Guideline for Weight Training - Intermediate

  • Only working sets are included, so it is up to you to perform as many warm up sets as you require to prepare for the working sets. Every time you repeat a workout you need to out-work the previous session. Do this by increasing the reps or increasing the weights lifted. Never sacrifice exercise form in order to perform additional reps or add more weight to the bar. On all sets you should lower the weight slowly (2 seconds for a small movement such as curls and 3 seconds for a larger movement such as leg press) then drive the weight up explosively. Imagine your muscle as a piston that is constantly moving; you need to avoid pausing mid set if possible. This will help reduce CNS stress and ensure that tension is kept in the target muscle at all times. If you are currently used to having brief breaks between reps, you will need to reduce your weights slightly until you get used to this method.
  • When it says, for example, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, that means that you do this after you have warmed up. Use a weight where you will manage to hit 12 all out reps, and stay at that weight for the next two sets. Due to the muscle tiring, you will achieve fewer reps on the following sets. Always pick a weight where you will top out the rep range on the first set.
  • Make sure to fully engage and contract the target muscle even when using heavy weights. You’re using too much weight if you’re unable to engage and contract the muscle properly or find that you’re just muscling the weight up without keeping tension on it. Remember, this is bodybuilding; the weight is just a tool to build your muscle. Simply moving the weight from point A to B is not the goal.
  • You should stretch the target muscle between sets; this will help facilitate new growth and prevent injury.
  • You may find certain muscles and exercises are suited to a slightly different rep range than is listed in the workouts. Once you have done all the workouts as they have been listed, feel free to make adjustments to the rep range if you see fit.
  • Try to stick as closely as possible to the rest periods.
  • Abdominals are to be trained every workout with 3-5 sets of 2 exercises. Keep the rep range for the first exercise between 15-20 and then 10-15 for the second exercise. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets. Ideal choices include hanging leg raises, weighted crunches and roll outs (using an abdominal roller which most gyms have).

 

Day 1: Legs

    • Leg Extensions super set with Hamstring Curls (you can vary which hamstring curl machine you use) – 3 sets of each aiming for 15-20 reps per set on the first two sets; 12-15 reps on the third and fourth set. Set 4 is a drop set for both the extensions and the curls. Pick a weight where failure will occur between 8-12 reps; once you reach failure, immediately drop the weight enough so that you can perform another 8-12 reps to failure. Once you reach failure again, drop the weight a final time and go to failure between 8-12 reps. Rest briefly between sets so that you can catch your breath. This will probably equate to 30 seconds between sets. 
    • Barbell Squats OR Smith Machine Squats OR a Machine Squat that you like - 3 sets, 10-15 reps every set close to failure. Final set with a double drop of 8-10 reps for a total of 24-30 reps. Rest 2 minutes between sets. 
    • Walking Barbell or Dumbbell Lunges - 2 sets, 20 sets per leg. Rest 1 minute between sets. 
    • Straight Leg Calve Raises (the machine you pick doesn’t matter) - 4 sets, 8-12 reps with every set to failure. Rest 1 minute between sets. 
    • Seated Leg Calves Raises - 4 sets, 12-15 reps with every set to failure. Rest 1 minute between sets.

 

Day 2: Arms

    • Cable Push Downs (rotate between different handles and hand positions) - 2 sets, 12-15 reps until failure. Perform a 3rd set with two drops; each drop should have 8-10 reps for a total of 24-30 reps. Rest 1 minute between sets. 
    • Barbell Curls - 2 sets, 12-15 reps until failure. Perform a 3rd set with two drops; each drop should have 8-10 reps for a total of 24-30 reps. Rest 1 minute between sets. 
    • Over-the-Head Extensions (rotate between dumbbells and machine variations) - 2 sets, 12-15 reps super set Hammer Curls (rotate between seated and standing curls) - 2 sets, 12-15 reps. Rest 1 minute between super sets. 
    • Dips - 2 sets, 8-12 reps until failure superset Preacher Curls (rotate between free weight and machine versions) - 2 sets, 8-12 reps until failure. Rest 1 minute between super sets.

  

Day 3: Rest

 

Day 4: Back and Rear Delts

    • Pull Overs (you can use a pull over machine or a dumb bell lying across a bench) - 2 sets, 12-15 reps every set to failure. 
    • Lat Pull Downs or Pull Downs (vary the grip you use each week) - 2 set, 12-15 reps every set to failure. The final set has a double drop; 6-8 reps per drop for a total of 18-24 reps. Rest 90 seconds between sets. 
    • Bent over Raises OR Rear Delt Raises (on the reverse pec dec) - 3 sets, 12-15 reps per set to failure. Rest 1 minute between sets. 
    • Deadlifts (from the floor or mid shin in the power rack) - 3 sets, 8-12 reps with every set 1-2 reps short of failure. The final set has 15-20 reps to failure. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
    • A row variation (it can be a barbell or a cable variation) - 3 sets, 8-12 reps every set to failure. The final set has a double drop of 6-8 reps per drop for a total of 18-24 reps. Rest 90 seconds between sets.
    • Shrugs (rotate between dumbbells, barbell and machine shrugs) - 2 sets, 12-15 reps with every set to failure. Rest 1 minute between sets.

 

Day 5: Rest

 

Day 6: Chest, Front and Side Delts 

    • Dumbbell Press (rotate between flat, decline and incline bench settings) - Set 1: 18-22 reps. Set 2: 12-15 reps. Set 3: 8-10 reps. Set 4: 6-8 reps then grab lighter dumbbells and perform another 6-8 reps. Every set is taken to failure. Rest 1 minutes between sets.
    • Incline Dumbbell Press and Fly Combination (flies for 5 reps then presses for 5 reps then flies for 5 reps then press for 5 reps with no pauses just continuous motion) - 2 sets, 20 reps. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
    • Machine Press (rotate through various machines that you feel target the chest well) - 2 sets, 12-15 reps with every set to failure. The final set has a double drop of 6-8 reps per drop for a total of 18-24 reps. Rest 90 seconds between sets.
    • Side Laterals (rotate between dumbbell and machine variations) - 3 sets, 12-15 reps until failure. Perform a 4th set with two drops; each drop should have 6-8 reps. Rest 1 minute between sets.
    • Shoulder Press (rotate between dumbbell, barbell and machine variations) - Set 1: 18-22 reps. Set 2: 12-15 reps. Set 3: 8-10 reps.. Set 4: reduce the weight and perform one more set for 18-22 reps. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
    • Leaning, Unilateral Dumbbell Side Laterals - 3 sets, 15-20 reps until failure. Perform a 4th set with two drops, 10-12 reps per drop for a total of 30-36 reps. Rest 1 minute between sets.

 

Day 7: Rest