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Starter Program for Catalyst Athletics Online Workouts
Greg Everett

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The following is a 4-week training program that can be used to get started with the training program posted on this website. This is a good cycle to start with if you have not previously been doing the Olympic lifts frequently in your training. Ab work should be done every training day, along with any supplemental work, e.g. back extensions, upper body beach work, etc that you want to do. If you plan to do the conditioning portion of the program, add brief conditioning workouts 2 times per week after the workouts below. Keep them to about 5 minutes or less and generally stay away from leg-intensive exercises.

Please post questions and comments below to help other readers.


Week 1

Choose weights by feel. Use a single weight for all prescribed sets. Weights should be challenging this week, but comfortably below max efforts.

Monday

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 2+1
Clean Pull – 3 x 3
Back Squat – 3 x 5

Wednesday

Snatch – 5 x 2
Snatch Pull – 3 x 3
Front Squat – 3 x 3

Thursday

Power Snatch – 5 x 2
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 2(1+1)
Overhead Squat – 3 x 3

Saturday

Snatch – heavy single
Clean & Jerk – heavy single
Front Squat – heavy single


Week 2

Use same or similar weights as week 1 with this increased volume.

Monday

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 3+1
Clean Pull – 4 x 3
Back Squat – 5 x 5

Wednesday

Snatch – 5 x 3
Snatch Pull – 4 x 3
Front Squat – 5 x 3

Thursday

Power Snatch – 5 x 3
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 3(1+1)
Overhead Squat – 5 x 3

Saturday

Snatch – 6 x 1
Clean & Jerk – 6 x 1
Front Squat – 3 x 1



Week 3

Up the weights from last week as you’re able to.

Monday

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 1
Clean Pull – 3 x 3
Back Squat – 5 x 3

Tuesday

Power Snatch – 5 x 3
Hang Clean – 5 x 2

Wednesday

Snatch – 5 x 1
Snatch Pull – 3 x 3
Front Squat – 5 x 2

Thursday

Hang Snatch – 5 x 3
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 1+1
Overhead Squat – 5 x 1

Saturday

Snatch – heavy single
Clean & Jerk – heavy single
Front Squat – heavy single


Week 4

Up the weights from last week as you’re able to.

Monday

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 1
Clean Pull – 3 x 2
Back Squat – 5 x 2

Tuesday

Power Snatch – 5 x 2
Power Clean – 5 x 2

Wednesday

Snatch – 5 x 1
Snatch Pull – 3 x 2
Front Squat – 3 x 2

Thursday

Hang Snatch – 5 x 2
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 4 x 1+1
Overhead Squat – 3 x 1

Saturday

Snatch – heavy single
Clean & Jerk – heavy single
Front Squat – heavy single


Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the national-medalist Catalyst Athletics weightlifting team, publisher of The Performance Menu, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, and director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

More from Greg Everett

Catalyst Athletics   Performance Menu






190 Comments
Robert 2012-05-21
Coach, thanks for posting this. Could you clarify what exactly should be done for the "+" prescriptions (2+1, 2(1+1), 1+1, etc.)? Thank you.
Greg Everett 2012-05-21
Those numbers represent, in order, the exercises in the set. For example, clean and jerk 2+1 means 2 cleans followed by 1 jerk each set. 2(1+1) for CJ would mean each set is clean, jerk, clean, jerk - 1 of each but 2 times through.
Jared ray 2012-05-21
Looks great, coach!! Just to make sure, when you say "5x3", do you mean 5 sets of 3 reps? That's always confused me
Greg Everett 2012-05-21
Jared - Yes, 5 x 3 is 5 sets of 3 reps.
Danny 2012-05-21
thanks for posting. Yes 5x3 means 5 sets of 3 reps. You may also see it written 225x3x5. It means the exact same thing but it includes the load. That confuses a lot people
Matt 2012-05-21
Thanks Greg! Do you consider Pull ups to be "beach work" or supplemental? For a super heavyweight, If I can knock out 5-7 strict pull ups, should that be a daily, 2x weekly, or never supplemental activity? Maybe its worth generalizing that once a lifter can do "X" pull ups, its not that helpful to keep doing them, or do pull ups not correlate well to weightlifting...done w/ my ADD rambling semi question.
Greg Everett 2012-05-21
Matt - I like pull-ups - I'd say do them 2-3x/wk and just knock out maybe 30 total on one day, 40 total on another day, staying away from failed reps. They're only beach work if you do them as close-grip chins to focus on your guns.
Confused 2012-05-21
I hope I don't sound like a total noob when I say this, but ummm, where is the conditioning part of this program? Or is it something that we have to add in ourselves? Thanks for posting this up Greg.
Rikke 2012-05-21
Brilliant! I've tried some of your other workouts, but as I'm (obviously) new to o-lifting, I've had "issues" with the loads, as I 1) don't really know my 1RMs, and 2) my technique (on full lifts) still lacks so much that the prescribed loading on fragment exercises doesn't really feel challenging enough. Will try to stick with this one and get my lifts better developed! Confused: I imagine you should manage the conditioning stuff, yourself ;)
Greg Everett 2012-05-21
Confused - In the intro, I mean the conditioning portion of the site workouts, not this program. For this program, you need to cook up your own.
Trapp 2012-05-22
When you say use the same weight, do you mean for the day or for the week? Thanks
Billy 2012-05-23
I want to do this routine plus Mainpage CrossFit to get in some conditioning. I am also going to be doing some running for an upcoming half marathon and I have BJJ practice 4 thimes a week. Should I run it as written or scale it back some? Thanks!
Greg Everett 2012-05-23
Trapp - Use the same weight for all sets of a given exercise, e.g. 5 sets of 3 snatch all at the same weight.
Greg Everett 2012-05-23
Billy - You're not going to make much progress. Way too much shit going on. Why don't you stick w BJJ and running for your conditioning, and this for your strength/power work? Why add CF on top of it?
Billy 2012-05-23
A lot of really strong guys I know do CrossFit...one of them has a 350# squat and cand deadlift almost 400#. I like your program because it doesn't have any bench...I used to bench a lot (225), but it's not very functional right?
Greg Everett 2012-05-23
Billy - Are they doing everything else you plan on doing in addition to CF? Is it the CF that made them strong, or the lifting weights that sometimes is done with CF that made them strong? Are 350/400# big lifts for strength athletes?
Leon 2012-05-24
Greg, Thanks for this and all the great info you put out for free.
Michael 2012-05-24
I love this program and am just about to go out for day 3. But I wonder if you could share some thoughts on someone doing the power snatch when the full snatch is still not a well-engrained movement pattern. I'm pretty new to the Oly lifts and I still feel like about 50% of the time even if I have the intent of doing a snatch, I end up catching it above parallel in a power position (it's not a flexibility issue, my OHS position is very comfortable at rock bottom). Would it be more helpful for someone like me to instead of training power snatches, just do more snatching in order to get the proper motor pattern down for catching it at the bottom?
Steve Pan 2012-05-24
Michael - You will be doing enough snatching and cleaning in the program that you will be okay doing the power versions on the 3rd day. I believe the intent of that day is to have a slight back off during the week to recover a little for the Saturday workout. As for receiving the bar, you shouldn't be hitting rock bottom as you lock out the bar. You want to receive the bar at its highest point and use the rest of that squat to stabilize the bar over head. You will have to try to meet the bar lower and lower as the weights go up. You will have to dial back the pull slightly on your warm ups so you won't be power snatching the beginning but meeting the bar high and squatting under it should be okay. Just continue to work on pulling yourself  under into that squat.
Michael 2012-05-24
Thanks Steve, that's helpful advice
Greg Everett 2012-05-24
MIchael - What Steve said. If you're really struggling, instead of power snatches, you can do high or mid-hang snatches at the same weight you'd be doing power snatches with, focusing on pulling down under the bar. This will keep things light on those days as desired and let you work on one of your weaknesses. That said, even with power snatches, you should be focusing on pulling down hard and punching under the bar the same way you do in the snatch.
Billy 2012-05-26
Your are probably right...I'm doing too much. I will dial the CF back to only five days a week.
Mags 2012-05-28
5 metcons a week is still probably too much -- just my two cents. Greg -- am I to understand that on week two we do 5 sets of 3 cleans + 1 jerk on Monday? Thanks.
Greg Everett 2012-05-28
Mags - Yes, that's correct.
Alena 2012-05-28
Curious, I have programed back squats twice a week, and over head and front once a week. Are you front squatting twice a week to work on the cleans catching in the hole, or the explosiveness to catch and drive? Why not the heavy back squats twice a week? *Billy - still too much?
Greg Everett 2012-05-29
Alena - More front squats because typically people new to weightlifting don't have adequate quad and trunk strength to squat upright as they need to. It's meant to begin shifting their strength to be more in tune with weightlifting rather than more general lifting.
Austin 2012-06-21
Is the "heavy single" a 1RM?
Steve Pan 2012-06-21
The Heavy Single will be a 1RM for the day. It will be the heaviest you can go on that given day.
brandon green 2012-06-27
Nice article but i must be missing some things. Where's the conditioning program that goes with this ? Why abdominal work every day ? Brandon Green
Kathleen 2012-07-04
Hi, I've been using Starting Strength since Feb and was able to follow a pretty strict schedule with rest days. My job has changed and now am not able to schedule days off between workouts. I'm looking for a something new and was hoping to try this program. Is this program still good if I have to schedule differently? (ie 2 on, 2 off, 3 on)
Steve Pan 2012-07-04
Kathleen - The program is planned to give you rest at certain times. You should be able to adjust it as needed but I would say to listen to your body and see how you respond and adjust from there.
Guy 2012-07-05
Coach I have pain in my shoulders and drop the bar though the weight is low what can I do to improve?
Greg Everett 2012-07-06
Guy - You need to figure out what the problem with your shoulders is before you can figure out how to fix it.
Guy 2012-07-07
Ok than cause I used to shoulder press and work on shoulders no problem but ohs/snatchs hurt sometimes thanks you and guy is my name just saying
Oskar 2012-07-07
Hi yea like guy said I drop the weight at bottom though its light is it my flexability and wat could do I do
Amanda 2012-07-18
When there is more than 1 rep per set are you supposed to control it on the way down then reset and do another rep or can you drop it from the top (guiding it down, nothing crazy)?
Alyssa Sulay 2012-07-19
Amanda - When you are doing snatches, cleans and/or jerks dropping it from the top and guiding it down is ok.  With pulls and deadlifts you should control it on the way down.
Mel 2012-07-24
Greg, about to ramp on with the above program prior to following your main site program, from my oly garage set up in a small town by the beach in Australia. Quick Q - would it be too much to program in a sand dune hill sprint sessions once or twice a week in addition to some chins etc. I'm able to split sessions every training day when required. As per previous comments thank you for making your programming available online.
Greg Everett 2012-07-24
Mel - That should be fine.
Patrick 2012-07-24
Greg, I am new to your site, but like what I see. I am not so sure about what to do with supplemental exercises or beach work. How many exercises, what body groups, what should the set/rep range be? Also what is the benefit to doing this, is it strength or size?
Greg Everett 2012-07-26
Patrick - Add that stuff as needed. It may not be. Definitely ab/lower back work each training day. If you feel like you need to add some size to your upper body, add some lifts in that vein, 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps, 1-3 exercises. If you need lower body size, you can add some SLDL, good mornings, weighted lunges and/or add extra higher volume squat sets (e.g. 2-4 sets of 8-10 reps) after your normal squats.
Tyler 2012-07-26
Deadlifts - Do you believe they are necessary with this program? - How can you incorporate them into the program?
Jonathon 2012-08-03
Greg, I've just started weightlifting at 37 years old. I've had some coaching and plan to go back when finances and time permits. In the meantime, I have my garage set-up. Would you recommend for someone at my age- where learning curve is longer, recovery not as quick, to focus on just learning the snatch? Or is there a cross over benefit of working on the snatch and clean/jerk at the same time? If I should focus just on the snatch, how would you modify the starter program?
James 2012-08-04
Greg - Thanks for the "intro" program. I've recently decided to transition to the olympic lifts from the "power" lifts. At this point strength in the lifts is not a concern of mine, only technique. I'm having difficulty with the receiving position of the clean (finding the groove without shattering a clavicle). Any suggestions? Also, any suggestions regarding improving the 2nd/3rd pulls in the lifts (I conventional DL 465lbs at 148lbs, but snatch with 185 puts me to shame!). Thank you
Joe 2012-08-05
Hey Greg and thanks for this intro. I have been doing crossfit for quite some time but for the upcoming months I want to get a lot stronger so thinking about changing the workouts. Im thinking about following this program and then move over to the daily workouts. However I wonder if it is too much to also incorporate stronglift 5x5 program (one of the excercises per day)? Would that be beneficial or is it best to just stick to the workouts posted here for best strength gains?
Greg Everett 2012-08-06
Jonathan - You should be able to manage this as-is. No need to only work on one lift at a time.
Travis 2012-08-09
Thanks for all of this great information Greg. I was wondering, do you think it is beneficial/necessary for a novice weightlifter who has never done Olympic lifts before, to focus on building strength with basic compound lifts (ie. Squats, Presses, Deadlifts) prior to attempting this starter program?
Jamie 2012-08-13
What would you say the general rest period between sets is? Particularly on the 5x1 etc. Program looks great i'm excited to start tomorrow.
Steve Pan 2012-08-13
Jamie - You should rest at least 2 minutes between sets or until you feel fresh enough to take the next lift. Try not to go overboard and focus on making every lift good.
Greg Everett 2012-08-15
Travis - It's good to have a reasonable base with that stuff but there's no magic threshold you need to reach. You'll be squatting and puling anyway so it's not as if you won't be doing strength work.
Anton Viberg 2012-08-16
Hey! First; thanks for the great routine for us beginners and second, what does Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 2(1+1) mean? I'm curious about the (1+1)
Alyssa Sulay 2012-08-16
Anton - The 1+1 means that you do 1 power clean + 1 power jerk. So when it says 5X2 (1+1) it just means to do 5 sets of 1 power clean + 1 Power Jerk at your working weight.
Johnny 2012-08-21
Thanks for this. I have followed some of your programs and have worked up to a body weight snatch at 185 and a clean and jerk to 255. Would you say that I am still a beginner and can I use this template but go by percentages or stay with it as is. I want to start over and focus strictly on form but not go to fancy adding lifts. I currently only snatch,fs,squat,snatch from the hip, clean and jerk, jerk for the hip. Thanks for any input. Also I tend to dive on all my lifts and it drives me crazy. My power snatch is pushing 225 and I don't think it should be like that.
Greg Everett 2012-08-24
Johnny - Yes I'd still consider you a beginner. You can use this template as-is, no %s needed. You're better off going by feel at this stage anyway. Just be careful with pulls not to go too heavy - correct posture, balance and speed.
Johnny 2012-08-25
Thanks Greg for the response
James S. 2012-08-27
Just wanted to say thanks for posting this great starter program. After leaving CrossFit programming to start your Oly cycles I'm amazed at the gains that can be made when you slow things down. I'm itching to finish this last week up and get going with the Strength by Feel cycle. Thanks!
Miguel 2012-08-28
From Spain, thanks for the article.
Shawn 2012-09-06
Coach, thanks for the programming! I've CFing since December with some exposure to oly lifts, can I jump right into the main programming or sould I run a month of intro to tighen up technique? If i'm having difficulty with a movement should I post video in comments or the forum portion of the site? Cheers! Shawn
Steve Pan 2012-09-06
Shawn - It would be good to run through this starter program before you jump into the main programing. Posting in the forum would also be the best way to get some feedback on your lifts.
Tim 2012-09-08
Hey, just completed Week 1 of this program, and have to tell you I'm loving it so far. I've been a CrossFit athlete and coach for 3 years or so now and have been constantly frustrated by my plateau in Oly lifting. Already noticed a huge difference just by shifting focus onto Oly lifting and fitting CF metcons around my lifting. PR's on both lifts already at the end of week 1 (76kg snatch 94kg c&j.) had plenty more in the tank but trying to be patient and stick to a plan. Looking forward to posting some BIG pr's soon :) 1 question... can i post videos for some online coaching?
Steve Pan 2012-09-08
Tim - I would suggest posting videos in the forum to get feedback on your lifts.
Sean 2012-09-24
Hey Coach, I started doing Oly style couple of month ago, I have a severe pain in my right elbow everytime I try to Lock! I been off gym of 5 days now trying to fix it, any tips or hints? (I iced, I flossed, I stretched, I took Ibuprofen, there's still a slight pain if I squeeze my triceps near the elbow)
Greg Everett 2012-09-24
Sean - See a good chiro or manual therapist and get it fixed right.
Gregory L. Johnson 2012-10-19
When moving from one cycle to the next should there be a rest week. After completing the Starter cycle can I just start the Strength by Feel cycle? And after that cycle would I just start another cycle or rest a week first?
Steve Pan 2012-10-22
Gregory - You should be able to start another cycle if you feel good. If you are feeling a little beat up you can take a transition week and then get started on the next cycle.
Zach 2012-10-25
Coach, thanks for posting this! I'm looking forward to following your program. I'm an exercise science major, hoping to work in the strength and conditioning field at the collegiate level. The Olympic lifts are certainly something I need to get dialed in, and this program looks great. Just a few questions. I need to continue to work on my upper body due to my sport (Javelin), both anterior and posterior. What days would you recommend inserting bench, rows, pullovers? Or is that something I should play by feel? Would you recommend any supplemental hamstring work like RDL variations or physio ball hamcurls? And last, what typically makes up your core routine? I usually will do a medball/KB core, but I'm always interested in hear what other people are doing. Thanks a lot!
Greg Everett 2012-10-26
zach - Tuesdays/Thursdays for that stuff usually, but itf it's really heavy, it may be better on Mon/Wed/Sat. Same w hamstring work. Core work for us is usually some heavy back work like SLDL, RDL or good mornings, lighter back work like back extensions / hypers, and a variety of ab work from light high-volume stuff like sit-ups, crunches, reverse crunches, jacknives, V-ups etc, plank varieties, and heavy stuff like weighted sit-ups. I typically have people do something different every day.
Michelle 2012-11-01
This says its a good program for people who have not done much lifting before. What's a good "next program up" from this? The daily programming?
Michelle 2012-11-01
Also, for core work, how much would be done? One from each heavy back, light back and situp variety? 3 sets of 10-12 reps ish?
Steve Pan 2012-11-01
Michelle - The next program from this would be to start on week one of one of the daily cycles. You can take a look at the cycles from the Workouts tab. Core work is usually programmed in, however you may add in abs and back work if it is not listed and if it doesn't interefere with your recovery.
Zach 2012-11-02
Coach, just curious when you say heavy singles how many sets should you do to lead up to your 1RM for the day, and then once you reach that RM how many sets of that RM should you do? Thanks.
Zach 2012-11-02
^EDIT: Answered my first question, by reading your Program Help & Info page. Last question still remains though, how many sets once we reach that RM for the day should we do? Thanks.
Steve Pan 2012-11-02
Zach - Once you hit your RM that will be your last set for that exercise.
Jason 2012-11-21
I just lifted in my first competition last week (100 + 110 for a 210 total). It was a blast, but it's time to add some structure to my training so I am starting this. With conditioning I have a few options at home. Between a skipping rope, kettle bell (60lb) and a c2 rower, I have a number of ways to get my heart rate up, but I'm wondering if the rower is going to be too leg intensive to go along with this program. I don't usually go too long (2000m at the most) or I do 500m intervals. Thanks!
Shawn Furbish 2012-11-25
I just finished week one of the starter program, well kind of. I still cant go heavy over head due to a shoulder impingment issue which I'm nursing back to healthy. So on heavy single day I did heavy front squat, heavy dead and some scap work. Any thoughts on modifications that would be beneficail to the program. I was thinking maybe Pendaly rows and good mornings but wasn't really sure on rep scheme. Thanks!
Shawn Furbish 2012-11-25
I think it will look like heavy single clean, no jerk, snatch grip heavy dead and heavy front squat. Just needed to think logicly for a moment.Thanks
Grant O'Brien 2013-01-06
Two questions 1) when performing an exercise is the %weight used of the main movement, eg - power clean & power jerk 80%, is the 80% of maximum clean and jerk? - overhead squat 70%, is this 70% of maximum snatch - or do we need to know our 1RM for each exercise? 2) after a cycle is there a recommended time off and assessment of strength gains or staright into the next cycle? Thanks
Steve Pan 2013-01-07
Grant - 1. The percentages are always off of your best in that movement. So 65% power clean is off of your best power clean. Pulls will be off of your best snatch or clean. % OHS will be off of your best OHS. 2. You can transition into a new cycle after you finish a cycle. If you are feeling especially beat up, you can take an extra light week in between cycles.
Clancy 2013-01-25
I apologize if this queation was answered previously, but I was wondering if after week 4, does one take a deload week and then start up with week 1 again? Also, I appreciate y'all putting this program up, it has been super helpful!
Steve Pan 2013-01-25
Clancy - If you are feeling pretty beat up after you can take a transition week, if you are feeling okay you can go right into the next cycle of your choice.
Michael 2013-01-25
I heard power versions shouldn't be done unless you've learned how to properly pull under first, else you pick up the bad habit of overpulling. So, considering this, if a beginner wants to do this program, should he do it as is with the power movements in them or should it be modified? Any opinions on this?
Michael 2013-01-27
nvm, found the answer above
Joanna 2013-01-30
What is the difference between the Clean Pull and the Snatch Pull? I've reviewed the videos in the exercise section and am having trouble understanding what the difference is and what the focus of each should be.
Steve Pan 2013-01-30
Joanna - The snatch pull will be a pull with the hands in a snatch width grip. The clean pull will be a pull with a clean width grip. The focus for each will be reinforcing good pull positions in each and strengthing the back and legs for the pull.
Joanna 2013-01-31
Steve Pan Thanks, that really helped clarify not only the pulls, but also the grip width for the snatch and the clean. Awesome website and the videos are great for viewing the exercises. I'm overseas without access to a coach/trainer, but with access to a gym and the information, workouts, and exercises really help.
Richard 2013-02-01
Steve, Going off of Joanna's query, should the pulls be done with loads greater than our 1RMs of the full lifts or sub maximal?
Steve Pan 2013-02-01
Richard - It will depend on the athlete. Some people will be able to handle higher loads for the pulls if their 1rm lifts are technique or mobility limited. You will have to feel it out, but don't push it so hard that it puts you in a hole for the rest of the week.
Natalie 2013-02-24
I like this program. I don't see any rest days, but maybe we are to take a day off if/when our body needs it? I normally lift 4 days per week with short conditioning afterward then one longer conditioning-only day and rest 2 days per week (Wed and Sun). How often do you recommend taking rest days with your program?
Natalie 2013-02-24
Nevermind, I see now you left Fridays off the list, so I assume that is the only rest day. So only one day off? Is this also how your more advanced athletes schedule days off as well? I have found in the past that I tend to fatigue and not perform at my best without making myself take my 2 rest days. Any advice?
Steve Pan 2013-02-26
Natalie - This program has Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday off. You should be okay taking those rest days. You will always have to feel out if you are too beat up and adjust accordingly.
Sean V 2013-02-26
Is there a general rule if how much of my 1RM I should use starting with this program and then how much to increase as I go along. Sorry if this has been answered I just couldn't find it.
Steve Pan 2013-02-27
Sean - You will have to feel out weights as you go through this program. Don't choose weights where you will fail, but make the sets challenging and focus on improving your technique in the olympic lifts.
Sean V 2013-02-28
Steve Thanks. I definitely need to work on my technique.
Alex 2013-03-06
Couple of Q&A: 1.) Do I warm up to the weight that I am going to use for all the sets or do I just pick a weight go with it? Example 5 x 2 really pertains to the working weight right? 2.) Whenever you prescribed more than 1 rep are these "touch n go" or "drop and reload"? Example Snatch 5 x 2.... is a weight that I can do twice touch and go? 3.) Snatch and Cleans we only squat them both when the weight is heavy forcing us down? Otherwise we catch in a power o0r whatever it takes to do it. Unless specifies squat these are by feel right? Not every Clean or Snatch has to have squat right? Example Today I did Snatch the weight I chose was heavy for a squat snatch but I was able to power snatch was this wrong? Thanks.
Steve Pan 2013-03-08
Alex - 1. You should always warm up to the working sets on your exercises and as you transition to the next exercises in workouts. The 5x2 are the working sets. 2. You should reset on each rep to make every rep good off of the ground. We don't want to bounce the weights and get a poor starting position as a result. You will reset your starting position and take the rep from a dead stop each time. 3. You should squat on every rep, even if you receive the bar high you will take the squat to work on the tempo and the sequence of the lifts.
Mathias 2013-03-18
Hi i found this page from sweden when looking to learn the olympic lifts. Im gonna start this beginner routine but i have two question. 1) apart from doing an ab exercise every workout day, What kind of supplement workout do you recommend for each workout day? 2) What does upper body beach work mean?
Teo 2013-03-19
Hi, I wanna try this program but I would like to train 5 days also in the week 1 & 2. I'm already accustomed to train 5 days a week. Is it possibile to do this? What can I do in the added day? Thanks.
Steve Pan 2013-03-21
Mathias - The upper body beach work is any body building exercises you want to add. These would be good supplementary work too add, in addition to abs and back work (back extensions, reverse hypers). Teo - If you would like to try a 5 day a week workout you may check one of the cycles from the training cycles tab in the workouts section.
Marion 2013-03-27
My work schedule only permits for two, maybe three days of lifting per week. Would the program still be beneficial as expanded to possibly a 6-8 wk program?
Steve Pan 2013-03-27
Marion - You will have to temper expectations but instead of expanding the program possibly taking out the Thursday workout and adding the OHS work to another day might work.
Scott 2013-04-20
I am interested in starting this program, I just have a couple questions. I have recently just finished the Russian Squat Program, and have started the Masters Program with an added day in the middle of front squats, and I just I am considering just switching to your program. My best lifts are a 200 lbs clean and a 105 snatch. I have been trying to correct form and not go up to heavy especially on the snatch. My squat is around 335 for a double and 285 for a single for front squats. I have recently moved to a gym in town that just got a good set of Olympic weights, so I plan on doing the lifts more frequently. I plan on starting your program with a 95 snatch and a 125 clean and jerk, and then slowly progressing throughout the program, and really focusing on technique, while adding weight when it is programed. How does that sound? I appreciate the help.
Steve Pan 2013-04-22
Scott - This should be a good place to start, and then transition to one of the cycles from the Workouts Tab above.
Scott 2013-04-24
Thanks Steve. I also just joined to forums and uploaded a training video too. Check it out man, my name is Scott Keefer. I will be going through the workout tab to pick one that looks good for my background. Thanks
Matt 2013-05-06
Thanks for a great site! I have about 12 months of exposure to olympic lifting through CrossFit, but have found the high rep, low weight oly programming is geared more towards endurance/metcon conditioning than actual strength gains...which is frustrating and why I added a gym in my garage. Now my question. I still want to do CF 2-3 times per week but want to know if I can go more with this beginning cycle. My current plan is to do CF on the rest days, which is a huge change for me ( normally do 6X week). Is there something inherently wrong with doing a CF workout AND the beginning oly cycle on the same day? Would I be over stressing/taxing my body, endocrine system by doubling up? I get 5 different answers from 5 different people when I pose this question. Thanks for any suggestions.
Steve Pan 2013-05-06
Matt - To answer your question I will quote Greg from the Program Info section. "Many individuals ask if they can perform both our training and other training simultaneously. While we can’t predict everyone’s response to training, we can say with certainly that very few individuals will be able to handle such a workload for any considerable period of time without burning out completely. These workouts are designed to be a standalone program and as such are extremely demanding—attempting to do both is a recipe for overtraining and poor results. Just as importantly, combining multiple programs is a good indicator that you're trying to achieve conflicting goals at the same time—this never works well. If you can’t stand to commit to it entirely for at least one complete cycle, don’t do it at all"
Storm 2013-05-07
Hello I'm new here and I've been wondering what "beach work" means? Is it exercises like bench press?
Steve Pan 2013-05-07
Storm - Beach work is any body building work you want to add. This can be rows, presses or curls. Bench press is also acceptable.
Storm 2013-05-08
Thanks Steve!
Tom 2013-05-09
Hello, I don't enjoy doing the Split Jerk but like the Push Jerk and Push press. Can I use either of these to get the bar overhead where the program lists "Clean and Jerk"? Thanks.
Steve Pan 2013-05-09
Tom - I would suggest using split jerks if possible. The program will specify when to use push press and power jerks.
Tom 2013-05-10
Thank you Steve. Is there a suggested guide of how many sets you should take to get to your heavy single? And secondly, is a "Heavy single" different to a "Max Lift"? Much obliged.
Steve Pan 2013-05-10
Tom - You will have to feel out the warm ups on a heavy single depending on the day. You want to warm up and take bigger jumps earlier and smaller jumps as you approach your current 1RM. Heavy single will be different than a max as you will work up to the heaviest you can do for that day. There is more information on the program and notation here: catalystathletics.com/workouts/about.php
Tom 2013-05-12
Demoralising total fail. With overhead squats a)my arms bend when I'm at the lowest point and 2) my chest folds forward when I cannot keep posture when the bar goes down. Please help.. Should I stop snatches altogether until I perfect this exercise?
Steve Pan 2013-05-13
Tom - Keep working on your OHS. You can keep snatching, however I would suggest making sure you turn them over high with good posture and shoulder/arm position and ride them into the squat from there. Keep working on shoulder and hip mobility.
AJ 2013-05-14
Hey Steve/Greg Am now coming to end of Week4, really cool routine. Made progress and want to keep it going. Can I go back to week 1 of the routine (whilst starting week5) or would that be regressing? I'll use heavier weight than week 4. Or would you recommend I pick a different cycle. For your info if it helps I'm 30,5'9,lean 172lbs, still learning Oly lifts and training for strength/overall fitness.
Steve Pan 2013-05-15
AJ - You can run this cycle again with heavier weights if you are comfortable with it. The other option is to evaluate your needs and pick a cycle from the training cycles page found here: http://www.catalystathletics.com/workouts/cycles.php The 4-week leg strength block 1 is a popular one that people have had success with.
AJ 2013-05-17
Thanks again Steve, I can't get my head around the pulls (snatch or clean). The form feels weird for one, but secondly as it is like an abridged version of the full lift should we be using far more weight? I.e. 95kg clean pull when I 1RM clean 80kg? I know it's light, I've just started.
Steve Pan 2013-05-17
That is correct. Pulls are an abreviated version of the full lift to strengthen your posture and reinforce good positioning in the pulling portion of the lift.
Dave K 2013-05-18
Steve, Quick question about starter program for a triathlete/ runner. Should I go as is or limit days? Quick background. 90-2009- primarily endurance (s/b/r) and body weight strength. late 09 - began P90x and 2010 - CrossFit. Continued CrossFit at some good boxes and on my own. Came to realization that CF Chipper and Metcon WODs are counterproductive to s/b/r training and performance (I leverage some solid swim coaching, running based on a 3x week - FIRST's Run Less/Run Faster) and bike from local bike elites. I'm a strong believer in fundational strength and want to continue it! I blend in body strength/calisthenics during runs/swims/bikes. The challenge is finding a place to do it (CF boxes have the equipment but tend to fixate on the WODs w/out understanding cross purposes of "conditioning") - do have Y close by (no plate slamming, but really not trying for freaky max strength. Current 3 rep max 135 push press 185 back squat (was 45 when I began, years of running ) 255 deadlift 155 clean / power clean 110 snatch (have never felt comfortable with the "hop" snatch via Rippetoe) so building this slowly thank you for your work!!!
Steve Pan 2013-05-21
This program is designed to get you ramped up to going into the daily weightlifting cycles. The primary goal is to improve snatch and clean & jerk. It may apply to general stength, but you will have to temper your expectations of this program if you are also doing triathalon work in addition to the workouts. I would suggest considering your goals, and adjusting accordingly.
Curt F 2013-06-11
Steve, You have been a great source of help with other questions I have had. If you don't mine me asking another, I appreciate it. My schedule allows for training on M/T/Th/F/S. In looking at this program, and moving the Wed to my Tue with Wed off...am I looking at burn out or major conflict?
Steve Pan 2013-06-11
Curt - That should be okay to switch to. Make sure you get good rest on the Monday night so you are good for the snatches and front squats on the Tuesday workout.
Curt Fischer 2013-06-11
Actually, I thought about this during the day. I will make your Wed my monday. The work and rest days will be the same. Thanks again for the help.
Louis G 2013-06-17
What is the difference between snatch and power snatch?? In the monday and wednesgay workout, I start the exercices to the ground or to the hip?? Sorry for my english, I come from Quebec. :)
Steve Pan 2013-06-18
Louis - Power snatch you will lock the legs up above parallel. Snatch will include the full squat. You can find video examples in the exercise section above.
Jeff 2013-06-28
What do you reccomend after this program is complete for someone getting ready for their first weightlifting meet?
Greg Everett 2013-07-01
Jeff - For you, I would probably do a taper week something like this: Monday - Snatch and CJ up to 90% of your planned opener x 1 single each Cln pull - 90% x 2 x 2 Back squat - 85% x 2 Tuesday Snatch and CJ to 85% of opener x 1-2 singles Wednesday Snatch and CJ to 80% of opener x 1-4 singles Snatch pull - 90% x 2 x 2 Front Squat - 85% x 1 (or about what you want to open with in CJ) Thursday Snatch and CJ about 70% of opener for a few singles. You can also do power sn/cj on this day if you think you need some more rest. Friday Rest or very light sn/cj Saturday Meet If you think you need more rest, make Tuesday lighter and maybe just light powers.
Andrew 2013-07-12
Would you be at a loss if you dropped the heavy day (saturday), and proceeded with the others on a mon/wed/fri scheme? Sorry if answered already.
Steve Pan 2013-07-15
Andrew - I would suggest keeping the heavy day as the last day, and possibly moving some of the Thursday work that you would like to keep onto the other days.
Billy H. 2013-08-08
Hey Coach, I'm looking for which program would best suit me as an athlete looking to get into competitive lifting. I have been doing CrossFit for about 4 years and coaching for about 3 of those and have experience in Oly lifting, but still conisder myself a novice of an oly athlete and coach. I recently bought your book Complete Guide for Coaches & Athletes to better myself as an athlete and more importantly a coach. I reviewed the Intermediate 2 cycle, but not sure if thats the route I should take or the starter program? I'm a career firemen, smallest in the dept at BW of 140 but oddly nowhere near the weakest, so I will still be doing CF wods regularly to maintain good conditioning, but with oly training in mind as to not overtrain or doing a metcon with similar work in the wod. Thank you and looking forward to getting in this book and learning some great stuff.
Steve Pan 2013-08-13
Billy - I would suggest reading the About the Program section on combining programs. It is also quoted above. I would advise against combining programs as it will render both ineffective. If you look in the archives (around 2008) there are some examples of workouts that incorperate some conditioning work that may be a good program to use. Otherwise I would suggest sticking to a weightlifting program to increase strength and improve technique and working conditioning on a different cycle.
Drew 2013-08-27
Greg - I will finish week for this week. Do I just start over at week 1 next week? Great program by the way.
Steve Pan 2013-08-27
Drew - You can move on to another program after you finish this one. Take a look at the training cycles to decide which one to take next.
Jules 2013-08-27
As a personal trainer I love this program for my clients! I have found that oly lifting is effective for endurance athletes. I am a pro level bike racer & most of my clients are endurance athletes. I have been through this program and supplement it with other functional movement patterns for myself and my clients (mainly in warm-ups and cool downs). 3 questions: (1) Your thoughts on me using this for endurance athletes? (2) I want to add deadlifts (a la Pavel T. in Power to the People 2 sets of 5) in beginning of training sessions. Again, your thoughts? Finally, what would be an effective program to do after this cycle is done? Meaning for the type of people I train.
Bryan Jacobs 2013-09-21
So ive been doing Oly lifting off and on for a little while. I like to switch things up pretty regularly. Anyways im fairly strong but im still have C&J issues. I front Squat 375 and back squat 495.. I Powerclean 295 and my split jerk is up to 345... but i only C&J 245. Is it a technical error...i dont mean to throw numbers out there sorry! It just seems like my numbers arent adding up...i feel like i should be able to clean and jerk much more with all those others numbers. It may be that im too slow getting under the bar? Perhaps there is some other supplemental work i should be doing...normally i do my squats with bands or chains on my dynamic days. Ive been incorporating some West side methodology into my workouts i.e. max effort days and dynamic days using conjugate method etc. Just hoping for some clarity. Maybe if you could telle the most common mistake you see with your beginner to intermediate athletes i believe i fall into the first and maybe second category i know im not all that strong. Thanks for any advice!
muhammad sediq 2013-10-04
hello mr everet my name is muhammad sediq and i am the afghanistan junior weightlifting coach i have found your website pretty interesting i mean its very helpfull and i have learned many things thanks to you i saw your workout programs they are pretty good my question is that what kind of workout program do you recomend for the junior team
Greg Everett 2013-10-08
Muhammad- Something basic like this Adjust volume as needed.
Josh 2013-10-22
Would doing Metcon in crossfit still be too much even if it is split up in the day? such as doing metcon early in the morning (6-8am) and doing the weight lifting in the afternoon around 3ish
Steve Pan 2013-10-24
Josh - It depends on what those metcons are, and what part of the cycle you are at. Most likely it will be overkill.
Dina 2013-10-26
When you have 5x1 do only successful lifts count?
Nick 2013-10-27
Hi Greg, I like this plan. I would like to incorporate deadlifts into it though. Which days of the week for each week would you reccomend to do that.
stu 2013-10-28
into this program i have incorporated 5 x 5 bench one day a week and 5x5 military press, also one day a week, as i have been lifting a while now for strength and would hate to loose the progress I've made in these lifts. could you provide some advice or opinions on this?
Dan 2013-10-29
Just coming back from an injury, which I only was able to squat for over a month, I think I'll follow this to get back into it.. Q. My jerk is weaker than my clean, is there any recommended adjustments that could be made to factor this in? Thanks
Anthony 2013-10-29
What would you say to those of us that do the split snatch vs. Squat snatch? And what does it mean if the power clean is heavier than the squat clean?
muhammad sediq 2013-10-30
hello mr everett my question is that we have a black chrome berg barbell its pretty old but it still spins but not that well the collars has rust in it so its hard i was hopping that if would have any information about how to open the end caps i tried to open it but its different from the modern barbell that we have today i would like to open it and fix it
Drew 2013-10-31
Greg - What program would you recommend next for someone who is still getting better at the technical aspects of the lifts, but cannot handle a tremendous amount of volume? Would your technique program in you book be a good idea? Thanks.
Steve Pan 2013-10-31
Muhammad - You will have to check with the manufacturer of the barbell for that information. Drew - The technique program in the book would be a good place to start. Ease your way into the program and make sure you are keeping an eye on your recovery.
Britt Treece 2013-11-05
Starting this program but only have 4 days available to do it on. Should I split up the Tuesday movements to Monday and Wednesday or just skip that day or something else? How would you guys modify for that limitation?
Steve Pan 2013-11-05
You can skip the Tuesday workouts for week 3 and 4 if you are unable to train on those days.
William Smith 2013-11-07
Coming off of this cycle, i'm assuming you'd use the max clean and jerk / snatch numbers as your 1RM for the following cycle, but as far as squatting percentages, is that something you calculate off the max classical lifts or would you max out front and back for the next cycle?
Steve Pan 2013-11-14
William - You will go off your current maxes for those lifts, so if you don't have front or back squat maxes you may test them before going into a cycle. There are a few opportunities during this block that will let you test heavy singles so you may use your top weight from those Saturdays for your max.
Jose D. Torres of Crossfit Greenpoint Barbell Club 2013-12-03
I am reading Matt Foreman's Bones of Iron collected articles. I wanted to know if there a training cycles that has been written for the broken down athlete at the age of 40 years old fell in love with olympic lifting for past 2 yrs introduced via Crossfit. The volume of 3 lifting days per week with heavy squatting have caught up with me now with patellar tendonitis. I am interested in the light day and heavy days twice a week Matt Foreman regimen.
Britt Treece 2013-12-09
What should the weight percentages of 1RM be for week 2 Saturday which isn't "heavy single"?
Steve Pan 2013-12-12
Britt - You will have to feel out weights that you can make 6 good singles with. If the weight for the first single is light you may go up a bit but make sure you are making good reps.
Nico 2014-02-05
How much is too much supplementary work to be doing on top of this program? I'm about to start following this for the 4 weeks and was wondering if maintaining a bodybuilding/hypertrophy style program to go along with it would be okay. For example after doing C&J, Clean Pulls, and Back Squats on Monday I would continue to do Incline Dumbbell Presses 5x8, Tricep extensions 3x10, Dips 5x8, etc. Just wondering if doing too much hypertrophy or isolation movements would hinder my progress with my oly lifts. Thanks in advance!
Steve Pan 2014-02-11
Nico - You can add in supplementary work, but don't go overboard with anything that will throw off your recovery for the lifts.
Troy Work 2014-03-05
I saw the question earlier but did not see an answer. I prefer the split snatch over the squat snatch. Should the few like me A) do the overhead squats anyway, B) switch them to another exercise (overhead lunge), or C) scratch it completely?
Steve Pan 2014-03-06
Troy - Try giving the OHS a try and seeing if you can improve your position and possibly work towards a regular snatch. If you are dead set on split snatching then you can work on strengthing your split. I would not suggest lunges necessarily as they tend to favor the front leg and we would like you to have a balanced split. Possibly snatch grip split push presses behind the neck would be an appropriate substitute.
Greg 2014-03-19
Greg, What do you mean by clean pull and snatch pull are we talking about the pull part of the movement or high pull in clean and snatch grip?
Steve Pan 2014-03-19
Greg - Snatch/Clean pull will just be a regular pull to above the hips. The program will specify when high-pulls are needed. You can check the difference between high-pulls and regular pulls in the Exercises tab above.
nathanial 2014-03-24
hi, I've just finished this program and it all went great. I'm planning on starting the 12 week general cycle but was wondering what I need to do if I miss any of the lifts? do I try them again or just record it as a miss and move it?
Steve Pan 2014-03-24
Nathanial - It depends on the situation. It will be a judgement call. If it was a lift you should make but just had a brain fart, take it again and make it. If it is a heavier lift and you know you will not come back and make it, you can call it there or take a back off lift to end on a good lift.
Alex 2014-03-26
I was looking through the comments and I hadn't noticed anything about gains. I am roughly new to olympic lifting so i thought this would be a great program to get me started like it says in the description. But i was just wondering if going through this 4 week program would i seen any added gains to my 1rm of any of the lifts? or is this more for technique and just getting use to the work load the sites strength program?
Steve Pan 2014-03-27
This is a program to ramp you up and get you moving toward doing the program from the site if you haven't done a weightlifting program before.
Edward 2014-04-07
Hello, I was curious. As I have just completed my 4 weeks of this training. Would it be good to go through this training cycle again with the gains I have achieved from doing this program already one time through?
Steve Pan 2014-04-07
Edward - You can do this program again if you are comfortable with it and try pushing the weights up. The other option would be to move to one of the programs from the Workouts section above.
will 2014-04-18
Ive never done the Oly lifts but want to transition from powerlifting to Olympic lifting. How would you suggest i make the transition if ive never done these lifts before, but am fairly strong with lowbar squatting and deadlifting?
Steve Pan 2014-04-19
Will - I think this Starter Program would be a good way to get you ramped up to a program from the site. I would say be careful with the back squats transitioning from low bar squats to regular squats. Work your way back up with the good posture and practice those squats in the classic lifts as well. It will take some time to repattern your pulls and squats but this program should be a good transition to building up strength in those new positions.
Will 2014-04-20
Thank you sir. I plan on learnjng proper form and technique from Jim Schmitz once I find avaliable time then use these programs to make the transition. I read the article on how after Oly lifting peoples deadlifts go up anyway. I just don't want to get too one dimensional.
Isabela 2014-05-07
Thanks for posting this! How much time of rest between sets do you recommend? Do you give your athletes a specific time? Or is it depending on how they feel? And for a girl, (I'm 5'6", 165 and muscular) do you have a especific diet or nutrition (protein, carbs, fats) ratio recommended to recover from the training? Thanks coach!
Gene 2014-05-07
Greg, first of all thank you for all your programming and articles you put up on your site. I'm just curious, when does conditioning start to take away from your strength? I do the Oly programming for strength 5 days a week combined with upper body exercises at the end of each session ie pull-ups, dips and various core work. I really enjoy seeing myself getting stronger but recently I've been out of breath when taking a leak. What do you suggest in terms of frequency, intensity and time specifically for conditioning. Thanks!
Steve Pan 2014-05-07
Isabela - 2-3 minutes rest between olympic lifts, 3-5 min rest between squat sets. Make sure you are getting recovered between sets and making good movements. You will have to feel out what nutrition works for you and keeps you training well and recovering Gene - You will have to determine what your end goals are and adjust the program accordingly. If your goal is to be a weightlifter you are going to have to be conditioned for weightlifting and focusing your recovery on being prepared for weightlifting. If you are going for general fitness you will have to find a balance in volume between your strength work and the conditioning work you are doing and adjust as the cycle goes.
Joseph 2014-06-06
Hi guys. Love the information and programming. Just a quick question. I'm a CrossFit athlete looking to become more competitive. I actually sustained a rough shoulder injury in March and have just been cleared to resume normal activity. (Dislocated it, once snatching again sleeping. The MRI showed strain to a previously repaired ligament.) Would you suggest a program like this to get regain some strength before resuming my normal, rigorous, CrossFit training? Any and all advice will be taken and utilized! Thanks so much!
Steve Pan 2014-06-09
Joseph - This should be a good program to use to ease your way back into traing. Be careful and work your way back up and make sure the shoulder is doing okay through the cycle. Be conservative!
K 2014-06-10
Once completed with this program, whats a good program to move onto?
Steve Pan 2014-06-11
K - You may choose a cycle from the training cycles tab in the workout section. Choose one that fits your current needs.
Mandy 2014-06-12
Just start this program. Finished up day 2 and its a great program for a beginner. Struggling with squat mobility though.
GeorgeG 2014-06-19
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Leon 2014-07-16
For week 3 are you supposed to use generally the same weights you maxed out on in week 2 for sn and c&j?
Steve Pan 2014-07-18
Leon - Take the weights up on week 3 if you are able to.
Gary 2014-08-11
Do you guys have any cycles like the first 2 weeks of this program, but longer, that consist of 4 days per week with moderate volume? Right now time only permits me to get in 4 days per week of lifting. Or what would you suggest for combining days for any of your cycles so that I can fit 5 days into 4?
Joseph Sarti 2014-08-11
Great template coach! Thank you for sharing you programming!
Steve Pan 2014-08-12
Gary - You can adjust the cycles as needed, however you will have to temper your expectations of the results.
Andrew 2014-08-15
I'm leaving for college in a week and the school is starting up a barbell club but it wont be up and running until later in the fall semester. Does anybody have recommendations on how to incorporate upper body work such as pressing and rowing into the program? I've only been weightlifting since the end of May and am starting out as a super around 120kg I am weak in the upper body lifts compared to my lower body strength. Any advice will be much appreciated and i apologize if this has been addressed in previous comments.
Seth 2014-10-08
I am psyched about this program. The only concern that I have is that when front squatting or catch a clean, I can't seem to get the bar high enough on my delts to get it off of my collar bone. I get a lot of pain from that and generally hate front squats. I'm working external rotation in the humerous but if doesn't deem to help. Any ideas? Thanks! Can't believe I haven't found this site till now!
Riley Hunt 2014-11-14
Gday coach, Just want to clarify the power jerk, is this a split jerk or a "push jerk"? Which is what I know it as. And when you say clean and jerk are you wanting a typical split jerk unless specified otherwise?
EJ 2014-11-16
Hey coach, so basically I'm new to weightlifting, with a 60kg C&J and a 40kg Snatch, planning to start things off with this cycle. So my question is, can this cycle be done all over again for a few times or is it just a one time thing ? Thank you.
Steve Pan 2014-11-18
Riley - Power Jerk and Push Jerk are different exercises. Power Jerk is not a Split Jerk. Please refer to the exercises section above for the differences. Jerk will always imply split jerk unless otherwise specified, so Clean & Jerk will be with a split jerk. EJ - This cycle should be okay to run a few times until you feel comfortable moving on to another program.
P 2014-12-10
What is the difference between CJ that is, say, 2(1+1) and 2 x 1+1?
Steve Pan 2014-12-10
1+1 will be 1 clean and 1 jerk, 2(1+1) will be 2 reps of 1+1 alternating, meaning if it is clean and jerk you will perform 2 clean & jerks back to back. If it is 2+1 that would indicate 2 cleans and 1 jerk.
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