How to Gain Weight on Crossfit

CrossFit is a training system designed to make you a better all-round athlete by increasing your strength, cardio and muscular endurance, power, speed and mobility. Creator Greg Glassman realized that traditional bodybuilding and endurance routines were both missing fundamental movements and high-intensity cardio such as sprints, so he came up with the CrossFit system. While it is not designed as a bodybuilding-specific program, you can gain muscle and weight following a CrossFit routine.

Young man spotting a woman lifting a barbell. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Picking the Workouts

The CrossFit website publishes a different workout every day but also has benchmark workouts. These are sessions that have stood the test of time, where competitors often battle between each other for the fastest times and heaviest weights. These benchmark sessions vary greatly, so picking the right ones to gain muscle and weight is vital. Lower-repetition training with heavier weights lends itself more to gaining muscle than increasing fitness, making The Seven and King Kong go-to CrossFit benchmarks for weight gain. The seven involves seven rounds of seven exercises for seven reps each. The exercises are handstand pushups, thrusters with 135 pounds, knees to elbows, 245 pound deadlifts, burpees, kettlebell swings and pullups. King Kong is three rounds of a 455 pound deadlift, two muscle-ups, three squat cleans with 250 pounds and four handstand pushups.

Total It Up

Nothing will pack on muscle like getting stronger, and aiming to increase your total is the ideal method of gaining strength with CrossFit. The Total is CrossFit's version of a powerlifting meet. You get three attempts to lift your maximum weight for one rep on the back squat, standing overhead barbell press and deadlift. Perform this once every eight to 12 weeks to gauge your strength progress.

Eat, Eat and Eat Some More

Gaining weight has as much to do with diet as it does training. You must eat a surplus of calories to bulk up. CrossFit recommends a diet of around 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs and 30 percent fat, with minimal sugars and starches. Eat plenty of higher-calorie healthy foods such as nuts and seeds, oily fish, olive oil and steak, along with fruits and vegetables.

Add in Auxiliaries

CrossFit workouts may be based around moves you wouldn't see much in a regular gym, such as Olympic lifts, kettlebell exercises, jumps and gymnastic-type moves, there's no reason why you can't add more traditional muscle-building exercises. These are known as auxiliary exercises, notes CrossFitter and former bodybuilder Josh Bunch, and they are designed to bring up lagging body parts. Once a week, schedule a session to focus on bulking up certain weaker muscle groups to aid your quest for weight gain. This session could encompass areas that CrossFit workouts tend to neglect, such as direct arm training, calf work and bench pressing.

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