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Bench Press

Fitness: 3x5 across
leave room to go up over the next 6 weeks

Performance: 5/3/1 "5 week"
65%x5, 75%x5, 85%x5+

Add 5 lbs to your Training Max from last cycle.

Post loads to comments.

5 Rounds For Time of:
15 Kettlebell Swings, 72lbs/53lbs
10 Hand Release Push-Ups
5 L-Pull-Ups

For the Push-Ups, think of your belly button being the last thing to touch the floor on the way down and the first part of you to leave the ground on the way up.
If you can't perform L-Pull-ups, substitute 5 normal pull-ups or 10 Ring Rows

Post time and Rx to comments.

Crystal Castles Gets Her First Muscle Up!

Understanding "Fitness" Strength Programming

Our "Fitness" strength programming follows linear progressions using sets across for each lift. For those of you just jumping on board or who might be a little confused, here's the 101 on what we're talking about.

Essentially, "Sets Across" just means that you'll be doing the same weight for all your work sets on a given lift. For example, if you're Back Squatting 3x5, you'll do 3-4 warm-up sets at increasing weights and then perform all 5 reps of all 3 work sets at the same weight. This is in contrast to "Maximal Effort" lifting in which you'd be gaming for a maximal weight at a given rep range.  Many of our newer athletes are not ready neurologically or structurally for this type of lifting and need a ramp up period of sets across to avoid injury and set themselves up for larger gains in the future.

At CFSBK, we pick a pool of 3-5 movements and rotate them for a period of 6 weeks. Because you know that you'll get 6 or 12 exposures to each of these lifts over the next few weeks, you can game out a strategy for successful lifting sessions through the entire cycle.  Here are two examples of what we'd love to see in your log books at the end of the cycle.

Week 1 75x5x3
Week 2 80x5x3
Week 3 85x5x3
Week 4 87.5x5x3
Week 5 90x5x3
Week 6 92.5x5x3

Week 1 135x5
Week 2 145x5
Week 3 155x5
Week 4 160x5
Week 5 165x5
Week 6 170x5

This hypothetical athlete completed all 6 exposures and was able to increase their weights each time.  They never went to failure because they had a plan and were not greedy with weight.  The next time these lifts come up, they'll be able to start at the 4 or 5 week weight and continue to linearly increase their numbers.  Again, with sets across, you'll have to put your lifting into a larger perspective than just what you're doing that day.  You're building a foundation of strength, one brick at at time.

How do I know what weight to start with?
Simply start with something that feels light. Too light.  If you pick a weight that has you struggling to finish your reps the first couple weeks, you've gone too heavy.  Remember that you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of weight lifting and there's no need to rush into big weights.  If you've had some lifting exposure and want to try sets across, take your existing max at that rep range and subtract %~20 off of it for a starting weight.

What if I start missing reps?
Eventually you will start to miss reps, ideally this won't be for a full 2-3 cycles of the movement in question.  When this happens, you need to ask yourself and a Coach the following questions: "Was I too greedy with weight?", "Is my technique/mobility on this movement sufficiently developed to handle larger loads?" "Am I having an off day? Did I plan my warm-up sets correctly?" Once we dig a little, we can find out what's going on and help you strategize to keep moving forward.  Sometimes you just need to try the same weight again the following week and sometimes you'll have to drop some weight off the bar and start building back up.

To learn more about how to trouble shoot your linear, read our related article, "Troubleshooting Your Linear Progression"

What if I don't come often enough to hit all of these lifting sessions?
If you can only make it to CFSBK a 2 times per week, choose one of the movements (Ideally one squat and one opper body movement) and focus on them for the next 6 weeks. For a 3 time a weeker, you would choose the same movements as above and then one other lift that you want to develop. Try to stick to the same schedule for the entire cycle to get the most out of the strength programming.  If you don't know what to do, consult with one of the coaches and we'll steer you in the right direction.

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Reader Comments (33)

Awesome Crystal! Congrats!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

Nice, that's awesome you got Crystal's muscle-up on video!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlan O'D

Well done Crystal - awesome! I knew you had it.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

That's easily the best "first muscle up" video I've seen. Strict and organized. Congrats, Crystal, well done.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFox

During my first muscle up, I'm pretty sure I looked like a fish flopping around on the rings. Awesome job, Crystal.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

way to go Crystal!
The hard work you put in shows, as Fox commented, really well done.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterk2h2

Congrats Crystal!

Bench - 160x5, 185x5, 210x11 A little off last cycle, left at least one in the tank.

WOD in 6:59 Rx'd - Went American with the KBS, which made this one harder than expected

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan L

7am with McDowell. Five hour drive back from Cape Cod last night left me a bit stiff and unable to wake up for the 6am class. Bench: 185x5, 210x5, 240x10. WOD in 9:10 Rx. No gas. See previously mentioned car ride, insufficient sleep and over-indulgence in chocolate coated almonds.

Beautiful first muscle-up, Crystal.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

I know I'm supposed to wait until the end of the day to say thanks everyone for acknowledging my accomplishment, but thank you everyone for making CFSBK my favorite place on earth.

David, I'm so glad you made the video after all. Thank you!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrystal

Crystal! WOWZA!

7 AM w/McDowell. Bench 82x5, 95x5, 107x10. Keeping same training max from last Wendler cycle (which is slightly above training max that my 1RM would calculate to) because the last Wendler rep-out was a sh*t show for me.

WOD: 8:24, 3 strict pullups/round for first 3 rounds, ring rows for 4th and 5th rounds. Otherwise Rx. Shoulders were BURNED.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Crystal, wicked impressive! Cheers!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris A.

I was fortunate enough to witness the MU live. Fantastic job and congrats again Crystal!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay R

So cool, Crystal. You make that transition look like a piece of cake. Congratulations again!!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLauren B

Crystal you finally hit the muscle up! Congrats; I saw all the practice and attempts you were putting in!

I'll see the CFSBK family for the fall semester!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob M.

Obviously it was the super chill Sunday evening music & the 3+ iPhones that were trained on you to help make this moment possible. (I kid I kid, this is a MU brought to you by strength, practice, and kick ass ring control).


Congrats again!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterasta

Nice work Crystal!! I think that was one of the goals you announced at the first rings class a few weeks ago, no? Glad to see you pull through and chip away!

6am class with McD. I started off this bench press cycle at 130, 5lb up from where I left off in the last cycle, and I quickly sensed the big challenges ahead. I really had to push through the last two reps, so maybe I'll keep it there for the next press as an attempt at finishing the cycle proud. In any case this was a good 20lbs heavier than my lifts 3 months ago when I was aimlessly wandering around a weight room floor. I'm grateful for the fresh programming at CFSBK.

Thanks Joy for keeping me honest on my pull-ups during the W.O.D! 9:37 on this because I kept stalling with the pull-ups towards the end :/ I did the DIY 800M row as some sort of minuscule prep for the 5000M I need to manage for this Sunday's rowathon. Should be interesting...

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosue

Morning *wake me up* work:
"Tabata" toes to bar - no kip: 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Afternoon Workout:
7 Round to Snatch + 3 Push Presses (snatch grip), rest 90 seconds
95 + 3 push presses
115 + 3 push presses
115 + 3 push presses
120 + 3 push presses
125 + 3 push presses
135 + 3 push presses
140F + 3 push presses

High Bar Back Squats
6x6x225, rest exactly 2 minutes

3 rounds for time of:
50 KBS@45lbs
100 Double-Unders

Finished in: 13:53

Round 1: KBS - unbroken in 1:19/ Double Unders - sets of 20 in 2:01
Round 2: KBS - sets of 10 in 3:13/Double Unders - sets of 20 in 2:29
Round 3: KBS - sets of 10 in 2:44/Double Unders - sets of 30 until 60, then sets of 10 in 2:12

No bailing on the snatch -- getting stronger just form bringing the bar down... Failed on the final snatch at 140, cleaned the bar and did the push presses.
Squats feel great -- loving the volume and the position of high bar. Can really drive out the hole even at the heavier weights (did 6x6x265 last week which was a miscalculation on my part and even that was fast out of the hole).
Metcon was brutal -- I am incredibly deconditioned. Will have to put some time into double unders...

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan Rx'd

Crystal -- that was awesome!!!

A little extra CF love after reading this article and seeing why Crossfit seems to be breeding community building and philanthropy -


June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMel

TM Volume Day
Better than last week

Also better than last week

Not clicking that Huff Post link >\

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFox

CONGRATS Crystal!! what a great accomplishment!! SO COOL!!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMare (aka Marian)

CONGRATS Crystal!! what a great accomplishment!! SO COOL!!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMare (aka Marian)

Why do L pull-ups make it so much harder to start from the bottom of the pull-up?

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon Shea

Front squat Doubles
319, 319

275x5, 280 for 5 to finish off the last two sets

WOD@32kg- Only got through 4 rounds.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL



color me inspired!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWhit H

Bench, Wendler 5 week:

145x5, 165x5, 185x10. Happy with that 10, felt like I was really driving through my heels.

WOD: 4 rds at 1.5 pood, plus 7 KB swings. Pre-swing bracing strategy made that bell feel better and lighter than it ever has. Back was fine. How about that.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel W

eye of the tiger, bitches.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermichele ma belle

Well, apparently I have been in serious la la land and have forgotten what it was like to do crossfit after 6 months of recovering/training on my own.

Joined group class today at 4:30
wu: 45x10, 95x5, 125x2
work: 137.5x3x5
notes: YEAH! Sorry for yelling on the last rep. I honestly had no intention of doing so. I failed my last rep on this weight last thursday, so I'm very pleased I hit it today. Last rep was grindy, left arm wasn't sure it was gonna do it, but I managed to work it out w/some good encouragement from Arturo.

Paired w/Rickke for WOD
tried to be conservative so did 20kg and pullups. quickly realized that w/strict pullups for time after two other movements, I needed a green band. Hit the time cap of 10min w/1pullup to go. Pushups were really shitty after the kb swings, my triceps were tanked and it was hard to keep form crisp w/hand release. I kept wondering why Rickke was yelling at me and I just wanted him to go away, then I had that realization that this is crossfit. (Thankfully he stuck w/me on it and I adjusted back into the mentality.) At least I did the kb swings unbroken.
Was nice to be there and cheer him on. Impressive thing to see Rx'd w/good form.

June 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

I'd just like to state this place looks cool and I would like to have a party there:

June 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

Congrats Crystal!

Bench: 68x5x3
WOD: 20kg KB swings with strict HR push-ups (!!) and chin-ups. Decided to go heavy and slow, knowing that I wouldn't finish under the cap. Ended up getting 3 rounds plus 5 push-ups. Had a blast doing it. Treated myself to some salted caramel Steve's ice cream because it's Monday and I'm a grown up :)

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKMo

Benching: 160x5x2, 160x9

Accessory WOD with 24kg kb. Finished in 7:39.

@Joel: You sure you have the right weight for your bell above?

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Late night workout
Recovery bench press

Tabata ring rows
13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13 Total: 104

I feel swol!

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan Rx'd


oh and to whom it may concern, the last episode of Mad Men kicked some serious ass.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

Holy cats! Beautiful Muscle up Crystal!!
So frickin graceful!

One day....one day tsk tsk

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmma-Lisa

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