The off season is officially over, and it’s time to get back to some serious Crossfit training.  Don’t make the mistake of working out without a well thought out plan.  This is a 6 week high volume plan, designed to increase muscle mass, and muscular endurance, two deficiencies common in almost all crossfitters.

This is the first part the 12 week program.  After completing these 6 weeks you will be more muscular, and your ability to handle heavy weights for high reps will be at an all time high.

I like many crossfitters out there have kind of just been doing a few wods, and relaxing after the crossfit open.  It’s good to relax in the off season, and try new things, as well as allowing your body to recover from the niggling aches and pains that accumulate over the year.

That time is over now.  We need to get back to serious training, if we are to increase our fitness in the coming year.  Before we get into the details of this 6 week block, that will kick off our training year, lets first discuss what a training year should look like for those that really want to peak for the open.

The Yearly Training Plan 

The plan we will be talking about is very similar to what many strength and conditioning athletes do for their long range plans.  This is a year long cycle that prioritizes certain aspects of training, depending on how close we are to the crossfit open.

Crossfit Yearly Training Plan
Crossfit Yearly Training Plan

Phase 1 

The first phase of training is the hypertrophy/muscular endurance training phase.  This is key for those looking to maximize their performance for a variety of reasons.  First, increasing muscular size is important to increasing strength, which is a key predictor of crossfit performance.

Several exercises that appear in this phase are very grip intensive.  I recommend getting some lifting straps, such as these Harbinger padded straps (Amazon Affiliate Link).

These are not like olympic lifting straps, they will lock into the knurling on the bar, and allow you to hold very heavy loads on deadlifts, and rowing movements.  I’ve had a pair for about 14 years, and they are very durable.

Phase 2 

Here we will focus on getting stronger in both power lifting and olympic lifting, as well as our gymnastics strength.  We will also start to incorporate some cardio vascular training.

This block is fairly long because we need to give the body time to generate new tissues that will augment our performance later on in the season.  An example of this is when you perform cardio vascular training over several months, your body will actually generate new blood vessels, and capillaries, to fuel your muscles.

Phase 3

Here we work to maintain our strength gains, and shift our focus to anaerobic capacity.  Really this means that we will practice working above the level where our circulatory system can sustain, for long durations.

We will be working on the bodies ability to clear cellular waste products from the cells quickly, allowing a high output rate.  Those new blood vessels will be key to this process.

We will also add in specific skill work in areas that we are deficient in.  This will be variable, but for almost all crossfitters it will include: olympic lifts, and higher skill gymnastics like, muscle ups and chest to bar pull ups.

Phase 4

This is our competition phase.  Here we will do only enough strength work to maintain our hard won gains from the previous months.  The only thing that we will continue to work on is our anaerobic capacity.  The focus here is the crossfit open.

Phase 5 

This is the off season which is a time to recover, and relax a bit.  I always encourage my athletes to try some new events, a spartan race, or mountain biking, or hiking.  Anything active is fine.

If you like getting free crossfit programming, and want to get more, throw your email in on the right to get the latest articles sent directly to you.  If you don’t, I will assume that you don’t even lift bro.

Phase 1: The First 6 Weeks 

Now that we know what we will be doing for the year, we can get into the details of the day to day for phase 1.

Week 1

Phase 1: Week 1
Phase 1: Week 1

You will notice that the strength work is always two paired movements that don’t interfere with each other.  This is by design, because it allows us to work those same muscle groups multiple times each week, allowing for a high total volume.  This is also the easiest week.  It only gets harder.

The WODs are also designed not to interfere with the strength, and hypertrophy work.  The WODs are obviously still important, but the main goal of this phase is to increase muscular size, and muscular endurance.

Week 2

Phase 1: Week 2 Crossfit Plan
Phase 1: Week 2 Crossfit Plan

This week increases the volume from 4×8 to 4×10.  We’ll continue with our Wednesday sprint workouts as well.  These are really thrown in there because I find that most crossfitters don’t ever run at this pace, and it is a real deficit in their training.  Yeah, it won’t show up in the open, but you can’t really say your in shape if you can’t sprint at a decent speed.

Week 3

Phase 1: Week 3 Crossfit Plan
Phase 1: Week 3 Crossfit Plan

This is the highest volume week until we switch programming next week to a different hypertrophy method.  You will also notice that many of the WODs are a bit longer this week than the previous weeks.  This allows you to get a little more volume in than you would otherwise be able to get.

Week 4

Crossfit Plan: Phase 1 Week 4
Crossfit Plan: Phase 1 Week 4

You will notice that while we have maintained the same movements, we have changed the execution and reps.  The goal here is to achieve a 3 sec eccentric, or lowering phase, for the specified movements.

Lowering a weight increases the time under tension for the movement, which is one key factor to increasing muscle mass.  The goal here is good form, and a true 3 second lowering phase.  Don’t cheat on these, and don’t be afraid to go a bit lighter to make sure you are doing these moves correctly.

Week 5

Crossfit Plan: Phase 1, Week 5

You will notice that we’ve added more volume on the strength/hypertrophy work.  We’ve also added in some 50 meter sprints after the 100’s.  I caution you here not to go as fast as possible, as your hamstrings are probably not ready for that yet, and you could pull them.

Stick to RPE 8 (rate of perceived exertion 8 out of 10 effort) which generally means a hard effort, but not maximal.  You will also notice that there are some different WOD styles here than you have seen before.  The goal is to switch it up a bit, so you don’t get burnt out doing one type of WOD.

Week 6 

Crossfit Plan: Phase 1, Week 6
Crossfit Plan: Phase 1, Week 6

This is the final week for the first half of phase 1.  This is also the final week for the controlled eccentric portion of the lift.  I’m sure you’re probably cursing my name, but don’t worry it gets worse in the coming weeks.

Final Thoughts 

You won’t find a plan like this anywhere else on the internet, and there are reasons for that.  Most crossfit coaches underestimate the need for hypertrophy and muscular endurance in their programing.  They see video’s and articles that show top level crossfitters hitting big lifts, and doing a lot of olympic lifting, but they don’t see the work that goes into hitting those big numbers.

Because I’ve taken the time to analyze these top level athletes, I can provide more effective programing, that will help you increase your performance.  One thing most coaches don’t understand is that the best crossfitters have reached their muscular limit.  This article shows you the science behind determining muscular potential. 

It is also well known that increasing muscle size carries over to increasing strength very well.  It has the added benefit of scaring the crap out of your neighbors, when you workout without a shirt on.  Give this program a shot, and feel free to post your times, questions, and results, in the comments section below

77 COMMENTS

    • Yeah, ideally they should be the heaviest weight you can manage for all 4 sets. But, if you’re having an off day you can go down for a set if you need, and conversely if you feel great you can increase. The goal is the most weight total.

  1. To what press movement are you referring on Tuesdays? Leg press? Shoulder press?
    Thanks for this routine. Am doing it now.
    Scott

    • Press refers to standing strict press for your shoulders. Glad you like it, feel free to post your results in the comments.

    • Yeah I’m going to put it all together once I finish the full 12 weeks. I’ll probably email it out, so sign up for the email list if you haven’t already, and I’ll get it to you.

    • Strict press is pressing a bar from your shoulders to lock out with out any assistance from your legs. Shoulder to overhead means you can use your legs for assistance. Google Push jerk or push press and that should demo the difference. Death by anything means you do 1 rep on the first minute, 2 on the second, 3 on the third, until you can’t make the reps in the minute.

  2. My coach and I just started this on Monday and we are loving it! Quick questions- for Friday’s dumbbell press- is this a shoulder press or a chest press? We did shoulder press today but wanted to clarify for future reference. Also, for dumbbell work (e.g. Bent over rows) should we assume all of this is to be done on both sides unless noted as single-arm? Lastly, in the 4×8- should we be doing all sets AHAP or building? Thanks again- we really look forward to continuing with your programming and tracking our results- those sprints were no joke! 🙂

    • 1. Dumbbell press is a shoulder press you are correct.
      2. All dumbbell work is for both arms. So 4×8 dumbbell row is four sets left, four set right.
      3. Generally your sets should be the same weight for AHAP, but if you find you can do more, add the weight!

      Feel free to post your experiences and results on the comments section. Good luck.

  3. Most of this can be done at home with minimal equipment. The rower however is the only thing that’s bigger.

    What’s your recommended sub for the calorie rows?

    • If you are constrained on equipment then you can sub double under, or burpees for calories. I generally do 1 burpee = 1 cal , or 3 double under = 1 cal .

    • What ever you schedule allows. If you can spread it out through the day you’ll probably get a little more out of it, but I do them together. Your preference.

    • What ever you schedule allows. I do them together, but spacing them out will probably allow you to go harder on the WOD.

  4. This is a great program that is a perfect fit for me. I’ve been looking for something other than main site WOD’s and I really like what has been put together here.
    Thanks Jake!

    • Thanks for the kind words. It’s nice to know that my hard work is appreciated. Keep a lookout for the next 6 weeks which will be coming out in a week or two.

    • Marcelo, I’d say that you could do one of two things. Substitute exercise for something else, say pull ups or hand stand push ups with a deficit. Or you could increase reps to make it more challenging.

          • For Phase 2? … Actually, if I may ask, I’m really trying to learn how to create/program met-cons into my current training program (hypertrophy/strength focused) and have found some HIIT workouts to greatly help me improve my recovery times and lifts. Your program has helped with some idea on how to implement met-cons. I know it has to do with energy-systems but I am still new to it; understanding how to set up exercises that are fun (duration, intensity, rest periods, etc.) and where to program them into my program. I value met-cons for its boost in energy, time efficiency, and fat loss (currently trying to do).

          • When programming you first need to determine your overall goal. Is it strength, fat loss, hypertrophy etc? Because while they are not mutually exclusive it is exponentially more difficult to program for more than one. My method requires that you pick your goal and put the majority of your effort towards that, while only putting enough effort into your other areas of fitness to maintain them. An example of this is might be a planning for strength gains in the squat. I’ll for sure be squatting multiple times per week, and metcons will be for maintenance. I will also focus on other lifts that really pair well with squat on non squatting days. SO that might be squat 3 days a week, 4 metcons a week, and on non squat days work on pressing strength. I’m actually in the process of writting an book covering programming in detail so look out for that in a few months. Otherwise shoot me any questions you have.

  5. Is week 5 on Thursday an EMOM or an AMRAP with the 1,1,2,2,3,3…
    Loving the program and the strength building is on point. Hamstrings and quads are shot after sprints though. Can’t wait for the next cycle.

    • It’s an EMOM increasing by 1 rep for each on the minute. You do 1 of each on the first, 2 of each on the second, till you can’t finish. Glad you like the programming!

  6. Just seeing this program for the first time…looks great! Did the file (for printing) ever get emailed? (I just signed up today.)

  7. Hi as an older man, 60 years old, I have been working out for a very long time and enjoy trying cross fits workout but as a person with knee problem and such how should I scale this for my self and not over do it. hope I make sense as I do sometime get too over in to a work out and plans and do it too much as well, I am now just doing mostly things or weight base on 60 – 70% of my 3 reps max and not 1 reps max, thank for the information on here enjoy reading your stuffs.

    • There are a couple of things I could recommend. First I’d change the sprint intervals to either airdyne or row. Basically do 15 seconds for 100m sprints and 10 seconds for the 50’s. This should be much easier on the joints and muscle tissue while giving you the same benefit as running sprints. I would also take it easy on the squats depending on how the knee is feeling. If you want you could substitute moves such as glute bridges, or bulgarian split squats in, which I’ve found are easier on the knees and still great for the legs. Let me know if you have other questions that I can help with.

      • Thank you for your reply. I have been rowing in place of running and a good hard row is a great replacement and hard breather as well. I do front squat when I can, as I don’t have cartilage pad in left knee and crack knee cap as welll. but basely I just keep my self aware of how much weight and how my forms is when using free weight which I loved and Olympic lifts are my fav’s work outs. thanks for your programs and insight as well. looking forward to more . thank you

  8. The Tabata WOD for Friday on week one. How long would the tabata be mate ? 20 on 10 off for 4 minutes?
    So glad I found this Mate..
    Great site you got going here with some very interesting stuff…

    • The WOD would be 20 sec on 10sec of for 4 min total on the first. Then rest two minutes and repeat for the second movement. Glad you like it. Good luck!

  9. This looks like a great 12 week plan which I intend to start next week. One question i have is I travel quite a bit and don’t always have facilities or time to work out. If I miss a day (or even more) during a week, is it best to repeat the week again or move forward? I would assume it’s better to repeat the week again to get the most benefits out of the plan. I’d be interested on your thoughts.

    • I would treat the programing sequentially in your case. There are a total of 60 workouts in this 12 week plan. I recommend just doing them in order, and if you miss a few days just pick up with the next workout. It’ll take longer than 12 weeks but you’ll get the most out of it that way.

  10. I am going to use this with my athletes in our box for our next 6 week phase. I’ll let you know how it goes. I love this. I have a powerlifting and bodybuilding background that pre-dates Crossfit so I definitely see the value in hypertrophy phases and have implemented this kind of work from day 1 with my athletes. So many athletes just need to add some quality muscle. This looks really well put together. Thanks!

    • Great deal man. I have a similar background prior to crossfit and so far our gym has had a ton of PR’s after this cycle. I think you guys will really like it.

  11. Thanks for taking the time to drop your knowledge. If I did regular WODs at times in addition to this, would that be counterproductive?

    • If you find that you can tolerate the additional volume there’s no reason why you can’t do more. Just be wary of over training. Good luck!

  12. Hi ! Great work there, thanks ! But i have a question for you. For the dumbell press, are we supposed to separate sets between left and right arm or can we work both arms at the same time and do only 4 sets in total ?

  13. How would you recommend scaling metcons? Would you suggest doing some workouts rx and scale others that are too heavy or just keep a certain percentage and scale every workout throughout the program?
    Thanks for a great free program!

    • If you can do the workout RX with good technique then that’s where you need to be. If you need to scale do so only to complete the workout as designed. I.e if most folks who go RX would be able to do like 5 reps on a move before they break, you need to pick a weight that allows you to do the same. If you have any specific WOD’s that you need help with let me know.

      • So my husband and I started the program this week.
        Monday, for example, the 10min AMRAP we used 95/65lbs and got 4 rounds +17 (banded ring dips) and 4 rounds+9 reps (regular ring dips). Should we have used the prescribed weight and just gotten less rounds?
        Tomorrow, 14min AMRAP for the hang power snatch we’re also thinking 95/65 or should we go rx 115/85 and just fight through it even if that means we may only get 2 rounds?
        Also, is there a certain prerequisite strength that you based this program on (specifically the metcons since they have prescribed weights) ?

        • Those scales sound appropriate. It’s hard to say without seeing you do them, but you’re right in there with the amount of total reps you should be getting. You’ll know if it’s too heavy during the wod if your aren’t breathing very hard, because you are taking extended rest due to heavy weight. There’s no strength requirement, you just should do the AHAP’s as heavy as you can with good form, or at prescribed percentage. Any other questions send them my way.

  14. Hey Jake,

    Quick Question:

    Do you program 5 days in a row for a reason ?
    or is it okay to stick with 3 days work 1 active recovery day 2 days work 1 rest day ?

    Thanks for the program and your reply !

    Gaele
    the Netherlands

    • Hi Gaele,

      I program 5 days in row more for simplicity, not to mean that you must only do it this way. If you like 3/1 then 2/1 do it. I think thats a great way to do it. A lot of times I’ll just take a rest day when I need, but I’ve been doing this for about 10 years and have a pretty good feel for that. Basically do the workouts in order, but you don’t have to do 5 on 2 off. Let me know if you have any other questions. You’re also the first commenter from Netherlands!

  15. Great programm,

    I had the same question as grace. This programm is almost similiar to CF Football but of course with another focus. Unfortunately CFF is replaced by a paid programming schedule.
    I was a bit worried about the 5days in a row but I will give it a try in a 3/1 2/1 system.

    Greetings from germany

    • First German Comment! Nice. It’s almost always more important to do all the work in a way that allows you to recovery than just jam through it. Give it a shot and let me know if you have any other questions.

  16. Hey Jake — one the two strength exercises, do you have recommended rest periods? Should these be down in alternating fashion, e.g., Bench, 60 s, DB Row, 60 s, Bench, etc.?

    • My athletes never really timed these rest periods. I think they probably were about a minute between as you say, but basically once your breathing comes back down to normal you are probably ready to go to the next movement.

  17. Just found your site and am looking forward to doing this program. Is there
    anything formatted for printing it out easier. Thanks!

  18. First of all, Hello from Portugal!

    Love your program! Unique on the internet for sure! I’m gonna do it, but i simply can’t see the week 4 plan image :/ Glad if you can help.

    Thanks for all the hard work and the trouble for putting this up for free.

  19. How much time would you allow for the strength portion given that we have an hour for our classes? We are looking at doing this at our box starting in January and we want to make sure we allow enough time for that portion. Thanks!

    • Sara,
      This is what Crossfit Annandale did this summer and we do 1 hour classes. It’s completely doable. I generally had athletes superset the strength work, take a small break then get ready for the WOD. Let me know if you have any issues.

      • How much time did you allocate to each section of class? We usually do warmup 10-12 min, strength/skill 15-20 and wod 15-20 so I just want to know for strength should I allocate more to that section than normal – like 20-25 min?

  20. We’re getting ready to start this program in the new year and am looking very forward to it! My only question is on the sprints what would be a good sub if we cant run outside due to the weather? We have assault bikes, rowers and ski ergs.

    Thanks.

    • Assault bikes are your best bet there. You’ll be able to get the same power output which is key. I would also recommend just sticking with the assault bike and not trying to run one week then bike etc.

LEAVE A REPLY