Getting Bulky in 3 Easy Steps

All the evidence in the world, both scientific and anecdotal, won’t be enough to change some deep rooted perceptions of CrossFit and other General Physical Preparedness applications elicit when it comes to aesthetic changes. There’s a natural association with barbells and bulky bodies. Common perception also believes that there’s no such thing as weights that are light unless they look like this. And, when we think of lifting weights we think of body builders and powerlifters.

bulky crossfit

Can strength and size be mutually exclusive?

These images don’t consider men and women with world class strength that you and I will likely never attain that look thin and athletic. These perceptions don’t explain why this woman can clean 234 pounds and look the way she looks while many women with half her strength could be considered “bulky.” Is it still the weightlifting?

Though I can understand where these perceptions come from it’s difficult to understand how they hang around, especially considering how quickly they fall apart when you look deeper. Considering that body shape is mostly a genetic, which we’ve talked about before, varying between ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph structures, it’s tough to assume a couple workouts are going to transform us from skinny to super hero anytime soon. In addition, it’s tricky to back up claims that performance based strength and conditioning programs like CrossFit and other GPP oriented programs yield bodybuilder type results when we know that nutrition is the most critical controller of the expression of our genes and body composition. Even the experts in the field of physique and body building will tell you that.

Now, it would be unfair to say that training of any kind, CrossFit, yoga powerlifting, or otherwise, has no effect on body composition, because it very well does. The only issue is that programs like ours, with the goal of a broad general fitness don’t yield specific bulky, bodybuilder results by design and by definition.

Rather than try to do the impossible and reverse these perceptions, I figured I’d give three easy steps to really bulking up. That way, if one’s goals were to avoid “bulking up,” they could just do the opposite:

Step 1: Stop CrossFit/HIIT/GPP training immediately, for the cardiovascular element is sure to lean an athlete out and will significantly diminish the ability to put on substantial size.

Step 2: Take on a liberal approach to nutrition that includes nefarious carbohydrate sources much like the standard American diet of grains in every meal. For extra credit, I’d utilize dairy for an extra bit of growth hormone, insulin, and inflammatory boost.

Step 3: Train the major lifts at heavy to moderate weights in sets of 8-10 for maximum hypertrophy and growth. Sets smaller than this will get one strong but not as big. Sets larger than this may be too cardiovascular for these bulking goals. In addition, it’s key to do largely isolated accessory movements at light weights to exhaustion for maximum growth.

With this road map to bulking, you’ll have all the tools to get big. Ironically, it involves, even down to the repetitions and movements, avoiding anything like CrossFit, but what do I know?


Logan Gelbrich


10/2/14 WOD

Posterior Chain Activation
Complete 3 rounds for quality:
10 Barbell Good Mornings 
10 Back Squats
10 Alternating Lunges

Complete 4 rounds for reps:
In :60, complete:
50’ Odd Object Front Carry (AHAP)
Max Back Squats (BW)
-Rest 2 Min-