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Simple Strength For CrossFitters

Published 3rd November 2015

What you need too know

The following programme and associated spreadsheet is designed to increase overall strength alongside regular CrossFit Class training. The programme is suitable for:

  • Individuals with 6 months + CrossFit experience
  • Individuals who have competency and safety in the associated exercises


The programme consists of 3 sessions per week and each session should take around 45 minutes.


Each session combines two different compound barbell exercises. We use a total of 6 different exercises in total - Deadlift, Bench Press, Back Squat, Power Clean, Front Squat, Shoulder Press.


You will need good estimates of your rep maximums in each exercise.


Individuals can expect to make linear strength gains on all lifts over a period of 3-6 months.


Having a full range of movement and quality technique in each of the exercises will enable faster progress.


To get the most out of the programme, we strongly recommend booking a session with a coach before you start to ensure you are performing the exercises correctly, using appropriate loads and implementing it appropriately into your current training regime.


Simple Strength For CrossFitters - The Programme

Download the Simple Strength For CrossFitters programme via Dropbox here. Print it off and use it alongside the exercise notes in this article to get the most out of the programme.


Start by entering your 1RM for each of the exercises on the spreadsheet. Be conservative. If you use numbers from 'ugly' maxes you're likely to start the programme too heavy and plateau early. If you don't have a 1RM but you have another recent rep max (e.g. you know your 5RM) you can easily work out a good estimate of your 1RM using this one rep max calculator. If you don't have a rep max in a certain exercise then you need to find one before starting the programme. Speak to a coach who can advise on how best to do this and make sure this is an appropriate programme for you to follow.


Once you have entered your 1RM numbers the spreadsheet will work out all of your starting weights for the first 2 cycles (6 weeks). If you are using an application that doesn't allow you to input data you can save the documnet to upload elsewhere or print the spreadsheet off and work your numbers out yourself from the percentages given. All weights are rounded down to the nearest load you can accommodate on a barbell assuming 1.25kg are the smallest plates available. If you're working off accurate max numbers all your lifts on your first cycle will be manageable. Don't be tempted to increase the prescribed load. The programme will do that for you in subsequent weeks.


You're ready to get started


The programme works in cycles of 3 weeks. Each week consists of 3 sessions. Each session is made up of 2 different Barbell exercises. The 3 sessions through the week are listed as Monday/Wednesday/Friday. This is ideal but can be changed to fit in with your training schedule. Try not to perform sessions on consecutive days where possible.

Session 1 - Deadlift and Bench Press

Session 2 - Back Squat and Power Clean

Session 3 - Front Squat and Shoulder Press


Once you complete the first cycle, continue straight through into Cycle 2 (Weeks 4-6). Cycle 2 assumes an additional 5kg on your 1RM for Deadlift and Squat numbers from Cycle 1 and an additional 2.5kg your 1RM for Bench, Power Clean and Shoulder Press numbers from Cycle 1. Using your new projected 1RM numbers you can now use the assigned percentages to work out your prescribed loads for Cycle 2.


You should be able to continue with this process and make your prescribed loads for at least 4 cycles (12 weeks) but usually a lot more.


If you reach a stage where you can longer complete the required sets and reps at the prescribed load, continue working through the programme making as many sets as possible. For the next cycle do not increase your projected 1RM for any exercise where you failed to make all sets and reps at your prescribed load. You should still increase your projected 1RM for exercises where you hit all prescribed loads.




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