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Hunting for an Intermediate Workout Program?

ask dr. bell Jan 13, 2023

Hi Dr. Bell, I have been lifting for about 4 months with a very basic beginner program. I read your articles about periodization and want to try an intermediate workout program. I’m having a difficult time locating something that is not too advanced, but still more intense than what I’m doing now. Your assistance would be most appreciated!

A classic Periodization Program for an Advanced Strength or Power Athlete consists of 4 Phases plus an Active Rest Phase, with each of the 4 Phases lasting 3-4 weeks each and Active Rest lasting 10 days to 2 weeks.

Phase Hypertrophy Strength Power Peaking Active Rest
Sets 3-5 3-5 3-5 1-3 Select other Physical Activity
Reps 8-20 2-6 2-3 1-3
Intensity Low High High Very High

For a beginning or intermediate workout program, I would avoid the Peaking Phase for now and reduce the intensity to look like:

Phase Hypertrophy Strength I Strength II Power Peaking Active Rest
Sets 2-3 2-3 2-3 1-2 1-2 Select other Physical Activity
Reps 15RM 12RM 10RM 8RM 5RM
Intensity Low Low Med High High

*RM = a precise amount of Reps at which you achieve Concentric Failure. 15RM means you fail after you complete the 15th Rep, not 14 or 16, exactly 15.

The Program Design for the above could be 1 or 2 sets of the following exercises performed on alternative days 3 days per week.

  1. Squats
  2. Leg Curls
  3. Chest Press
  4. Lat Pull Down
  5. Shoulder Press
  6. Heel Raise
  7. Arm Curls
  8. Arm Extensions
  9. Crunch (you can do 30+ Reps)

For many more Program Design: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced and to learn to develop your own programs and I highly recommend the IFPA Strength Training Specialist and Periodization Specialist.

You should get to the point that you know enough exercises and enough about Program Design to construct an unlimited number of Programs customized for you and your personal training clients specific needs.

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