Weightlifting Programs

12-Week Basic Cycle


12 weeks   |   $29   |   Web, Text, Excel, App

This is a 12 week cycle with plenty of squatting, pulling and pressing strength work for the first several weeks. This is a good cycle for fairly well-balanced lifters. The volume and intensity are moderate, so this cycle is good for newer lifters or those who cannot tolerate a lot of volume and intensity.

"Finished up the 12 week basic cycle after about 15 months off from Crossfit with lifetime PRs of +25lb snatch, +35lb clean & jerk plus PRs in, well, everything from strict press to deadlift." -Jeremy J.

"I have just completed your 12 week basic cycle and have improved my competition results from 85/115 in Dec to 93/118 in Apr and 90/121 in June with misses at 95/125." -Paul T.

"Snatch went from 93 to 105, CJ from 116 to 123."
- Andrew N.

"Snatch went from 75 lbs to 143 lbs Clean and Jerk went from around 165 lbs to 212 lbs. Also front and back squat has really improved. I highly recommend this to the beginner lifter." - Josh M.

"Lifts went from 60/70kg to SOLID 75/95kg at my second meet, and possibly good for more. Back squat from 110 to 125kg. Great programming, really helped me strengthen all the different portions of my pulls and definitely helped my overhead strength. Clear and concise, well-balanced cycle." - Patrick S.

Good For:
  • Lower volume & intensity tolerance
  • Less experienced lifters
Notes:
  • This is a relatively "light" training cycle - use it if you don't recover well from more intense, higher volume programs
  • 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.

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Sample Week

Week 1 Day 1 Monday
Comments (20)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Power Snatch + Snatch - 60% x (1+2) x 4 (% of power snatch)
  • Jerk - 60%x3x2, 65%x3x2
  • Clean Pull - 85%x5x4
  • Back Squat - 60%x8, 65%x6, 70%x6x2

Week 1 of 12

Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 2 Tuesday
Comments (16)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Power Clean + Clean - 60%x (1+2) x 2, 65%x (1+2) x 2 (% of power clean)
  • Snatch Balance - 60%x3x4
  • Push Press - 70%x5x4
  • Muscle Snatch - 50%x4, 55%x4, 60%x3x2
3 sets; no rest:
15 Sit Ups
12 Barbell Row


Questions? Get answers here or post in comments.
Week 1 Day 3 Wednesday
Comments (9)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • 3-Position Clean - 60%x1x2, 65%x1x2
  • Power Jerk + Jerk - 60% x (2+1) x 2, 65% x (2+1) x 2
  • Clean Deadlift - 90%x5x4
  • Front Squat - 60%x6x2, 65%x5, 70%x3


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

  • 3-Position Snatch - 60%x1x2, 65%x1x2
  • Snatch Pull - 85%x5x4
  • Snatch Push Press - 65%x5x2, 70%x5x2
  • Good Morning - 25%x6x3 (% of Back Squat)
3 sets; no rest:
15 Back Extensions
15 DB Presses

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 (2)  |  Help  |  Programs  |  Exercises

  • Snatch - 55%x3, 60%x3, 65%x3, 70%x2, 75%x1, HS
  • Clean & Jerk - 55%x3, 60%x3, 65%x3, 70%x2, 75%x1, HS
  • Back Squat - 60%x6x2, 65%x6, 70%x4x2
  • Block Snatch Pull (mid-thigh) - 90%x5x3


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.




61 Comments
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Wayne
August 18 2015
I can't always get a workout in on Saturdays and my box is closed Sunday's.
How do you feel about doing Saturday's workout Friday and resting all weekend?
It is not recommended, but if you must train on Friday try and take it easier on Thursday so you get a good workout on the last of the week.


Steve Pan
James
August 18 2015
Having trouble recovering. do you have any suggestions to modify this to a 4-day week, or possibly add another rest day after day 2 ( which would make it an 8-day 'week' vs. 7)

Thanks,

James
You can drop to 4 days/week and extend the program.


Greg Everett
Alex
August 20 2015
I have been doing crossfit for a year and I would like to start this program, just the program, but I want to know if a can do a running or something like conditioning after the workout because I want to loose some fat, but still want to focus on the lifting.
Hope you can help me.

Greetings from Mexico!!
I recommend reading the Help & Info section. For weightloss with a lifting program I recommend cleaning up your diet.


Steve Pan
Varun
September 23 2015
Can any of these programs be clubbed with a WOD after or is it essential to just stick to this program for best results. Looking to improve numbers in my FS, BS, C&J and presses, but also want to be in touch with other movements such as pulls-ups, toes-to-bar, HSPU etc.

What would you recommend?

Cheers!
I recommend against adding any programs together or adding a ton of work to this program.

As maintaining the other movements you can add a few of those as supplementary exercises in lieu of the conditioning work that is put on Tuesday/Thursday but I would try not to go too crazy on this stuff in terms of a "WOD" and possibly use the time to make sure the movements are strong and correct.


Steve Pan
Robert Blairatheon
September 21 2015
For warmup sets should I do just a single or say if the worksets are triples, warmup with triple ascending until worksets?
Do full reps on warm-up sets.


Greg Everett
February 24 2015
With the program, do you update your 1RM every week. For example, if i want to gain say 1-2 kg per week do I just increase my totals each week which will inadvertanty increase the next weeks lifts?
No. You use your actual 1RM - if that changes at some point during the cycle, you use the new 1RM. The weights will increase each week as-is. If you start increasing the 1RM on which they're based as well, you're overdoing it.

Greg Everett
Minhaz Hussain
January 28 2015
How long would you recommend I rest in between sets? So far, for the first two exercises I have been resting a few minutes and the last two exercises a minute or so...
2-3 min is usually good. 4-5 min if you really need it for tougher sets.


Greg Everett
Bryan Villescas
January 8 2015
Hi Greg, I'm just getting ready to finish up the 12-week complete cycle and I'm looking to start with this once complete. I would like to increase strength but still maintain technique. With this program, it tests the max towards the end. Is it reasonable to throw in max efforts more often or would you recommend a different training cycle program? Thanks in advance.
You can go to heavy single snatch and CJ each saturday, but you may feel like complete shit each Monday.

Greg Everett
Jennifer Myers
October 16 2014
In my 3rd week of this program and I'm really enjoying it and have already made lots of improvement! Thanks!
Hamid Komairi
September 25 2014
I would like to combine this program with a crossfit program? I would do Monday Crossfit, Tuesday Weightlifting (1st day of the cycle), Wednesday Crossfit, Thursday rest, Friday Weightlifting (2nd day of the cycle), Saturday Crossfit, Sunday Weightlifting (3rd day of the cycle) and so on on a 3 days on 1 day off scheme.
You can do it, but your results won't be as good.

Greg Everett
Jaime Siguenza
October 25 2015
Hi,

I am a shift worker on 4 days on 4 days off rotation. I will only be able to do 4 days of training on my day's off. This will leave me with 4 days of rest time. On the 5th day of training it calls for rest. Could I just start my training on my first day off from work and not take the rest day the program calls for.
Could I apply this through out the 12 week program?
You can test this out but you will have to temper expectations of the results. You may have to adjust to see if you are able to keep making progress.


Steve Pan
Victor Mekary
December 4 2015
Hey unfortunately i do not have any blocks or anything that resembles a good and sturdy block to put the bar to mid-thigh height.
Can i do the (mid-thigh) block clean or snatch as hang?
For example:
Pick up the bar as a dead lift and then go to mid-thigh and snatch it or clean it and repeat from ground again.
Or is this counter productive and i should not continue with the program?
Thanks,
Victor
You can take them from the hang. You can reset from the hang each time, it is not required to take it from the ground each time.


Steve Pan
Jim Chambers
December 23 2015
Hey!
What's the protocol for failed lifts as far as progress the subsequent week? Currently at day 17 only and had trouble w the last set of front squats on the 3rd rep. Thanks for all y'all do!
That should be okay. Keep an eye on your recovery and try pushing forward with the cycle. Stay on top of eating and icing/stretching/rolling.


Steve Pan
Cory Nelson
January 20 2016
Just wondering and probably a dumb question. I have looked through your programs and never see bench press at all or any chest moves at all. Wont I develop strength imbalances if I never do them?
It is not imperative to have bench press in an olympic weightlifting program. You can add it as accessory work, but leaving it out should not cause any imbalances.


Steve Pan
Felix Burch
January 25 2016
When you say Max Press is that Push Press or Strict Press? Thank you
Max Press will be Strict Press.


Steve Pan
Carlos Ortiz
February 29 2016
ill being lifthing since 4 year now. i had a back injury and i am trying to get back on my feet again, do you recomend this to get started. thank you big fan of yours btw. regards from OUR MAGIC TOWN TECATE BAJA CALIFONIA MEXICO.
This should be okay as long as you are smart about how you feel and perform. You may adjust the weights as you go and feel out what works. Stay safe and I would lean toward the side of caution when choosing weights.

Steve Pan
Frederick Sadler
March 31 2016
Can the first week serve as a transition week?
You can go right into this program if you are feeling well. If you are beat you can take 5-10% off of the lifts in the first week to use as a transition.

Steve Pan
Katherine Stultz
April 4 2016
Hey, when should we plan on testing the other lifts used in this program besides clean/jerk, snatch, and back squat that are tested at the end of the entire program to be used if we run the entire program again?
What else are you planning on testing? You can try testing on Week 11 and then following Week 12 as planned.

Steve Pan
Andrew Nizamian
April 11 2016
Just wanted to say thanks to Greg and Catalyst for putting up all this programming.

I finished 12 week basic and snatch went from 93 to 105, CJ from 116 to 123.
Ian Levine
April 29 2016
Just wanted to say thinks for posting the program!
Richmond Loo
May 3 2016
Hey there, may I ask for the 1st week of 1 power clean + 2 cleans....the sheet says 3 of 60%. Does it mean every set 3 rounds of (1 power clean + 2 cleans) or does 3 means (1 round of 1 power clean + 2 cleans) ?

Thank you for the help.
It is 1+2, the 3 at the bottom is calculating the total volume for the day. So it is 1 Power Clean and 2 Cleans per set.

Steve Pan
Jessica Kim
May 3 2016
Just started the program, what does it mean when it says HS, i know is heavy single, but i should go a little bit heavier?

Snatch - 55%x3, 60%x3, 65%x3, 70%x2, 75%x1, HS

I should goto 80% if its easy? or the 75% means hs ?
The HS here will be working up beyond in more than just one set. So you make take 80% and then keep going up if you feel good. HS is outlined here.

Steve Pan
Jessica Kim
May 3 2016
Another question, i cant train on mondays, should i go from thursday to saturday? Or should i take a rest between? Plus, should i quit crossfitting during the program?
You can shift the week ahead a day but try and keep the rest days between the Thursday/Saturday/Monday workouts. I would recommend not doing crossfit workouts in addition to the program.

Steve Pan
Javier Andrade
May 25 2016
For clean deadlift, should i use my deadlift 1RM or my clean 1RM?
You should use your clean 1RM. 

Alyssa Sulay
Benjamin Murray
June 10 2016
Hey, just want to express my gratitude for your free programming. Was most recently on it for 3 months and am 170lbs. Brought up my snatch from an ugly 175lbs to a easy and crisp 190lbs. Fixed my jerk problem, bringing my clean n jerk from tough 205 to a easily made 230. My back squat went from a max effort 305 to an easy double at 315.
Brad Messer
August 12 2016
Hi

On Tuesdays and Thursdays in this program, I see supplemental work. Is this meant to be optional conditioning work similar to your other programs or mandatory extra work?

Thanks for the help!
The supplemental work is extra work you can do to improve on your weaknesses. This can include Dumbell work, Barbell presses or rows, extra back and ab work etc.

Alyssa Sulay
Josh McIntyre
September 22 2016
Very new to Olympic (Only started two months before starting this 12 week program) and I saw huge improvements from week 1 to week 12. Snatch went from 75 lbs to 143 lbs Clean and Jerk went from around 165 lbs to 212 lbs. Also front and back squat has really improved. I highly recommend this to the beginner lifter.
Giovanni Delli santi
September 26 2016
my first program for c.f.
Bryan Torano
February 2 2017
Hey,

What does HS means?

Thanks,

Bryan
HS means Heavy Single. You can find more information on reading the programs on our help page here

Alyssa Sulay
Patrick Sheldon
April 22 2017
Beginner lifter here, zero athletic background. 3rd training cycle i ever ran (after the beginner template + quick & classic). Lifts went from 60/70kg~, innaccurate maxes but technique wasnt there to go higher, to SOLID 75/95kg at my second meet, and possibly good for more. Back squat from 110 to 125kg. Testing front squat later today, expecting at least 100 since I can clean that now apparently. Great programming, really helped me strengthen all the different portions of my pulls and definitely helped my overhead strength. Clear and concise, well-balanced cycle.
Jacob Micoud
July 6 2017
Is the Table in the bottom right the results you should expect to see? If so why does it say I can add 40 kg to my Snatch without lifting much more than my current max for 12 weeks? Programming confuses me.
What table? And no, you're not going to add 40kg to your snatch in 12 weeks.

Greg Everett
Stefan Anthonijsz
October 26 2017
Through Crossfit at age 28 I first came in contact with olympic weightlifting. Now at age 30 I only focus on olympic weightlifting after completing the Eleiko Strength Coach course to work on my technique.

Started with the starter program and now I am busy with the 12 weeks basic cycle. In only about two months since the Eleiko course and training with the Catalyst Athletics programs, my snatch went from 47 kg to 72 kg and my c&j from 80 kg to 100 kg!!

Thank you guys so much for the awesome programming and all the motivational articels and videos!
Stefan - That is so great! Keep up the hard work!
 

Alyssa Sulay
Malte Svanborg
March 25 2020
Hi guys,
Just bought the program and really excited to get started. It says I can find via app, but I am not able to see it on TrainHeroics. Could you help me out?

One other thing, the spreadsheet version of the program does not included supplementary work such as rows, sit-ups etc. Is there a way to make this happen?

Thanks and best,
Malte
Malte - Unfortunately purchasing the program on the website does not give you access to the train heroic app. As far as the spreadsheet goes, you can access the supplementary work on the web version. So sorry for the inconvenience!

Alyssa Sulay