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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.

John
John

Hi Andy,

1. Linear periodization, where progress are independant, should I increase intesity equally ? for example: bench press on hypertrophy day and technique day increase on both days 5lbs / 2,5kg per session. ?

2. RPE on technique day: I can 1RM 100kg on bench, but i cannot bench for example 80kg for 3 reps and still have 5 reps in reserve (maybe 2-3 in reserve),
Could it be, that the intensity / rep range – relation dont fit to everybody ? Or what would be your advice in this case.

3. Progression methods: is it possible to progress with linear progression on one bodypart / exercise and progress another with linear periodization ?
Like benching is becoming quite hard but deadlifts limit seems to be more far away.

4. Technique days: How should I do the exercise? Not sure if every rep should be done slowly or fast and ignore the excentric part of the movement.

Thanks

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi John, thanks for the questions.

1/3. Treat them independently./ Yes, absolutely. Here’s my detailed article on progression: How to Keep Progressing as a Novice and Intermediate Trainee.
2. Correct. The %1RM is just a guideline and you’ll need to lighten the load in your case.
4. Lift explosively with good form for the concentric action, return the weight under control for the eccentric. There’s no need to deliberately slow things.

Greg
Greg

Are there warm up sets included with these workouts? I’ve never just thrown 140 kg on the bar and went at it. I’ve always done a few warm up sets to work up to the working sets. something like 60 kg x 8, 90 kg x 5, 130 kg x 5, then the 140 for 3 sets. Am I doing too much volume when I train this way?

I’ve also dabbled with some Olympic motions just for fun. any harm in including a sots press or some cleans at the end of some days? I also love various variations on farmers walks. Is that too much volume? (I just saw an earlier comment where a guy was training for football and was concerned about too much volume. I’m not playing football so maybe this isn’t an issue for me).

Do you just include the odd 20 min cardio sesh or some ab rolling at the end too?

This program looks great and I’m thinking I’ll try it out. Thanks!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Greg,

1. The purposes of a warm-up are to prepare you for the training to come, potentially enhance the performance of training, and also to hopefully reduce the risk of injury. You want to do enough so that you’re able to perform your best for the exercises and sets programmed, which means without tiring yourself or doing any unnecessary volume. It’s a warmup, not part of your training.

We haven’t listed warm-up sets as that differs from person to person, but if you’d like a more structured guide I have one here: How to Warm Up for Strength Training.

2. Is that too much volume?,
The only way to know is to try and see. However, everything should be added with a purpose, never at random, never based on feeling. This applies for your final question too…
Do you just include the odd 20 min cardio sesh or some ab rolling at the end too?
It’s not common to include ab work with the clients you see on the results page nor cardio. More on cardio here.

Hope that helps.

Nishant
Nishant

Hi, thank you for efforts in putting together a great programme. I had also used the previous version last year with benefit to my training. Just a very lame question but what’s the rationale for not doing close grip bench press as part of the bench variant on the new programme? Thanks!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Increased risk of injury.

“Close-grip bench press should not be performed with an extremely close grip, rather just closer relative to your competition bench press grip width. The closest the grip width should be is a width similar to that of a push up performed with the elbows tucked at your sides.”

Nishant
Nishant

Gotcha. Thanks.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Most welcome, Nishant.

Ivo
Ivo

How would you approach a cutting phase regarding the wave loading progression ? Would you recommend using micro plates to progress in some way ?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Same. / No, but you could.

See “The Difference Between Cutting and Bulking” in this article for more background.

Matthew B
Matthew B

Hi Andy, I’m doing the Intermediate Bodybuilding plan on Rippedbody and was wondering whether you could swap back extensions for good mornings? Do you suggest any alternatives to chest dips? Cheers.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Matthew, have a look at my guide to exercise selection.

Chinmay Tijare
Chinmay Tijare

How significantly would hypertrophy gains differ on this compared to the bodybuilding program?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

I don’t have a way of quantifying that. Anywhere from a tiny amount to a significant amount, depending on genetic response. If the goal is to get optimize for size but get strong at the same time, do our intermediate hypertrophy program.

Tom
Tom

Hi
Few Questions, could I add extra accessory work to this including face pulls? And if I did would this be too much volume if I’m training American football 3-4 x per week? Last one, does this add much muscle mass or is it purely strength, as I’m also looking to gain weight, aswell as the strength to help with my sport?

Thanks in Advance

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

1. You could.
2. Most probably. You’ll have to try and see, or better, consult with your school’s strength coach.
3. Nah, they both go hand in hand for the most part. I’ll quote my buddy Greg here:

“Gaining size (muscle mass) versus gaining strength is really a false dichotomy for most people; they’re two sides to the same coin.

Now, if you’re brand new to lifting, you’ll probably gain strength (weight on the bar) much faster than you gain muscle mass initially. That’s a simple matter of your nervous system learning the movement and figuring out how to effectively use the muscle you currently have (plus a little extra you build) to move the load.

Once you’ve learned a movement, though, there’s only one way to keep those strength numbers ticking up: Those muscles have to grow.

On the other hand, if you’re training primarily to gain mass, those muscle gains will be slow in coming unless you apply progressive overload (increasing training volume, intensity, or both). And, by doing so, you’ll get stronger. Then, with that increased strength, you can load the muscles even heavier, create more tension, and grow bigger yet.

To get stronger (unless you’re a complete beginner), you need to get bigger, and to get bigger you need to get stronger. Training for one without the other doesn’t really make sense for most people.

In some fringe cases, it may be possible and necessary. For instance, if you’re an elite powerlifter weighing very close to the top of your weight class, then you may need to train in a manner to eek the last possible neural improvements out of the movements without gaining muscle mass that would push you into the next weight class. If you’re a bodybuilder with a long injury history and not much more room for growth in the first place, then avoiding the heavier training that drives strength gains in favor of lighter, more voluminous training may be prudent.

For everyone else, get stronger to get bigger and get bigger to get stronger.” – Greg Nuckols.

Simon
Simon

Hi Andy,

a) The program looks great and I would like to start it. I’m not sure if I understand day 2. RPE 5 looks so easy!?

b) You recommend having a rest day between day 3 and day 4. I would like to do those days on Saturday and Sunday because I feel more recovered, there is no work, I get enough sleep and I often eat more calories on those days. Is this ok?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Simon,

a) It is easier relative to the other days, yes. Day 2 is dedicated to heavy technique work with the competition lifts, and that requires submaximal efforts.

b) Sure, free to do that. Note, if find yourself constantly catching up on sleep on the weekends, that will compromise your results. Make sure you get enough sleep every day.

Simon
Simon

Thank you, Andy!
I will try it and see, if it works for me. Maybe there could be a problem with horizontal pull on Saturday and deadlift heavy on Sunday, but I will just try if it works for me 🙂

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Most welcome, Simon.

Mike
Mike

Hi, I know it’s not ideal, but I would like to have 2 rest days on the weekend, so I was swapping around the days a bit and have convinced myself that swapping day 3 and 1 and doing the program like this would be best for recovery: Mon Day3 – Tues Day2 – Wed Off – Thu Day1 – Fri Day4 – Sat and Sun off. Am I missing something, or would that be best way to recover while having weekend off, or would there be better way to swap around the work outs? Thank you for your program and for your replies here.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Looks fine to me, Mike. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating though. (Try it and see, tweak if necessary.)

Sebastian
Sebastian

Hey Andy,
why did you change the number of sets and exercises compared to the old program?(on day 2 in the old program u were supposed to do 6 sets of bench, on the new one only 3 for example)

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Sebastian,
Actually, I made a small note of that under the training program graphic. “If you’re interested in why this new version of the program differs slightly from that in the first edition of our book in 2015, see the last FAQ item here.”

jerry valenzuela
jerry valenzuela

hi andy what do u mean by 82-87.5% of 1 rm?did you mean after i lift 82% of my 1 rm the next day i will be lifting 87.5% of my 1rm or should i start by 82% den increasing every week until i reach the 87.5% of my 1 rm thanks

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Jerry,
No. The %1RM is used as a reference, we’re setting load based on RIR. See the section titled, “How to Progress with the Intermediate Powerlifting Program”.

jerry valenzuela
jerry valenzuela

in the power lifting program, can I put some accessory movement like triceps and biceps

Jon Williams
Jon Williams

Looks like a great program, I will start tomorrow. One question I have is if I can switch day 1 and 2. So I’ll do day 2 on day 1, raise the RPE to 7-9 to practice heavy singles, doubles, triples. And do day 1 the next day, and lower the RPE to 5-6, for a lighter weight, high volume/ low intensity accessory day.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Jon,
Sure. As long as you find yourself recovering fine.

James
James

Hi Andy,

In terms of exercise selection; Days 1 – 3 are pretty much the same as the Novice Program, however the Single Leg Variant exercise on Day 3 has been replaced by Leg Curls. I just wondered if there was any reason for this?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi James,
There are subtle differences which change the overall volume for each body part. The ‘single leg variants’ work the leg as a whole, but we want to isolate the hamstrings specifically to balance out the volume. Do you have a copy of the book? We have the volume counted out in a table comparing each program there with further details.

James
James

Thanks for your reply. I haven’t got the book, but am considering it. Regarding volume, I believe there is a slight error in the table above, there should be 18 sets for Lower, and I think it should be 15 sets for Accessory Lifts (there are 42 set/wk in total).

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi James, thank you for pointing that out. I forgot to update that table when I updated the article. I’ve done it now.

James
James

Sorry to be a pain, but this update is more wrong.

UB Push should be 15 sets (Bench x 4 and Vertical Push x1)
UB Pull should be 15 (Horizontal Pull x 2, Vertical Pull x1 and DL x 2)
Lower should be 18 (Squat x 3, DL x 2 and Leg Curl).

Main Lifts should be 27
Accessory Lifts should be 15
For a total of 42 sets/wk.

6 or less reps should be 18 sets and more than 6 sets should be 9 sets.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi James, thank you for pointing this out again.

I grabbed the wrong table from the book, but still there are some small differences. I believe it should be as follows:

• UB Push should be 15 sets (Bench x 4 and Vertical Push x1)
• UB Pull should be 15 sets (Horizontal Pull x 2, Vertical Pull x1 and DL x 2)
• Lower should be 18 sets (Squat x 3, DL x 2 and Leg Curl).

• Main Lifts should be 27 sets [64%] (the variants count)
• Accessory Lifts should be 15 sets [36%]
• For a total of 42 sets/wk.

• ≤6 reps should be 25 sets [57%]
• >6 reps should be 17 sets [43%]
• Total should be 42 sets/wk.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

I’ve just fixed the article and you’ve likely just saved us this typo from getting in the print editions which I’m going to work on over the next couple of months. Thanks again, James.

James
James

Nearly there with the latest update, but the final table either needs to be re-labelled, or the numbers need to be changed, as it says it is for Main Lifts not all lifts, in which case the total would be 27 sets.

Also I’m not sure how you calculated the numbers, if you have chosen to count the Bench Variant (which is 6-8 reps) as 1 set of 6 or less and 2 sets of more than 6 that’s fine.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi James,
Correct, main lifts not all. Fixed it now.
Yes, we’re counting one of those sets as 6 or less.

Thank you.

Sam
Sam

Andy, could you explain why on Day 3 I’m supposed to lift 2.5% more weight (of 1RM) and for 2 extra rep compared to Day 2?

Surely if I’m adding weight, my reps will decrease? or have I missed the point?

EG. On Day 2 I benched 100 kg for 3 reps, 3 sets. I’m not sure I could have done 4 (no spotter).
On day 3 I’m due to bench 102.5kg for 5 reps, 3 sets. I don’t have the strength for that! Does this mean I went too heavy on Day 2? I’m confused.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Sam,
On the second day your first set RPE will be a five. This means you’ll have 5 reps left in your tank. Have a read of the RPE section again which will explain it.

Omar
Omar

Hi,

You mentioned the first set’s RPE. How about the rest of the sets?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

RPE will rise over subsequent sets, just stop short of hitting failure if you can’t lift the number of reps planned for the latter sets. Full progression guidelines in my article here.

Jay Crozier
Jay Crozier

How are you meant to have five more in the tank when it says 80-85%of 1rm

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Typically, people are able to perform 6–8 reps of their 80–85% 1RM.

Kamil Kuczkowski
Kamil Kuczkowski

Hi
Between which days should i make recovery days ? If i start day 1 on monday for example

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Many will find 1, 2, rest, 3, rest, 4 rest, repeat to be the easiest for them, whichever you find it easiest to train and recover from.