Intermediate Template 1

Fitness. Diving. Lifestyle.

Intermediate Template 1

Experience Level: 2-4 years

Frequency: 3 days a week, 1 hour each session

Type of template: Training splits, compound and accessory movements

This template is for those who have completed around 2 years of training, (consistently going 3 times per week and training with intent and intensity, if you spend all your time in between sets on your phone then go back to square one). 

The time frame is just a guideline and if you feel you have fully mastered the basic compound movements and are lifitng respectable weight (such as 1.5 times bodyweight for deadlift and squat) then feel free to move on when you are ready.

The characteristics of this template are to:

  • Start lifting in the lower rep ranges with more weight for the compound movements as your form is solid and you have a good mind-muscle connection
  • Start adding accessory movements to support the development of your compound lifts as well as targeting specific muscle groups that may be weaker
  • Start splitting your training to focus on particular areas each session; as you are lifting heavier now you will want to focus your energy on a specific body part or area each session to get the most out of it.

We’re going to stick with the 3 times a week routine, as recovery is still important between sessions.

However as you progress you may want to add another session each week to either spread your workload or do extra work on a weaker movement or body part.  It depends on how you feel on your days off and what your individual recovery ability is like.

To begin with though you can start this 3 day routine which splits your training into three areas; Upper body with a focus on front muscles (chest biceps etc.), lower body for legs and a second Upper body session that focuses on back muscles.

Day 1 Upper body front (anterior) emphasis
Exercise Sets Reps Notes
5 minute warm up on exercise bike and loose stretching Light stretching; just get the muscles warm
1. Dumb bell bench press/ barbell bench press 4 Pyramid set 12,10,8,6 Pyramid allows use of progressively heavier weight; use a spotter if necessary
2. Standing overhead shoulder press 4 6 to 8 Keep core tight and engaged, chest up
3. Dips 4 AMRAP* Don’t go beyond parallel with your upper arm.   If you can do four sets of 15 with good form then add weight using a chain
4. Seated dumb bell bicep curls 4 10 Sitting reduces the swing and makes it target the bicep more; concentrate on the contraction
5. Hanging leg raise 3 AMRAP Smooth and controlled; if you can try and hang from a bar to increase difficulty
 *AMRAP = As Many Reps As Possible
Day 2 Lower body
Exercise Sets Reps Notes
5 minute warm up on exercise bike and loose stretching Light stretching; just get the muscles warm; body weight squat
1. Barbell back squat 4 Pyramid set 12,10,8,6 Pyramid allows use of progressively heavier weight; use a spotter if necessary
2. Lying hamstring machine 4 8 to 10 Control weight throughout
3. Lunges 4 10 each leg Start with bodyweight, lightly touch the ground with the knee (or as far as you can currently go feeling a stretch). Once bodyweight is comfortable you can add weight by holding dumbbells
4; Glute Hamstring Developer (GHD) 3 AMRAP Control descent and hold in top position for 1 second each rep.
5. Weighted side crunches 2 AMRAP Control each rep
Day 3 All body back (posterior) emphasis
Exercise Sets Reps Notes
5 minute warm up on exercise bike and loose stretching Light stretching; just get the muscles warm
1. Deadlift 4 5 to 6 Keep reps below 6 so that form stays strong
2. Pull-ups 4 AMRAP If you can perform 15-20 good controlled reps (when fresh, not for all 4 sets), you can start to add weight
3. Chest-supported rows 4 12,10,8,6 Don’t jerk the weight, keep chest in contact with pad at all times and feel the lats move the weight
4. Close/wide grip cable pulldown 4 10 Don’t overload the weight, this is just a finisher to fatigue the upper bakc to finish
5. Press-ups 3 AMRAP This is not to specifically train the chest, it is to balance the stress that youn have put on your back and work your core, so keep all reps slow and controlled, with a 2 second down, 1 second up rhythm

Self-regulation at the intermediate level

Beacause at this level you have probably built up a solid foundation of muscle and have a good understanding of training you can start to self-regulate your training.

This means that you can judge for yourself how you feel and perform each session based on your specific energy level that day: you don’t have to stick ridgedly to all the sets, reps and order proscribed above but can use them as a guideline.

For example there are always days where you feel stronger than others; this could be because you ate better for the couple of days preceeding the workout or you got more sleep, or mentally you feel fresher.

In these sessions feel free to push the weight or the reps and sets higher, and maximise your energy.

On the flipside there will be days where you feel more lethargic or lack energy for whatever reason; while it is important to still go on days like this (don’t use tiredness as an excuse) recognise the fact that you won’t be pushing any personal bests that day and so avoid injury by being conservative in your weight selection or reduce the sets (for example the deadlift is very taxing  on the central nervous system and the entire body; if you feel tired or sore it is advisable to lower the weight from what you normally use and maybe less reps).

Training like a madman is not required

Having put a fairly considerable amount of time into training by this point, you may feel that you want to push yourself super-hard, and really up the ante with weight and volume.  While I totally advocate pushing yourself, make sure you don’t go too far.

Fitness media often encourages the “train at all costs” mentality and how you should be pushing to the limit every session, even to the point of being physically sick.

While this seems admirable it is not really the best attitude in terms or avoiding injury or making long term progress, especially when you are natural.

I used to subscribe wholeheartedly to the concept, and used to deadlift until I sometimes got a noseblood or my eyes were bloodshot from the effort.

While that looks hardcore, it is not really healthy and unless you are trying to push a world record (in which case over exertion is probably your last problem considering to get to that level you will be doing a lot of drugs) there is no real point; at that level of effort your form will definitely be off and you risk injury.

It also means that you will take longer to recover from each workout and so have a knock on effect on your following sessions.

Mainstream fitness media loves the idea of weight training being akin to a life or death situation, like by squatting until you puke is a badge of honour that makes you better than those not mentally strong enough to do the same.

In reality who really cares?  Training should be about you finding and pushing your own boundaries, at your own pace but importantly to enrich your life by being healthy and strong. 

For information on how to perform the exercises listed follow this link for an excellent site; I will also be posting more specific breakdowns and tips for each exercise in due course, so look out for those.

More templates will be posted soon, for all levels.

Download the Intermediate Template 1 here; print out and use to continue to record your progress.

If something is not clear or you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment, e-mail or post on the Facebook page.

Keep it going!


One Response

  1. […] you want some tips and a routine to follow, have a look at my Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced […]

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