Mens Health Marcus Filly Helps Us Take Our Bodybuilding To Next Level

Quick check-in: How are we all doing with our New Year’s resolution to get in better shape? Maybe you are doing great adding more vegetables to your diet and laying off the late-night ice cream! Maybe you upped your workouts from three times a week to four. However and whatever you are doing, give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge that you are taking steps to better your overall well-being!


But what if you slipped a little, and the late-night post-bar pizza snack snuck back into your life this weekend…no? Just me? 

Wherever we are on our fitness journey there is always room for improvement. That’s where former CrossFit Games competitor and Men’s Health contributing writer Marcus Filly comes in. Filly recently published a column, accompanied by a video, entitled How To Make Simple Stuff Hard.


A proponent of functional bodybuilding Filly, “has some news for you: you’re not above the basics.” The video “takes some of the most basic strength exercises to the next level of difficulty and intensity by making simple adjustments.” According to functional bodybuilding (FBB) is,

“a style of training that is taking the internet by force. It combines the ideology of functional fitness with the principles of bodybuilding, creating a type of training that is great for those who want to be prepared for their daily life and look good doing it.”

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Personal trainer Filly talking to Men’s Health said, 


“My goal today is to show you how you can make the simplest stuff that much more demanding for yourself. There are several variables [levers] inside of training that can manipulate to increase the difficulty and intensity of even the simplest exercises.”

Making the simple stuff harder consists of manipulating four different factors:



*Rest Periods


*Postion/Range of Motion


In the eighteen-minute video available on YouTube, Filly tells his viewers to

“join me as I tackle this four movement giant set that is relatively simple and straightforward and watch how I can change several variables each set to not only change the difficulty, ramp up the intensity but to match my needs for the day.”

Filly then gives viewers a tutorial of how to switch up the levers to maximize your workout. He does each exercise four times, starting with the basic movements, and then each time switching up a ‘lever’ in order to increase the difficulty of the exercise, 

“so that you who think I’m too good for pull ups, I’m too good for push ups, I need something more advanced. You will see you just switch up a couple key variables to make it plenty hard.”



Filly teaches us to move – slower on the way down, faster on the way up. The four exercises he models are pull-ups, chest press, push-ups, and a chest row with rings. 


Filly suggests sticking to a STRICT thirty-second rest in between each set. (Mine is 45 seconds and that seems quick, will try to knock it down to thirty tomorrow!)



For the pullups, Filly added a weight belt and a weight vest for the ring rows.  


Filly adjusts his body position for all four exercises, raising his feet for the push-ups and chest press, moving his feet forward, and elevating them on the ring row. 


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Filly is quick to tell viewers,


“You don’t need have to progress to the next level on every set. The important thing is to find when is it challenging in that 8 or 9 out of 10 range, when you think of maximum effort. Ten being the maximum level.”

If you want to learn more about functional bodybuilding and “how to make simple stuff hard”, here is the full video.

Sources: Mens Health

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