The Summer Swolstice: The Best Strength Program I’ve Ever Used

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This is a 10-week program to improve strength and power, especially in CrossFit athletes. This program will not prepare you for the CrossFit Open or Regionals, and it sure as shit won’t get you to the CrossFit Games. What it will do, as experienced by myself and eight other athletes that completed it, is develop some serious size and strength for intermediate to advanced lifters. I developed this program after completing a traditional German Volume Training (GVT) program. GVT didn’t work well for me. I didn’t put on significant muscle mass through hypertrophy, and the low weights necessary for the 10×10 workouts left me weaker than when I began–no longer accustomed to moving heavy weight.

I then found this article by Charles Poliquin on “Advanced German Volume Training.” I took his core concept and organized it into a mesocycle that also supported my other training goals: olympic weightlifting and power-athlete conditioning. I also love strongman training, so I incorporated it into my conditioning sessions whenever possible.

The result is what you see below. I’ve shown the template in great detail, leaving you very little guesswork. All you have to do is fill-in the conditioning workouts. I’ve even included the guidelines I used when selecting conditioning workouts for this cycle.

If you’d like to see exactly how we executed the template, with everything 100% filled-in, you can do that by going to this link. Start at Summer Swolstice Week 9 and work your way forward. Weeks prior to Week 9 are traditional GVT we tried, which I do not recommend. If you do this you might notice the actual program we executed varies a tiny bit from this template in the early weeks. That’s because I’m human. I learn as I go, and I’m smarter now about how to do this than when we started. This template is representative of the pattern I found after the first couple weeks, and how I would do it if I were starting all over again.

This is a demanding program. Most days in the gym will be at least two hours long. If you just have an hour a day to spend on fitness and just want to be generally healthy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, then this program is not for you. This program is for the athlete whose primary hobby is training.

I hope you enjoy the program! I’m looking forward to 1-rep max testing in the coming weeks to fully realize our progress. Here’s a few results we can already quantify. Not bad for just 10 weeks!

  • Male Athlete: Bench Press: From 275# 1RM to 305# 1RM. Front Squat: From 295# 1RM to 300# x 2. Deadlift: From 425# 1RM to 435# x 3. GHR: From impossible to #15 x 3.
  • Female Athlete: Bench Press: From 165# 1RM to 175# 1RM. Front Squat: From 190# 3RM to 210# 3RM. Shoulder Press: From 105# 1RM to 100# x 2.
  • Male Athlete: Shoulder Press: From 200# 1RM to 200# x 4. Front Squat: From 350# 1RM to 335# x 3.
  • Male Athlete: Shoulder Press: From 130# 2RM to 135# x 3 for 10 sets. Bench Press: From 245# 1RM to 275# 1RM. Back Squat: From 325# 1RM to 310# x 2 for 8 sets.

  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. And if you use the program I’d love to hear your feedback and results.

Summer Swolstice Template