12-Week Traditional Cycle
Training Programs  >  12-Week Traditional Cycle

12-Week Traditional Cycle

12 weeks   |   $29   |   Web, Text, Excel

This is a 12-week, 3-mesocyle training cycle with two four-week blocks of fairly high volume and high rep lifts and squats and a final 4-week competition mesocycle. It uses simple progressions and is a good, basic program for a wide range of athletes.

"Did the whole cycle and my squat went up 40 lbs" - Arthur Z.

"Snatch 70 to 90, C+J 90 to 110, FS 100 to 135 BS 135 to 160. Much more consistent on the classic lifts."
- Mark A.

"Every one of these lifts has gone up by 10 lbs for me!" - Jackie R.

Good For:
  • Newer and intermediate lifters
  • CrossFitters or other athletes who want to emphasize strength and weightlifting temporarily while not losing a lot of conditioning
  • The cycle is good for beginning and intermediate lifters, BUT you may have to adjust the weights, as your 1RMs are likely inaccurate. If certain lifts feel too easy, increase the weight.
  • 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
  • Heavy single, (90%x1, 95%x1, HS) x 3 means that you work up to a heavy single, then hit 90% of that, 95% of that, then try to hit that HS again, and repeat this wave 2 more times.

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Sample Week

Week 1 Day 1 Monday
Comments (12)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Snatch - 60%x3, 65%x3, 70%x3x4
  • Snatch Pull - 90% (of sn) x 3 x 4
  • Back Squat - 70% x 6 x 5
  • SLDL - 3x5
If you feel good, take the weights up after at least 1 set at the prescribed heaviest weight.

Week 1 of 12

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 2 Tuesday
Comments (9)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Power Clean - 70% x 3 x 5
  • Power Jerk (% of split jerk) - 60% x 3 x 5
  • Push Press - 70% x 5 x 5
4 sets; no rest:
2 min jump rope
10 pull-ups
10 push-ups

If you feel good, take the weights up

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 3 Wednesday
Comments (5)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Clean & Jerk - 60% x 3+1, 65% x 3+1, 70% x 3+1 x 4
  • Clean Pull - 90% x 3 x 4
  • Front Squat - 70% x 4 x 5
If you feel good, take the weights up

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 4 Thursday
Comments (7)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Hang Muscle Snatch - 5x3
  • Power Snatch - 70% x 3 x 5
  • Snatch Push Press + OHS - 70% (of sn) x 5+1 x 5
5 sets; no rest (w 2 DBs):
5 DB hang power snatch
5 DB hang power clean
5 DB push press

If you feel good, take the weights up

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

Rest Day

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

  • Snatch - 65%x3, 70%x3x2, 75%x2x3, 80%x1x4
  • Clean & Jerk - 65% x3+1, 70% x 3+1 x 2, 75% x 2+1 x 3, 80% x 1+1 x 4
  • Back Squat - 75% x 3 x 5
  • Good Morning - 3x5
  • Press - 3 x 8
If you feel good, go up on the last 80% sets of snatch and CJ and on squats.

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.

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July 31 2015
Greg, I have two questions. 1- What does the rep scheme "Power Snatch + OHS 2x2(1+1)" exactly mean? I can't figure out how many of which lift I'm supposed to do. 2- Say during the cycle I hit a new PR, should I plug that new max into the calculated numbers on Excel?
1. It means each set is 1 power snatch, then 1 OHS, then 1 power snatch, then 1 OHS, and you have 2 sets at that weight. Read this for all the info on my notation.

2. Yes, if you hit a new PR during the cycle, calculate the weights from that PR for the remainder of the program.

Greg Everett
August 7 2015
Lovely program been enjoying so far! Thank you.
I'm a bit confused though. I've downloaded the excel version to calculate my weights, and when i compare the excel version there are some days wich are different from the internet version. For examble on day 34 in the excel version it's a copy of day 7 with same weights. And when i then look on the internet version the weights are higher and there are even Heavy singles on snatch and C&J. Should i just follow the Excel version or just recalculate and do the internet version on days which are different (sort of seems like a mistake to copy day 7 to 35?)?
Thank you.
We are currently working on upgrading this portion of the site. The excel ones may be incorrect, the listed site workouts are the correct prescriptions.

Steve Pan
September 27 2015
In say, week 3 when doing sn 3 rep max. Do i stand up every snatch or secure the catch in the bottom position then drop it?
Stand up on every rep. If you don't stand up the lift doesn't count.

Steve Pan
September 28 2015
what does for 3s mean example sld 5x3 for 3s
Where do you see "3s"

SLDL - 3x5 will be 3 sets of 5 reps of Stiff Legged Deadlift

Steve Pan
Jackie Lopez Rochetti
July 25 2015
Every one of these lifts has gone up by 10 lbs for me! Kuddos!!!
Chris Sanchez
July 18 2015
If I set a new max doing heavy singles or a RM goes up significantly (enough to indicate an increased 1RM) should I calculate future %1RM from this new max or stick with the starting 1RM for the whole cycle?
If you make a PR during the cycle, use the new one to calculate %s from then on.

Greg Everett
Arthur Zhang
April 6 2014
Did the whole cycle and my squat went up 40 lbs. I don't put on muscle well either; went from 300 lb squat to 340+
Butch Ibay
October 20 2015
Are power snatch & power cleans percentages off of max cleans and snatches or off your max power clean and power snatches? Thanks in advance!
% of your best power versions of the lifts  unless otherwise specified.

Steve Pan
Kelsey Tindle
October 26 2015
for the SLDL - Does 3 s mean 3 sets of 5 reps of Stiff Legged Deadlift? And what weight? Same for hang muscle snatch< what weight?
SLDL - 3x5 will be three sets of five reps. For the hang muscle snatch if there is no prescribed weight you will feel out appropriate weights for the rep range.

Steve Pan
David Valente
November 16 2015
Greg, some of the exercises (Good morning, press, SLDL) on the spreadsheet say "For 3s" in the the % of 1RM column. But the text on the webpage does not say the same? What does that mean? Is it a tempo, eccentric or concentric? Is there a recommended weight range or just make it challenging? Thanks.
It just means you're doing it for 3 sets - this is a reader-made spreadsheet, so it's not a notation I would have made myself as it's confusing. Weight by feel starting the weeks reasonably and building weekly.

Greg Everett
Makayla Graner
January 26 2016
Just clarifying - Week 2, day 4, what are Push-Balls?
Push ball is a wall ball but with a dip and drive instead of a split. Wall Ball is to Push ball as Thruster is to Push Press.

Steve Pan
Michael Grogan
May 18 2016
Week 3, Day 3, Clean and Jerks. Am I reading this right that the last set is 1 set of 3 reps of our 1RM (100%)?

Clean & Jerk
1x3+1 60%
1x3+1 65%
1x3+1 70%
1x3+1 75%
1x3+1 80%
1x3+1 100%
After the 80% you will try to go to the best 3+1 you can peform for the day. This will most likely not be your 100%. If you can get 85% or more that will be very good for the day.

Steve Pan
Mark Allen
June 10 2016
Thank you for putting these programs up, just finished this one. Sn 70 to 90, C+J 90 to 110, FS 100 to 135 BS 135 to 160. Much more consistent on the classic lifts, beat me up a little as a 33 year old, but the deload weeks helped, going to run the OTM cycle after a week or two off. Again, thank you!
Timoth Wong
October 17 2016
For the clean and jerks, it says 3+1. Does it mean than I do 3 cleans and then 1 jerk?


Alyssa Sulay
Tina Husebo
December 22 2016

can you explain this description for Saturday Clean and Jerk.
do not understand the description, and to match the set and the number of repetitions.


70 %70 %75 %75 %75 %80 %80 %85 %85

61 61 65 65 65 70 70 74 74kg

6 6 4 4 4 2 2 2 2
Tina - You will do 3 cleans + 1 Jerk for both sets at 70%, then you will do 2 clean + 1 jerk for all 3 sets at 75%, then you will do 1 clean + 1 Jerk for your sets at 80% and 85%. 

Alyssa Sulay
Marla McPhail
January 9 2017
Greg, When entering my max for each lift on the first tab, it does not populate weights for deadlift, press, hang muscle snatch, or good mornings. HELP :) Thanks
I assume you mean stiff-legged deadlift... none of those have prescribed weights. You need to determine them by feel.

Greg Everett
Bleu Wear
January 22 2017
Quick question. Do you guys program any gymnastic movements in the conditioning for the 12 week program?
Bleu - There are no gymnastic movements in this program. 

Alyssa Sulay
Joyce R
February 16 2017
Im in my first week of the program. SLDL is stiff legged deadlift? Or straigth legged deadlift? If I look at the video in the exercise library, knees should be a little bit bend right?
Joyce - the SLDL is a stiff legged deadlift. 

Alyssa Sulay
Ryan Clancy
February 27 2018
On this format, is the first number the amount of reps or the number of sets?
Ryan - If there is a weight prescription in front, such as 80%x2x3—then you would read it as 3 sets of 2 at 80%. If there is no percentage or prescription in front, like this SLDL: 3x5, then you would do 3 sets of 5. You can find more information on the notation on the help page here

Alyssa Sulay
Steve Engbrecht
June 30 2018
Greg- I am a relatively new lifter. I am 56 years old. I am looking for a routine for older lifters that will help me compete at a masters level and give me the recouping time an older lifter like me requires. Got anything?
I would work with this template.

Greg Everett
Ethan McGrath
July 16 2019
Hi, i have two questions.

I was wondering how much time should we take to rest between sets?

I was also wondering with the squats whether we go straight into the set because the exercises we have done previously is sufficient for a warm up or whether we need to do a light weight warm up before squatting?

Ethan - unless specified otherwise rest about 2 minutes between sets. And make Sure you do take your time and warm up for squats.

Alyssa Sulay
Ethan McGrath
September 11 2019

I was wondering what i should do if my knee keeps tracking forward over my toes in the split jerk?
Ethan - You can include Jerk balances in your warm ups and really focus on reaching your front heel out so you get a nice vertical front shin in your split position.

Alyssa Sulay
Marc Sathianathan
June 3 2020
Dear Greg, I started CrossFit 1 year ago and really started to love the weightlifting. So I want to really learn it and probably start with your Traditional Cycle. My technique is far from good after 1 year, since we do not have good weightlifting coaches in our area. My question is: Can I use your book and this program as a beginner or would you recommend a different one for technically flawed beginners? Is it also possible to do it 4 days a week (we don´t have open gym every day here!)? Thanks a lot for these ressources you provide here, they mean a lot to me!
Yes, this program would be fine for you, but be ready and willing to adjust weights day to day based on how they feel - some may be too heavy, and others (usually pulls) may be too light. To modify to 4 days/week, see this.

Greg Everett
Amy Wong
June 11 2020
I was only able to complete the first 8 weeks as written before life/ small injuries made me cut the cycle short. However, the 8 weeks I got through gave me some pretty damn good results. The numbers I started with weren’t all-time PRs, but I tested them before starting the cycle so I would have accurate percentages to work with.

Snatch 70 > 82 (1kg under all time PR)
C&J 83 > 100kg (previous best 95kg)
Clean 84 > 100kg (previous best 96kg)
Jerk 90 > 100kg (previous best 95kg)
P. snatch 65 > 70kg (previous best 68kg
P. Clean 90> 95kg (previous best 92kg)
P. Jerk 80> 90kg
Back Squat 105> 125kg (2kg under PR)
Front Squat 92 > 102 (3kg under PR)

Thank you for the programming. I look forward to starting another cycle and hitting more PRs!

Alec P
October 21 2021
Is there a 3-day or 4-day per week Catalyst program? I couldn’t figure out how to filter for that in the main program search. Thanks!
All programs on this website are 5 days. I have a simple 3-day program, a 3-day team, and Aimee has a 3-day program through TrainHeroic.

Greg Everett