INTERMEDIATE WORKOUT ROUTINE

Push. Pull. Legs. But this time, reloaded.

There's so many variations of this routine out there, and for good reason! It's an effective way to separate your muscle building workouts into 3 days and works well for both beginner and intermediate weightlifters.

NOTE: If you're still not very experienced when it comes to lifting, I'd recommend you check out the Beginner Workout Routine. Specifically, work with that until you can do the following:

  • 0.65x Bodyweight Overhead Press
  • 1x Bodyweight Bench Press
  • 1.5x Bodyweight Squat
  • 2x Bodyweight Deadlift

If you can already do these, then congratulations! You've made some great progress so far and the below split is right for you!

Here it is:

  • Sunday - Sprints
  • Monday - Push
  • Tuesday - Shadowboxing
  • Wednesday - Pull
  • Thursday - Sprints
  • Friday - Legs
  • Saturday - Shadowboxing

The cardio workouts (Sprinting or Shadowboxing) are fairly straightforward. You're going to perform intervals. For sprints, run as fast as you can for 30 seconds straight and then rest (walk or just stand) for 3 minutes; after you've done this 5 times (meaning 5 separate sprints) you're finished. For the shadowboxing, engage in 1 minute rounds of boxing with 2 minutes of rest in between; complete 7 rounds total and you're finished.

As far as the lifting workouts (Push, Pull and Legs) here's how they're broken down:

 

PUSH

  • Barbell Bench Press
    • Warm Up (stretching and sets)
    • Set #1 - 5 reps
    • Set #2 - 6 reps
    • Set #3 - 7 reps

 

  • Barbell Overhead Press
    • Set #1 - 5 reps
    • Set #2 - 6 reps
    • Set #3 - 7 reps

 

  • Dip
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

  • Incline Bench Press
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

  • Dumbbell Tricep Extension
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

PULL

  • Conventional Barbell Deadlift
    • Warm Up (stretching and sets)
    • Set #1 - 5 reps
    • Set #2 - 6 reps
    • Set #3 - 7 reps

 

  • Pull Up
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

  • Inverted Row
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

  • Dumbbell Curl
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

  • Y Raise
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

LEGS

  • Back Squat
    • Warm Up (stretching and sets)
    • Set #1 - 5 reps
    • Set #2 - 6 reps
    • Set #3 - 7 reps

 

  • Bulgarian Split Squat
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

  • One Leg Romanian Deadlift
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 12-15 reps

 

  • Mason Twist, Leg Raise, and Calf Raise (Superset these)
    • Set #1 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #2 - 5-7 reps
    • Set #3 - 5-7 reps

BREAKING IT DOWN

First and foremost, click here for my video on how to warm up for your workouts. It's critical that you're properly warmed up for each of these workouts, especially the weightlifting ones.

As you can see, this program is centered around 4 lifts: Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift, and Overhead Press. Getting strong on these movements alone can build you a phenomenal physique. There's a reason why they're the main events of powerlifting (technically the Overhead Press no longer is a lift for powerlifters, but years ago it was). For that reason, I have you lifting in the 5-7 rep range for them.

The rest of the exercises have you lifting in the 5-7 and 12-15 rep ranges. These are fairly ideal ranges for muscle growth. If all you want to do is build muscle, you never need to go heavier than 5 reps; I focus solely on the 5-7 rep range on Bench, Squat, Deadlift and Press so that you both build not just muscle but strength as well. Also, these are movements that tend to not go well with hitting failure (try doing a set of 15 reps to failure on Deadlifts and you very well might hurt your lower back in the process).

The higher rep sets on this are designed for failure. Absolute failure meaning that you cannot complete another rep and the bar is stuck. If you finish your last set of dips for 12 reps, that final rep should be barely squeezed out by you. Don't go to failure on the heavy sets (3 - 7 reps) though; you should stop yourself 1 or 2 reps before total failure on those. How can you tell? Well, once you've completed a rep that's slower than the last one, you should probably stop. You'll develop a sense of telling when you're near failure over time as you practice this.

I used a routine like this for over a year and it was fantastic. It helped me achieve several new PRs (425 Deadlift, 170 lb Overhead Press, etc.)

MOVING ON

So when are you past this split?

I'd say the following are good lifts to aim for:

  • 1x bodyweight Overhead Press
  • 1.5x bodyweight Bench Press
  • 2x bodyweight Squat
  • 2.5x bodyweight Deadlift

Keep in mind that cheating isn't tolerated on these movements. Touch your torso on Bench Press... hit parallel on your Squat... if you sacrifice form to lift slightly more weight, than the extra weight is a waste. Maintain your form above everything else.

If you've hit these already, then congratulations! You're an advanced lifter; don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Obviously if you're trying to compete as a powerlifter or professional athlete, you'd probably want to get even stronger than these stats (maybe a 3x Bodyweight Deadlift, for example), but these are solid lifts!

As far as what routine an advanced lifter should be doing, that's currently in the works. Stay tuned!