Muscle Gain Challenge

Can I do extra work or still do the programming at my CrossFit box or is it way too much?

You absolutely can still do WODs at your home box if that’s what you would like to do!  Just out of curiosity why do you want to do that?  Do you feel like you’re going to need extra volume or do you just want to stay social and keep having fun training with your current group (totally normal)?

 You can do extra but in all reality you probably won’t need to do extra.  We’ve had many very motivated people ask in the past and they all end up just sticking to the program once they experience the workouts.

We’re not telling you that you can do extra stuff here and there because you are more than welcome too, but you likely won’t need to do extra to make progress and get great results.

What is tempo (31X2)?

What does 30X0 or 2112 mean if it it’s written next to a movement?

The numbers describe the tempo or time it should take to complete each stage of the lift.

Usually tempo can be written as such:

Back Squat 5RM  @ 31X2

This means you would find a 5 rep max back squat at a 31X2 tempo.

Now what do the numbers mean?

The first number represents how many seconds it should take for  the eccentric loading or “lowering or downward” phase of the lift. So the “3” would tell you to take 3 seconds lowering yourself down into the bottom of a squat.

The second number represents the number of seconds to pause in the bottom position. So for this example you would spend 1 second in the dead bottom of the squat. Count 1…1000.

The third number represents the number of seconds for the “ascending or upward” phase. Sometimes, but not always, this is written as an X. The X stands for “eXplosive”. You’ll try to raise weight or stand up as fast as possible. If a number is written, the you would spend that number of seconds coming up. For this example, since there’s an X, explode out of the bottom.

The forth number represents the number of seconds paused at the top position. For this example you would pause 2 seconds at the top of the squat before starting over again.

What if it’s a pull up or a deadlift where the first phase of the lift is upward?

The first number is still the eccentric, the 2nd number is still the pause at the bottom, the 3rd is still the concentric and the 4th is still the pause at the top.

Pullups 21X3

  • Pause 1 second at the dead hang
  • Explode upwards
  • Pause 3 seconds with the chin over the bar
  • Take 2 seconds to lower
  • Pause 1 second at the dead hang

Deadlift 3032

  • Take 3 seconds to lift the weight to standing
  • Pause 2 seconds at the top
  • Take 3 seconds to lower the weight to the floor
  • No pause at the floor (touch and go)






What do I do if I get injured?

Injuries unfortunately can happen and it sucks when they do but we can try to help as much as possible!  If you ever have to modify or cannot do a movement because of an injury please contact help@barbellshrugged.com and let us know as soon as possible.

My gym won’t let me do my own program, what can I do?

That’s unfortunate and although we haven’t had much of a problem with that in the past, it may be an issue. Our suggestion would be to try to present it to your coaches in a way that shows you’re making a conscious, mature, motivated decision then maybe they’ll let you do your own thing.

How long do the workouts take?

The full workout from warmup to end should take 60-90 minutes if you are timing your rest periods well. Although some workouts will take shorter or longer than others. Plan to be training for about 90 minutes.

Sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to train. Can I cut the workout short?

Absolutely. Reduce the conditioning portion of the workout first. If you are really short on time just come in and do the squatting portions of the strength workout.

I missed a workout. Can I make it up or double up workouts on a single day?

Life happens and sometimes you will have to miss a workout or two here and there but no worries! Don’t worry about making it up or doubling up the workouts on a single day, just skip it and pick up the program where it currently is. If you missed workouts for an extended period (more than 2 weeks), then it may be worth going back and picking up the program where you left off. If you are ever unsure on what to do to, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to advise you on how to proceed after an extended lapse in training.

What kind of equipment do I need?

For the most part all you need is a barbell, bumper plates, a squat rack and a pull-up bar . Having some kettle-bells, rings and a GHD machine are also good to have, but not absolutely required. If there is a movement programmed that you cannot perform because you don’t have the necessary equipment, we can try to come up with an alternative movement so don’t hesitate to contact us at help@barbellshrugged.com.

My gym won’t let me do my own program, what can I do?

That’s unfortunate and although we haven’t had much of a problem with that in the past it may be an issue. Our suggestion would be to try to present it to your coaches in a way that shows you’re making a conscious, mature, motivated decision then maybe they’ll let you do your own thing. Here’s an example of what your weeks will look like if they’re interested.

Will the Muscle Gain Challenge prepare me for the Open/Regionals?

Long term… yes.  Getting stronger should be the number 1 goal of your off season training (just as it is for the vast majority of Games Athletes these days).

Short term (like the 8 weeks leading up to competition)… no.  You’ll need to up the conditioning (we can help with that too) to get in shape to compete.  We have come out with a program called “Road To Regionals” that will be focused on getting you ready to compete in the Open and Regionals when the time is appropriate. You are able to switch over any time you like.

I’m overseas. Will I receive the workouts in time?

The workouts are emailed for the following day everyday at 1pm Central time. For example: you will receive Monday’s workout on Sunday to ensure that even people overseas can have the workout in time. The workouts for the entire week are sent on Saturday at 10am and are located on the daily page.

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I can’t train on the days you have listed. Can I train on different days?

Yes! The workout days listed on the program are just what we recommend. As long as you are spacing out your rest days (not doing two consecutive rest days) you can certainly adjust your training days. For example: you could train Tuesday, train Thursday, rest Friday, Train Saturday, train Sunday and rest Monday.

Can I split the strength and conditioning portions of the WOD into two separate sessions?

Absolutely! If the workouts are taking too much time for you to complete them in a single session or you feel that you perform better by splitting them up and you have the schedule to do that, feel free to split them up. We still recommend doing the strength portion of the workout before the conditioning.

How will I know how to do the movements if you’re not here to personally coach me?

The quick answer is that we’ll be exchanging videos. We link videos of the the movements as well as videos that explain the techniques to you. Then for the movements you’re having trouble with, if you are an Rx or Pro level member, you can video yourself (probably with your phone), and post the video to the Facebook group. Then a coach can watch the video and let you know how you can improve.

Do I have to make a Facebook account to receive coaching?

If you are subscribed as an Rx or Pro level member you will gain access to a private group on Facebook. This is where you will receive coaching on your lifts. So yes if you would like to receive feedback on your lifts you will need to make a Facebook account. If you’re not ok with putting your identity on Facebook you can make a “fake name” account. Just make sure to let us know that’s you so we can add you to the group.

How would you like us to record our lifts?

Views directly from a frontal view (45 degree angle) help the most with assessing bar path and position. Views from directly in front or from the side are also helpful. At the beginning of the program it will be best to record most of your lifts from the frontal view. Later or when a coach specifically asks, you can record some from directly in front. Here are two examples of lifts recorded from the side and frontal views. For either view, try to get the entire body (including the feet) into the frame of the video.

How would you like us to post our lifts?

You can upload the video directly to the Facebook group or upload the video to YouTube and copy/paste the link to the Facebook group (best). If you use YouTube, make sure you list the video as “public” or “unlisted” so the coaches and the rest of the people in the Facebook group can see. Please do not send us videos hosted on the Coach’s Eye app/site/link when linking videos on the Facebook group. It’s fine for personal use but we prefer either a YouTube video or the video linked directly in Facebook.

How and when will we receive our feedback for our lifts?

Usually the coach(es) will give written feedback by typing comments directly into the comment box under the post. If the coach feels the need for a more detailed explanation, the coach may make a screencast and post the YouTube link in the comment box.

Making a screencast is up to the coach’s discretion and usually you will receive written comments.

Generally, you should receive feedback within 1-2 days.

Sometimes there can be a lot of traffic on the group page. If a couple of days go by and we haven’t gotten back, please just post again or tag your coach’s name in the original post.

I don’t feel that I have good technique and I don’t want to post my videos. Can I email them to a coach for personal review?

We really discourage this. The reason being that the Facebook group’s purpose is to foster a sense of community and group learning within the program.

More than likely, someone else in the group is having the same difficulties you may be having. Feedback given may benefit not only you but maybe someone else in the group.

So don’t be embarrassed or shy!

How should I eat if you want to do the program but get leaner instead of bigger?

Regarding your question:  For the most part, WHAT you eat and WHEN you eat it will be the same as the others in the program.  However, for you, given that you want to get leaner rather than get bigger, will simply be eating less at each meal.  It’s really that simple.

How do I do the program as a vegetarian

As a vegetarian gaining the weight can be a little more challenging but is definitely doable given that you are eating enough dairy and eggs to get your protein.  Pescetarians will have an easier time. Being vegetarian and doing the 6MMGC is definitely nothing to worry about.


Here’s a video of a guy who is also vegetarian and got great results!

How much should I be eating?

Haha A LOT! Seriously though, it will depend. The goal is to put on 1lb of bodyweight per week for 26 weeks. So the answer is eat as much food as is required to put on 1lb of weight per week. How much food that is will depend on the individual. You will track your weight everyday so you should know how much you weigh week to week. If you aren’t reaching the 1 lb goal you probably need to eat a little more. If you are gaining more than 1 lb you can probably scale back on the quantity.

How do I log my nutrition on Wodify?

If you are a Pro level member you will be able to have your food log reviewed by a coach on a weekly basis. David Gross our Road to Regionals coach made a screencast explaining how to log your nutrition for review on Wodify here. Just remember to make sure you select your designated coach as your nutrition coach!

If you aren’t a Pro level subscriber you can still log your nutrition the same way; however it won’t be reviewed by a coach.

What food should I eat during the Challenge?

Eat whole, unprocessed foods like lean meat, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts. Eat what you like and what you can tolerate!

If you are trying to put on mass you should also add starchy carbs and dairy (if you can tolerate it) to your diet. We’ll give you all the nutritional information you need to put on mass!

If you are looking for help on what to buy at the store, here is a shopping list with some example food items.

Click here for the Muscle Gain Challenge Shopping List.

What’s the difference between Solo, Rx and Pro

There are 3 separate membership options:


  • Level 1 – Solo:

    • You get daily workouts and support materials, videos, recipes, etc

    • You also get access to the monthly live online Q&As but

    • no coaching on a day to day basis (but still customer service obviously)

  • Level 2 – Rx:

    • You get everything that you get with the Level 1 – Solo package

    • Group coaching in a private Facebook group as well as

    • Performance tracking with Wodify performance tracking software

  • Level 3 – Pro:

    • You get everything that you get with the Level 1 – Solo package and Level 2 – Rx package

    • + individual coaching including weekly nutrition reviews and monthly Skype calls with a coach

I track my own workouts do I still need to use Wodify?

If you are Rx or Pro you will receive access to Wodify. We HIGHLY recommend you use Wodify to track your workouts. The features on Wodify will allow you to graphically track your progress on movements/workouts, log your nutrition, and allow you to see how others in the group are performing compared to you. A little friendly competition is always good motivation!

I want to change/update my credit card, how do I do that?

Any changes to billing can be done by emailing our customer service at help@barbellshrugged.com or going to your account info page on the member site.

When will I get access to Maximum Mobility and the Faction Foods Nutrition Course?

We’ll be sending you all of the Faction Foods Nutrition Course and Maximum Mobility videos throughout the program as homework on your Wednesday and Sunday rest days. You’ll get access through the membership site to the full products as well for 12 months after the challenge is completed. All seminars will be available for download at the conclusion of the challenge.

After the Muscle Gain Challenge, will I be able to move back to the standard CF workout from the CF Strength biased workout? If I go back to the standard workouts will the bodyweight and strength be maintained?

Assuming by saying “standard CF workouts” you don’t mean “just doing metcons” and do still intend to do heavy cleans, squats and deadlifts (etc) at least 2-3 days per week then yes, absolutely, you will keep your new found strength!

You will be stronger, the Rx weights will feel lighter (smaller percentage of your new 1 rep max) and after a few weeks of focusing on your conditioning you’ll be able to MetCon much, much faster.

That’s how all the best CF athletes do it!