that promotes both muscle growth and functional fitness. These are the main differences:

Main Goal

Functional strength training’s major purpose is to enhance functional movements and agility, whereas hypertrophy training’s primary goal is to increase muscle size and improve overall body composition.

Exercise Focus

Functional strength training focuses on exercises that simulate everyday motions and help to develop functional fitness, and it oftentimes emphasizes power, speed, and agility. Exercises that target particular muscle groups and encourage muscular development are the emphasis of hypertrophy training.

Intensity and Volume

Functional strength training is mostly based on a higher level of intensity and maintains a lower volume of exercises, while hypertrophy training typically contains a lower level of intensity and a higher volume of exercises.

Specific Focus

Functional strength training may be focused on the exercises that are specific to a certain sport or activity, while hypertrophy training prioritizes general muscle growth.

Rep Range

The range of repetitions done in functional strength training is usually lower, between 1 to 6 reps, while in hypertrophy training the rep range is usually higher, between 6 to 12 reps.

Rest Period

In comparison to hypertrophy training, the rest interval between sets in functional strength training is often longer, between 2 and 3 minutes, because performed exercises are mostly compound exercises. Hypertrophy training normally calls for shorter rest times between sets, typically around 1.5 minutes, because it proved to be the best for increasing the cross-section of muscles, also known as muscle growth.

Training Frequency

Functional strength training may feature a lower training frequency and fewer days of training each week, whereas hypertrophy training frequently involves a greater training frequency and more days of training each week.

What Are Ideal Rep Ranges for Hypertrophy?

The ideal rep range for hypertrophy (muscle growth) is between 6-12 reps per set. This rep range promotes muscular development while still allowing enough weight to significantly stress the muscles. 

It is also known as the hypertrophy rep range because it allows the muscles’ fibers to be under a moderate amount of strain for a prolonged period of time. This promotes muscular growth [8].

As important as the rep range is, other factors such as the number of sets, the rest intervals between sets, the exercise choice, and progressive overload should also be considered.

Additionally advised is varying the rep ranges. According to some research, the “endurance rep range”, a greater rep range of 12 to 20 repetitions with less weight, can be used to target slow-twitch muscle fibers. 

Furthermore, some studies indicate that targeting fast-twitch muscle fibers through “power rep range” training, which entails a shorter rep range (1-6 repetitions) and greater weight, is a more successful strategy for building muscle in some situations [9].

How to Determine Which Rep Range Is Best for You?

To determine which rep range is the best for you, you need to think about several factors, including your fitness goals, current fitness level, and the type of exercises you are performing:

Fitness Objectives & Training Outcomes

The standard hypertrophy rep range of 6–12 repetitions is often advised if your fitness objective is to enhance muscle growth and overall body composition. If increasing endurance is your aim, a greater rep range of 12–20 repetitions could be more advantageous. A lower rep range of 1-6 repetitions would be more suitable if your objective is to improve strength and power.

Current Fitness Level

The ideal rep range for you may also depend on your current level of fitness. A greater rep range with lighter weights may be more suitable if you are new to strength training. To target various muscle fibers, you can progressively raise the weight and reduce the repetitions as you go.

Exercise Sort

Choosing the right rep range for you may also depend on the type of workouts you do. To manage the larger weights, compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and rows often demand a shorter rep range, but isolation exercises like tricep extensions and bicep curls may need a higher rep range.


A smart suggestion is to experiment with several rep ranges to find which one is most effective for you. It might be beneficial to monitor your development and take note of how your body reacts to various rep ranges.

How to Add Hypertrophy Training Into a Strength Program?

To add hypertrophy training into a strength program, think about using these methods to efficiently promote body composition and muscular growth:

Unilateral Exercises

Unilateral exercises like single-leg squats and lunges are excellent for stimulating muscular development and addressing muscle imbalances. Because each side of the body must operate independently during these workouts, more muscles are activated, which enhances muscular symmetry. Unilateral exercises can help enhance stability, balance, and injury prevention [10].

Single Joint Movements

Single joint movements are helpful for focusing on certain muscle groups and fostering muscular growth. Examples are bicep curls, tricep extensions, and leg curls. These exercises isolate particular muscle groups, allowing you to concentrate and exert greater effort on that muscle group in order to define and form your muscles [11].

Machine-Based Lifts

Machine-based lifts are a good way to target particular muscle groups and encourage muscular growth. These exercises offer a more regulated movement, a wider range of motion, and more muscle activation. Beginners or individuals who are recuperating from an injury might also benefit from machine-based exercises [12].

Light Compound Lifts

Light compound lifts, including push-ups and bodyweight squats, are good for boosting muscle activation and encouraging development. These exercises may be changed to challenge different fitness levels since they demand many muscle groups to perform together, which promotes total muscular activation. They are also a fantastic technique to build muscle without using heavy equipment or weights [13].

“A well-designed upper body program should include a proportional number of sets of horizontal pulling (rows), vertical pulling (chin ups), overhead pressing and supine pressing exercises. In simple terms, there should be a set of pulling exercise for every set of pushing exercise.” – Michael Boyle, Strength and Conditioning and Strength Training Consultant

Tips to Maximize Muscle Hypertrophy

To maximize muscle hypertrophy, these are a few tips that you can implement in your routine:

Incorporate Progressive Overload

Increasing the weight, repetitions, or sets of your workouts over time will stress your muscles and encourage muscular growth. This is a key component of hypertrophy training. It implies that you should work to gradually lift greater weights or complete more reps. Your muscles will benefit from the challenge and will expand as a result.

Increase Protein Intake for Maximal Muscle Mass

Getting enough protein is a must do for muscle development and repair. Daily protein intake should be around 1 gram per pound of body weight [14]. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in protein sources such as lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products can ensure that your body receives the proper amount of protein to help you with building muscle [15].

Utilize a Variety of Rep Ranges

Using a variety of rep ranges, such as 6–12 repetitions for hypertrophy, 1-6 repetitions for strength, and 12–20 repetitions for endurance, can aid in focusing on various muscle fibers and fostering muscular growth. A variety of rep ranges should be used in your training program since each one stimulates distinct muscle fibers and encourages various adaptations.

Increase Rest and Recovery

For muscles to develop, rest and recovery are crucial. For helping your muscles recuperate, get proper sleep, and add stretching and foam rolling in between training sessions. This will speed up muscle repair and lessen muscular discomfort [16].

Include Compound Exercises

Compound exercises that include the use of numerous muscular groups, such as squats, deadlifts, and rows, are good at stimulating muscle growth. These workouts are renowned for being the best for general muscular building since they simultaneously target several muscle groups and joints.

Train Intensively

Intensity training is crucial for muscular development. When you maintain proper technique while pushing yourself to lift more weights or complete more repetitions, your muscles will be challenged and encouraged to expand as a result.

Use Proper Technique

Using the right technique is the main thing to do for preventing injuries and promoting muscular growth. When performing each exercise, pay attention to your technique and the muscle you are targeting.

Designing Hybrid Strength and Hypertrophy Mesocycles

Designing a hybrid strength and hypertrophy mesocycle (a period of training that lasts several weeks) means mixing elements of both strength and hypertrophy training in order to achieve both goals simultaneously. Here is one approach to creating a hybrid mesocycle:

1. Hypertrophy-Focused Phase

Start the mesocycle with a hypertrophy-training-focused phase, and employ moderate rep ranges (6–12) and moderate weights. This will encourage the creation of new muscles and aid to improve muscular size.

2. Strength-Focused Phase

After a few weeks of hypertrophy training, switch to a phase that is more focused on strength, performing low repetitions (1–5) with heavy weights. This will support brain modifications that will enable you to lift more weights in the future by increasing muscular activation.

3. Add Exercises From Both Phases

Squats and deadlifts from the strength phase should still be done during the hypertrophy phase, but at a greater rep range. This will boost muscular growth while assisting in maintaining the strength improvements acquired during the strength phase.

4. Periodize Volume and Intensity

Vary the volume and intensity of your workouts throughout the course of the mesocycle. For instance, during the hypertrophy phase, you may begin with a high volume and low intensity before progressively increasing the intensity and decreasing the volume as the mesocycle progresses.

5. Track Your Development

Throughout the mesocycle, keep an eye on your development by keeping track of your strength levels, muscle size, and body composition. Utilize this knowledge to modify your routine as necessary to keep pushing your muscles and encouraging growth.

How to Get More From Your Workouts by Lifting Less?

To get more from your workouts by lifting less, you can use some of the following ideas:

Use Supersets

Supersets are when you execute two workouts immediately after one another with little to no break in between. This may aid in boosting muscle activation and encouraging muscular development [17].

Increase the Intensity

Increase the intensity of your workout by lifting lesser weights with a larger number of repetitions instead of heavier weights. This will enhance muscular development by increasing muscle activation.

Add Resistance Bands or Body Weight Exercises

Resistance bands or body weight exercises might help to activate and build muscles. You may get a solid workout with these exercises without needing to use hefty weights.

Incorporate Progressive Overload

It is the steady increase in stress exerted and training load on the body during athletic training. This is necessary for muscular growth and can be accomplished by increasing weight, repetitions, sets, or decreasing rest time.


Can You Mix Strength Training and Hypertrophy?

Yes, you can mix strength training and hypertrophy. In fact, combining parts of both hypertrophy and strength training can help with overall fitness and muscular growth.

Should I Do Hypertrophy or Strength First?

You should do hypertrophy training first, if your priority is to increase muscle size and definition. Strength training should take precedence if you want to gain more strength and power.

How Many Days a Week Is Best for Hypertrophy?

For hypertrophy, a frequency of 3-5 days per week works best. It gives you enough time to rest while stimulating the muscle to grow.

What Is the Best Way to Combine Hypertrophy and Functional Training?

The best way to combine hypertrophy and functional training might be with including:

  • compound exercises
  • different rep ranges
  • unilateral exercises
  • functional exercises
  • time under tension
  • adding cardio
  • using progressive overload
  • tracking your progress

All these factors are crucial for creating a well-rounded program that will help you increase your overall fitness level, strength, and muscle development. 

To continue pushing your muscles and accomplishing your goals, pay attention to your body and modify your routine as necessary.

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Vanja Vukas

Student at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education and a hardcore functional training enthusiast. Heavily inspired by Michael Boyle, a strength & conditioning specialist, and by Adam Sinicki, the founder of Bioneer. Vanja believes that transitioning to a movement-based exercise program can drastically improve your fitness, balance out your muscles, and support your current lifestyle.

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