12-Week Complete Cycle
Training Programs  >  12-Week Complete Cycle

12-Week Complete Cycle

12 weeks   |   $29   |   Web, Text, Excel

This is a 12-week cycle with 8 weeks of preparatory work focused primarily on leg strength, and 4 weeks of competition preparation with a Bulgarian-style structure.

"Added 10kg to my snatch and 9kg to my clean & jerk!" - Charles A.

Good For:
  • Leg strength
  • CrossFitters or other athletes who want to emphasize strength (especially squat strength) and weightlifting temporarily while not losing a lot of conditioning
Notes: Some days have conditioning work - this is optional and only for those who want to maintain conditioning for activities/sports other than weightlifting during the cycle. CrossFitters can substitute their own workouts in place of these.

Register for Instant Access

Our weightlifting training programs are currently used by 102,818 athletes around the world! Register to join them with a free or premium account.
  • 62 different training programs with new ones added regularly
  • Guaranteed response to posted questions from a coach
  • Programs available in web, text and Excel spreadsheet format
  • Free account: Access to daily workouts and free programs
  • Premium account: Access to all programs - only $15/month!
  • DOES NOT include app access; purchase directly from app

Register Now   Login

Please Log in

Please login or register to access this training program.

Sample Week

Week 1 Day 1 Monday
Comments (34)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Back Squat - 65% x 10 x 3
  • Block (or hang) snatch (mid-thigh) - 65% x 3 x 5
  • Halting Snatch Deadlift (hip) - 80% (of snatch) x 3 x 3
  • Overhead Squat - 65% x 3 x 5
Week 1 of 4 (1 of 12)

This will be a short 4-week cycle with a lot of work in the first 3 weeks and a lot of rest in the last week. The emphasis is on leg strength. It can be used as a standalone training block for leg strength primarily, but it will also be the first 4-week mesocycle in a 12-week macrocycle.

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 2 Tuesday
Comments (12)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Jerk behind the neck - 70% x 3 x 5
  • Push Press - 75% x 5 x 4
  • Jerk dip squat - 80% (of jerk) x 5 x 3
3 sets; no rest:
2 min jump rope
15 pull-ups

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 3 Wednesday
Comments (10)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Back Squat - 75% x 5 x 5
  • Block (or hang) Clean (mid-thigh) - 65% x 3 x 5
  • Halting Clean Deadlift - 80% (of clean) x 3 x 3
  • SLDL - 60% (of back squat) x 5 x 3

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 4 Thursday
Comments (6)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Power Snatch - 65% x 3 x 4
  • Power Clean - 65% x 3 x 4
  • Power Jerk - 65% x 3 x 4
  • Snatch High-Pull - 70% x 3 x 3
3 sets; no rest:
600 m row
15 DB push press

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 5 Friday
Comments (2)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

Rest Day

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 6 Saturday
Comments (8)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Back Squat - 80% x 3 x 8
  • Snatch - 70% x 3 x 2, 75% x 2 x 3
  • Clean & Jerk - 70% x 3 x 2, 75% x 2 x 3
  • Snatch High-Pull - 70% (of snatch) x 3 x 3

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 7 Sunday
Comments  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

Rest Day

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.

Please log in to post a comment

August 26 2015
Great program. after 4 weeks I can just play with my old clean & jerk pr, can easily power jerk like nothing what I earlier struggled with split jerk.

one question....

I am pretty strong from the floor in snatch and clean, but terrible at squat snatch, should I go heavier on the snatch pull/ snatch deadlift? 80% off my snatch is like nothing...
You may take the weight up a bit in the pulls but don't go overboard. Keep working on squatting in the snatches and I recommend OHS, Snatch Balance, and holding the bottom position in any exercise that includes an OHS.

Steve Pan
tanner hodson
September 7 2015
Question about reps... for example Day 6 for back squats is 3 reps 8 sets. is the weight designed to work up to that for the last set or is that the working weight for all sets?
The prescription is for the working weight. You can warm up to the weight but make sure you get all the sets at the prescribed weight.

Steve Pan
September 29 2015

I practice Crossfit, I would like to start a real program to improve my different skills in weightlifting, conditioning and gym.
I would like to do your program and add some gym in the morning (weightlifting in the afternoon).
Can I add some cardio too or this program can maintain/improve conditioning?

Thanks for you advise.


P.S: I don't see the excel files to download, is it normal?
I would recommend against combining this with other programs or adding cardio volume.

The Excel sheets have been removed, you will have to go from the site pages for the workouts.

Steve Pan
September 29 2015
Would it be alright to add conditioning to the end of the workout? Something in comparison to a 6-18 minute crossfit conditioning workout.

An example of the conditioning would be 3 rds:

15 Deadlifts
12 Hanging Power Cleans
9 Front Squats
6 Jerks

@ 155 or 185 (+ range)

And adjusting the conditioning workout to avoid too much exercise overlap to prevent muscle damage.
Do not add this to any workout. I would highly recommennd against using those exercises in conditioning workouts and the volume of the workout you posted almost doubles the volume of the first workout in this cycle.

Steve Pan
Dakota Martinez
November 22 2015
What is the significance of doing knee hang work vice off the ground (like in the traditional cycle). This seems very similar to the traditional, I just wanted to see what the different focus areas were for. Thanks!
Hang work helps improve strength and balance in specific positions of the pull, and can improve speed, explosiveness, and aggressiveness.

Greg Everett
Paula Morris
February 17 2016
Starting the 12 week complete cycle. SLDL? Single Leg Deadlift?
Shawn Frost
February 25 2016
Would you recommend for athletics? Obviously more plyos and speed work
I would not recommend adding a bunch of plyos and speed work to this program. This program is recommended for athletes looking to increase leg strength and you will test a back squat twice through the first 8 weeks (end of week 4 and 8).

Steve Pan
Samantha Contorno
May 10 2016
I love this program and it has a lot of pieces that I really need, but I do need to work on my front squat. Is there a way I can sub front squat in for one of the back squat days, and should I keep the same rep scheme?
I would recommend against switching any of them to front squats but you may try and post the results here.

Steve Pan
Sarah Menard
June 2 2016
What is the difference between a "clean and jerk" and "power clean and power jerk"?
Sarah - The Clean & Jerk is a full clean + a Split Jerk, wheras the power clean is a variation of a clean. The difference is the height of the receiving position, catching the bar in a partial squat. To do a power jerk, you want the same rack position as the split jerk—but you have to drive the bar high and aggressively in order to relocate your body under the bar and catch it in a partial squat. Here are some videos that will illustrate what I am saying:

Clean & Jerk: http://www.catalystathletics.com/exercise/76/Clean-Jerk/
Power Clean: http://www.catalystathletics.com/exercise/67/Power-Clean/
Power Jerk: http://www.catalystathletics.com/exercise/72/Power-Jerk/

Alyssa Sulay
Parham Azad
July 22 2016
Hi there, is it Okay to do the program on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri?

Alyssa Sulay
Andrew Alvarado
September 6 2016
Hey guys. Things at my gym have finally picked up and we are in a good spot. I just signed up for the premium account and plan on doing this cycle again. The last time I worked out consistently was with you guys in Sunnyvale, Ca. I plan on using this upcoming week to get my food right and also re-test all of my new numbers. I know that my time off is going to put me back to square one. I am ready for the challenge. Thanks so much for all you guys do.
Reyes Casanova
August 19 2017
it is fine to add some extra work at the end of the workout? for example some extra back work on one day, shoulder on another day. kinda like body building splits?
Reyes - Absolutely! It is always good to add in some accessory work. 

Alyssa Sulay
Caleb Lee
September 9 2017

I was wondering if it would be feasible to supplement this program with ab work such as planks, as well as bench presses?

If so, how would you suggest going about it?

Thanks in advance!
Caleb - Yes, you can add those exercises in as accessory work after what is programmed. Here is an atricle that you may find helpful. 

Alyssa Sulay
Lene Baxter
September 24 2017
Squat jumps are unweighted or weighted?
Alyssa Sulay
September 25 2017
Lene - These can be weighted
Jessica Snell
January 6 2018
Is there an alternate to block snatch and block cleans if I don’t have blocks available at my gym?
Jessica - You can do the lifts from the hang position if you do not have access to blocks. 

Alyssa Sulay
Eric chui Hui
January 11 2018
Is it okay to do this cycle while training moderate volume for sport? Much needed reply! Thanks
Eric - It is not recommended to combine these programs with others in order to get the most out of the programs. 

Alyssa Sulay
Daniel Lopez Martinez
January 27 2018
In the clean and jerk, 70% x 3 would be 3 complete clean and jerks? Or it would be 2 cleans + 1 jerk?
Daniel - it depends on how it is notated. It it is more than just a clean and jerk, than it will say 1+2 or 2+1. If it is 3 complete clean and jerks it will say 3(1+1). What part of the cycle are you referring to?

Alyssa Sulay
Eric chui Hui
January 29 2018
Hey I’m surprised I can’t find this. What do I do after the cycle before starting a new one. Unless the last week is already deload week.
Eric - You can start looking at other cycles you might be interested in. 

Alyssa Sulay
Eric chui Hui
January 29 2018
Hey Alyssa Sulay, my actual question is whether i need to implement a deload/rest week or is the last week the actual deload week?
Eric - The last week of this program will lead you into maxing out your Snatch and Clean and jerk, so the last week of this program is pretty heavy, but the volume is on the lower side of the week to prepare you for the max day. You can give yourself a deload week after you complete the program if you would like to.  

Alyssa Sulay
Lisa Stewart
November 5 2018
I have just switched from online training with another program to trying out catalyst. My question has to do with the order the lifts are done. My previous programming always had the Olympic lifts first then squats then accessories, I noticed yours is opposite squats first then lifts. Just curious the reason? Should I keep them in that order? Or could they be switched around? Just curious if there’s a specific reason for it programmed that way. Thank you!
Lisa - The order of exercises varies with each program. The programs where the squats are first, just means that with that particular section of the programming the main focus is on the squats and leg strength.

Alyssa Sulay
Luke Aylott
January 7 2019
What sort of rest between sets ?
Luke - 1.5 - 2 minutes.

Alyssa Sulay
Troy Hewkins
November 14 2019
When performing variations like jerk behind the neck are the percentages taken off your best jerk btn or normal jerk?? Same as Overhead squat, is it off 1RM snatch or OHS? Cheers
Troy - for the jerk bnk, base that off your jerk. for the OHS, base that off your OHS.

Alyssa Sulay
Mark Sapino
May 29 2020
What is the best drill not to pull early before full hip extension. I use a PVC pipe often to work on the hip extension, shrug, and then the pull; however, when I add weight and video in slow motion, I pull early. Thanks
See this video.

Greg Everett
Kendra Preuninger
March 29 2021
Is there any recommended accessory work along with this cycle somewhere?
Nothing programmed unless you want to use accessory work from a program that includes it; otherwise have a look at the exercise library ab & back and accessory sections for options.

Greg Everett
Kendra Preuninger
May 9 2021
Hey, I am using he spreadsheet and I notice the order is different. Does it matter which order to perform the lifts? It has squats listed first every time even though on here sometimes it is second to last
Looks to be the same to me - first 8 weeks, squats are first; last 4 weeks they're not.

Greg Everett
Omar Romero Linares
February 27 2022
On week 1 day
Clean & Jerk - 70% x 3 x 2, 75% x 2 x 3
means 70% 2 cleans + 1 jerk x 2 sets or 1 (clean + jerk) x 3 reps x 2 sets?
CJ triples and doubles, so 3(1+1) and 2(1+1)

Greg Everett
Brian Evans
June 28 2023
Hey if I get a new PR on a certain lift in week 4. Do I use percentages based on the new PR or the original PR?
Update %s to the new PR

Greg Everett
Conenr Cudtofio
August 30 2023
If am wanting to slowly build into this and not squat 3 times a week is it okay to just do two times a week, and which days would you suggest
Andrew Galjan
October 13 2023
Should we add accessory work besides abs/back?