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Please keep questions on topic, write clearly, concisely, and don't post diet calculations.

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Christos Verginis
Christos Verginis

Hi,

I m playing basketball once a week, it can be tough (sprinting jumping etc).
So right now I do 3 days weights +1 bball per week. And the next week I do the next workout from this programme, so essentially one cycle takes a bit more than one week. Is this ok for the expected strength gains? Or should I distribute the 2nd day to the other days to keep one cycle per week (in three days) ?
Or should I just remove completely the 2nd day?
(2nd day meaning the low volume +intensity weightlifting day)
Thanks!

Chris

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

If your schedule can allow for 5 days, then I’d train 4 times plus the basketball, but just lower the leg volume a little if necessary for recovery.

You could do is as suggested though. Which is better? You’ll have to try and see, Chris.

Christos Verginis
Christos Verginis

Thanks, I ll try it!

Emanuel
Emanuel

Just finished your book and I can’t be any happier to finally understand how to design my own program.

I also sketched an intermediate(?) power-focus routine with the exercises I enjoy doing the most. I’d like to know your opinion or at least if you see something that is evidently wrong.

[Deleted]

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

I’m sorry Emanuel, I can’t offer to critique a program you’ve designed for yourself. My guide to building training programs is here.

Eric
Eric

A couple of questions:

– every so often I notice that I’m just totally dead after 1 decent work set. I can force myself through more, but I end up exhausted, light headed, and unable to recover for the rest of the workout. After a few weeks of this I just end up giving up and taking a long break (like a month or more). I dont know what this is? Am I overtraining? Should I add in some light cardio (currently do none) or stronger by science article?
– so I took a long break, partially bc of the cause listed above, and just bc the holidays here in the US. I lost 3-5 lbs from my weight before the break. Is this muscle lost from no lifting? At what rate is muscle lost in off times?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Eric, thank you for the question.

To only be able to manage the one set and then be completely shattered is… well, unusual. While I can’t pinpoint what it is either, the top four things that come to mind as potential issues are:

1. Are you breathing sufficiently between reps?
2. Are you under a lot of stress?
3. Are you chronically lacking sleep?
4. Are you eating enough? (Gauge this by your rate of weight loss.)

The first is the most likely issue, given that this appears to be an acute “in the moment” problem, rather than something chronic like the latter three.

If you’re unable to get back to the gym for a month, see a doctor (preferably one who lifts and won’t just say — lift a little lighter) as there may be something medical going on.

Eric
Eric

Sorry, I was a bit unclear. It’s not that it randomly come up once, and then goes away. It’s more like after I’ve had several months or so of good lifting where I’m making progress, I’ll just start noticing that workouts are feeling harder when they shouldn’t. And the only way I seem to be able to get through it is to completely stop lifting for a few weeks to a month.

Not under excessive stress. Sleep is decent. Could be breathing, or may calories too low.

What about rate of muscle loss while not lifting?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

I’m having trouble reconciling the descriptions in your two comments, as the first one is very different.

Based on this second comment, it just sounds like a classic progression problem and the articles listed in the last bullet point in the article (Progress has stalled, what should I do?) should cover it.

What about rate of muscle loss while not lifting?
Slight losses over time are to be expected, but nothing measurable over a couple of weeks. Gradual from there. Something that will return far more quickly that it was originally built when resuming training.

Ben van de Wetering
Ben van de Wetering

What do you do for warm-up with the powerlifting program?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Harry flung himself out from behind the bush and pulled out his wand. “Lumos!” he exclaimed, and the article’s URL became clear: How to Warm Up for Strength Training

Reece Beeching
Reece Beeching

Regarding the deloads, i think i fall into the intermediate progression bracket. For the deloads do i reduce the load of each exercise on each day for the 4th week?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Reece, you’ll see it covered in the progression guidelines article.

Reece Beeching
Reece Beeching

Thanks for the reply. So from what ive read you incorporate a deload every 4 weeks. I see there is mention of a deload week but is there another option? For example; the first session on the 4th week could i have a deload on that day and would that be enough to reap the benefits or is the deload week essential?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

I recommend you deload the whole week.

Gavin
Gavin

Hi guys,
I”ve been following the program diligently and I’m on my 5th wave of progression (around 27 weeks total, starting with linear progression initially). However, I feel like I’m getting to a stage where I cannot keep to the 1st set RPE. For example, for Day 2, I’m up to 165kg back squat for 3×1, which feels easy as singles, but not easy enough that I would ever say my first set is RPE 5. If anything, I would say it was around RPE 7/8.

Any advice on what I should do? I (somehow) get the impression that I could get it up to around 170-175kg for 3×1, but my feeling is that it won’t be at 1st set RPE 5 any time soon.

Many thanks in advance

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Gavin, see the last item in the FAQ on this article — “Progress has stalled, what should I do?

Gavin
Gavin

Hi Andy, thanks for the reply! I had a quick follow-on question related to final sets. Is there any recommendation for final sets RPE?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Just don’t go to failure.

Patrick Kristiansen
Patrick Kristiansen

What does RPE and N/A means? Cant figure it out on my own..

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Patrick,

RPE is explained in the article.

NA means ‘not applicable’ for the exercise. Thank you for asking, I’ve added that explanation.

Paul
Paul

Hey there, Great artcile, is floor press ok to do on the variant day?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Paul. It depends on what you want to do and why.

1) Consider that it’s a shorter range of motion so you won’t be training to explode off the chest, it skews toward training the lock-out position.

2) It’s similar to a board press in this regard, but the board press can be performed with heavy loads a little more safely (you don’t risk banging your elbows on the floor and losing balance), and so is worth consideration as an alternative, assuming what I mentioned in point 1 is what you want.

Paul Cooper
Paul Cooper

Makes a lot of sense. So for training the bottom part would pauses be the best bet?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Exactly.

Javier
Javier

Hi!
So when it says RPE whatever, should I stick to that RPE in every set (even if it means less reps with the same load as the first set) or let the RPE go up as I do more sets?
Thank you!!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Just for the first set.

Mike
Mike

Hi Andy, would you recommend this program to supplement Brazilian Jui Jitsu training 3-4 times a week? To be more specific, an average of one hour low-intensity warm-up/cardio, two hours of low-intensity drilling, and an hour and a half to two and a half hours of high-intensity live rolling per week. Or would you recommend a strength program with lower volume?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Mike. Yes, the latter. Just reduce the frequency to three days (I’d rip out the second day) and possibly the number of sets by one on the others.

jerry
jerry

I like your novice and intermediate powerlifting programs..why not an advanced program.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

We have them in the book.

Bear
Bear

RPE doesn’t work for Me… reading again to see if I can make the conversion to all percentages but if I can’t, I’ll have to move on

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

What do you mean when you say, “doesn’t work”?

Giovanni
Giovanni

Hi, why 3×12 leg curl and not a rep range with a double progression, any advice on which rep range i should use?
If i can train only 3x week can i split day2 in the others days? How would you do this?
Thanks

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Giovanni,

That should be 10-12. As for only being able to train three days, see the movement split vs frequency section in our article on building programs. Re-order accordingly.

Giovanni
Giovanni

I saw it, so should be ok if I split the day2 in this way?
Squat on day4
Bench on day4
Deadlift on day1
Ohp on day 1
Or is better
Squat on day4
Bench on day1
Deadlift on day 1
Ohp on day3
?
Thanks

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Please follow the guidelines on the article I linked you to.

Jack
Jack

Hi Andy,
With the intermediate powerlifting program is it correct that you complete workout in like 30 mins???

Do you add in accessory exercises eg(Biceps/Triceps/Abs) at your own choice???

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Jack,

1) With 3 minutes rest between exercises, you’re looking at 30-40 minutes for the working sets depending on the day, plus time to warm-up initially and then warm-up sets for the exercises. Probably 45mins to 1 hour is closer to the reality of it.

2) You could (see point 4 in the FAQ section at the end of the article), but it’s not a requirement. This is a powerlifting routine, bodybuilding is here.

Chris Sanders
Chris Sanders

Hi Andy, had a question about chin ups.

Day 1 Vertical pull calls for 3/7-9, 1st set 8 RPE. I can do set 1 for 9 reps @ BW (9RPE). Set 2 for 9 reps @ BW (9-9.5RPE). Set 3 for 9 reps @ BW with a strong band (10RPE).

I don’t feel stronger so can’t seem to progress should I follow your guidelines in your “how to progress with chin ups” article?

Also regarding RPE, as you add weight each session do you still stop at 7 RPE 1st set every time?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Chris,

Use a medium band so that the load is the same for all sets and you can keep to the initial RPE guideline.

I’d use the progression method which accompanies this guide rather than the one I have in that chinup article. This keeps things simple as you have one progression rule set for all your exercises.

Chris Sanders
Chris Sanders

Hi Andy , thanks for the advice i will follow the progression rules for this program .

Chris Sanders
Chris Sanders

Hi Andy , had a question about RPE ? How do you keep the prescribed RPE for the compounds after continuously adding weight ? I find as the poundage goes up the 1st sets RPE gets higher . For example as my squat rises in poundage by the time I’ve completed the 1st set I’m at a 9 RPE when it’s written as 8 RPE . I’ve ordered the RPE course and will re read the article on progression . Thanks for your time .

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

As your body adapts you’ll get stronger and the first set RPE will remain the same. If you’re not finding that, try progressing the weights a little less quickly.

Philip
Philip

Hi Andy!
What exercise would be good alternative to leg curls? I like this program, and I feel very comfortable with it, but I don’t have proper machine do them so I have to make some changes. By the way, I’m not growing, but my strenght does and I’m very satisfied with it 🙂

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan
Scott
Scott

Firstly, Great website and information! It has been very helpful..

Just a few questions for the intermediate PL program:
1. Back to back bench mon/Tuesday. Is there a reason for this? Would it not be better to interchange the bench variant in the Saturday with one of the Monday/Tuesday bench ?

2. No Iscolated AB work. Thinking of adding weighted crunches on Saturday?

3. No iscolated tricep. Thinking of supersetting with the chin-ups on Monday? My arms ‘lag’ so wanting to keep some iscolated movements in there..

4. What is the reason for the 3 set training? I am used to training 4-5 sets with similar rep ranges.. but maybe have been overtraining?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Scott, thank you for the questions.

1. With bench pressing of some kind on every day, back to back sessions are inevitable and as you have identified, it’s all about trying to arrange things in the way that allow for recovery the best. The second day is a heavy technique day, which is not a grueling day like the others so we have it there. Feel free to swap things around if you (see first FAQ item at the end of the article).

2. Correct. Unnecessary. Same reasoning as written in the section titled Why There Are No Shrugs or Direct Abdominal Work in the Bodybuilding Programs of the Bodybuilding sample program applies here.

3. Feel free to add anything you are confident you’ll recover and benefit from.

4. We’ve decided to go with a higher frequency, which necessitates a lower set number per session in order to keep the weekly volume the same. You could flip that. This is just one iteration of how a program likely suitable for an intermediate trainee might look. We have an article on how to build training programs which explains these principles and you might find useful.

Shayne
Shayne

Hey there was wondering if you could add assistant work to some of the shorter days like tri extension good morning those type of things lunges

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

You can add anything you like. Just make sure you have a solid reason for it prior (i.e. your previous experience or training data suggests you’d benefit from it), and then when you add something in, track things and make sure it’s contributing to the result you’re after. Otherwise, consider trying this as is for now.

SHAYNE
SHAYNE

Hey Andy I was wondering if you could tell me how to deload this program?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Shayne, deloading is covered in the progression rules. See the intermediate section.

Alex Holmes
Alex Holmes

Hi Andy,
I’ve been using the intermediate bodybuilding program and loving it. I am hoping to try the intermediate powerlifting program shortly. My only question is how one would modify the program for a peak? Or is this program suitable for a competition as is? Thank you!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Alex,
In short, reduce the number of sets performed as you approach competition so you can ramp up the load. We have a chapter on this on the book.

Steve Ransley
Steve Ransley

Hi there

Looks like a great programme. Could you just confirm how you know how many reps to do in the rep range and also which percentage of 1 rep max you should do? Also how and when you should add extra weight? Do you do this once you’ve reached the highest percentage of the 1 rep max and then increase your 1 rep max? Huge thanks

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Steve,

Have a look at the Novice Program article, the section titled ‘How To Progress’ as it covers initial weight selection and progression.

Steve
Steve

Thanks for the swift response! Ive had a look at the article. Sorry if I’m not quite getting it, but when you say 70-75% of 1RM do you do 70%, 72.5% or 75%? And when you have a rep range do you do 6, 7, or 8? Do you increase the intensity before you increase the actual weight? Sorry, if not clear, I’m struggling to get what in my head out on paper.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Steve,

1. The %1RM notation stands for percentage of 1-rep maximum. It is a guideline for how much you’ll load the bar the first time you start the program (only) while achieving the target RPE. We’ve given a range because some people will be higher or lower in that range while sticking to the RPE. After this, you’ll use RPE to guide loading only, not percentage max. So, if the percentage max thing is confusing you, forget that column entirely.

2. The rep range is for use with the intermediate progression rules. When using the novice progression rules, use the middle number. You’ll see this covered here: here.

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