CrossFit Workouts: the 10-Day Program to Get Stronger

Crossfit Member Lifting Barbell
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It’s no secret that CrossFit is a demanding discipline. If you wanna survive a grueling WOD, you’ll need a big metabolic engine, plenty of power, and a solid base of core stability. But at some point, every athlete—CrossFit or otherwise—needs the all-out, brute-force, no-holds-barred strength to lift big weights and put them down—over and over again.

For a high-caliber strength routine that will have you racking up barbell-bending loads in no time, we turned to Dan Wells, a veteran CrossFit Games competitor, CrossFit coach, and owner of the two CrossFit Horsepower locations in Los Angeles.

Wells designed this workout program around two fundamental lifts: the back squat and the strict shoulder press. These classic “big rock” movements are absolutely essential for any athlete, since they build strength in your upper and lower body, as well as in the supporting musculature of your core.

“This program is intense and designed to shock the system, but it’s very effective,” Wells says.

Each workout features two essential components: A strength session, designed around multiple sets of relatively low reps so you can lift progressively heavier loads, and a high-intensity conditioning session, designed to rev up your heart rate and increase your metabolic work capacity. As always, warm up and build up to a working weight before beginning the strength session of the workout.

In CrossFit WOD style, weights (in pounds) are recommended for each conditioning exercise in parentheses like so: (185/125). The “Rx” weight, intended for well-trained athletes familiar with the exercises, is listed first, followed by the “scaled” weights for less experienced athletes attempting these moves. As always, it’s a good idea to work with a strength coach or trainer who can help you perform each exercise with good form.

Instructions: Perform these five workouts over the course of one week. Choose your two rest days as needed. Listen to your body. Typically, athletes start the program on Monday and take off Wednesday (or Thursday) and Sunday.

You’ll repeat the workouts in Week 2, adding approximately 10 lbs to back squat and 5 lbs to shoulder presses for your strength work. “Ideally, you can continue it for a third five-day week,” Wells says.

Day 1

Test: Establish your one-rep max for both back squat and strict shoulder press.

Strength: Back Squat
6 sets x 6 reps: Back squat @ 70% of 1 rep max back squat. Rest as needed.

Conditioning: “Jetliner Joe”
As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 12 minutes:

 – 15 box jump-overs (24/20 inches)
 – 12 toes to bar (scale: V-ups)
 – 9 pullups, kipping okay (scale: TRX or ring rows)

Rest 5-10 minutes at the conclusion of the conditioning portion.

Day 2

Strength: Shoulder Press

7 sets x 5 reps: strict shoulder press @ 75% of 1-rep max back squat. Rest as needed.

Conditioning: “Blaster Blues”

EMOM (Every minute on the minute) for 7 minutes, perform 6 thrusters (95/65)

Then, repeat the following 3-minute circuit through 4 rounds, for a total of 12 minutes:

 – 1 minute: As many deadlifts as possible (185/125)
 – 1 minute: As many hand-release pushups as possible. Don’t lift your toes or let your quads touch the ground.
 – 1 minute: As many strict hanging knees-to-elbows as possible

Rest 5-10 minutes at the conclusion of the conditioning portion.

Day 3

Strength: Barbell Rows

5 sets x 5 reps: Bentover barbell rows at 75% of max. Rest as needed.

Conditioning: “Hy Major Allen”

3 rounds: Perform as many reps as possible at each station in 1 minute; rest 1 minute after each round. Each round takes 6 minutes, for a total of 18 minutes. Pace yourself!

Stations:
 – Row for calories
 – Weighted lunges while holding dumbbells (25 lbs/15 lbs)
 – Situps holding PVC pipe behind neck
 – Dumbbell push press (25 lbs/15 lbs)
 – Box jumps (24”/20″)

Day 4

Strength: Back squat

8 rounds x 4 reps: Back squat @ 80% of 1-rep max back squat

Conditioning: “Tiny Overdrive”

3 rounds, unbroken, of:
 – 400-meter run
 – 20 American kettlebell swings (53/35 lbs.)
 – 10 pullups
 – 5 burpees

Day 5

Strength: Shoulder press

10 sets x 3 reps shoulder press @ 85% of 1-rep max back squat

Conditioning: “Woodstock Lad”

Jump rope: Complete 300 single-unders (advanced athletes should do double-unders)
Every minute on the minute: stop, perform 3 deadlifts (Rx 225/155, but scale weight as needed), and resume jumping rope.

***Time Cap: Stop at 10 minutes.