Workout Routines

The 'Linda' WOD Variation for Greater Mass Gains

One famous full-body WOD gets a muscle-building facelift.

Barbell Bentover Row
Per Bernal / M+F Magazine
Per Bernal / M+F Magazine
Duration 60 min
Exercises 3
Equipment Yes

CrossFitters have a nickname for the Linda workout: “three bars of death.” When you see the WOD on paper, it makes sense: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time on the deadlift (1½ times body weight), bench press (body weight), and power clean (¾ body weight).

For a 200-pound guy, that means 300-pound deadlifts, 200-pound bench presses, and 150-pound cleans, 10 sets of each with as little rest as possible. Those last few sets of 3, 2, and 1 reps would be easy if not for those seven grueling sets beforehand. The Linda WOD is a whole-body killer that demands power and strength in the face of fatigue—a combo more conducive to enhancing stamina and grit than promoting mass gains.

Perhaps you’re more interested in packing on muscle than tackling Linda. We get it. That’s why we’re offering a hypertrophy-focused variant, designed by Robert Ciresi Jr., I.S.S.A. Ciresi’s version nixes the deadlifts and cleans in favor of barbell bentover rows and barbell curls. “This will keep the original formula of the workout,” he says, “which is a pull, push, pull. It will also train opposing muscle groups [back and chest via rows and bench presses], which is very powerful for muscle hypertrophy.”

Plus, with this exercise selection, the “three bars of death” theme is maintained. (Thank goodness!) However, you have the freedom of using dumbbells on one or more of the exercises if you prefer. Just make sure the dumbbell rows are performed two arms at a time to keep the workout moving along.

Ciresi recommends performing this routine once a week for six weeks, increasing weight each time. “Add 2½, 5, or 10 pounds to each lift every week,” he says, “and don't change the exercises during that time. Choose your three variations and stick with them.”

Muscular Linda Workout

Exercise 1A

Barbell Bent-Over Row You'll need: Barbell How to
Man Performing Barbell Bentover Row thumbnail
10 sets
10-1* reps
-- rest
*Perform reps as 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Exercise 1B

Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
10 sets
10-1* reps
-- rest
*Perform reps as 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Exercise 1C

Barbell Biceps Curl You'll need: Barbell How to
bicep curl thumbnail
10 sets
10-1* reps
-- rest
*Perform reps as 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
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