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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:37 pm 
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I've made no secret of being not very happy with the general offerings in the way of intermediate programs. In my 2nd attempt to craft a program for myself, I came up with something I like, but I realized why it's so hard: Beginner and Advanced programs are by nature quite simple, and you really cannot make a simple intermediate program.

Consider two pretty popular programs, Stronglifts for beginners and 5/3/1 for Advanced. Each of these programs can be described in about 6-10 terse sentences. Neither can really be simplified any further than they already are. Moreover, they follow the rules, balancing push to pull, bench to press, and so forth.

But where is such an intermediate program, one that follows all of the rules and is simple enough to explain in a few sentences? I haven't found one, and I think it's because you can't do it. There are too many complications at the intermediate level. You're past the easy "squat every day and alternate bench/row and dead/press" but not yet to the once-major-lift-per-day of advanced. It gets messy. It can be done, but you don't end up with something with the elegant appeal of Stronglifts or Wendler's 5/3/1.

Just my thoughts for the day.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:03 pm 
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KenDowns wrote:
There are too many complications at the intermediate level. You're past the easy "squat every day and alternate bench/row and dead/press" but not yet to the once-major-lift-per-day of advanced. It gets messy. It can be done, but you don't end up with something with the elegant appeal of Stronglifts or Wendler's 5/3/1.

Just my thoughts for the day.


Isn't 5/3/1 considered an intermediate program?

BTW the powerlifters in my gym train with a program as following:
A. deadlift and bench, + accessories
B. squat and bench, + accessories
Alternate A and B

Perhaps just a reasonable program (is that one above reasonable? lol) may not be optimal but close.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:00 pm 
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Yeah, 5/3/1 is intermediate. So is Texas Method, Stronglifts Intermediate, Auto-regulated whatever it is that what's-his-name advocated before he died. That's simple, and clearly intermediate. All pretty simple.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Clip, Wendler says you should be lifting 2 years before doing it. I think that makes it advanced. Also, I think its 1x/week per lift is clearly different from say Madcow or TM where squats are still done 3x/week, bench is 2x/week and so on.

I've asked myself what the simplest possible program could be, and came up with something based on these ideas:

1) Six lifts are Press/Chins, Dead/Squat, and Bench/Row

2) Each lift has 3 sessions of ramped 3x5 of increasing intensity followed by a deload day, but it is actually simpler to just not do the exercise on the deload day.

a) Exception for deadlift: once/week

b) Assume you can do 3x5 bw chins and weighted chins

You end up w/2 major lifts/day except for one day you get three. This leaves a slot for one heavy accessory or two light ones if you like. More than enough time and energy for plenty of planks and curls for the girls.

A simple weight progression would be:

1) Take your 5RM. Example, I just did 6x220 squats, so I'll say my 5RM is 220

2) Take 10%, or 20lbs in this example, that is my increment

3) On the heaviest day, I would do 180-200-220 for 5/5/5+. I don't have to exceed 5 reps to increase, but it's nice if I can.

4) On the previous session, I would do 160-180-200 for 5/5/5+

5) On the day before that, the first day, I would have done 140-160-180 for 5/5/5+

The exception is deadlift, where you do the first and third progressions, skipping the middle one.

The last wrinkle is that you cannot actually begin and end 6 lifts within a cycle, so some of them actually begin in the middle of the cycle and carryover to the next one. But if you don't want to know that you just pretend you didn't read it and play it as written.

You get the following. Where "1" is the lightest day, "2" is the middle, and "3" is your heaviest, where you are setting a new 5RM.

Sat: Press 1, Chins 3
Sun: Dead 3, Row 2
Tue: Bench 1, Press 2
Thu: Squat 1, Row 3

Sat: Press 3, Bench 2, Chins 1 (the only day you do 3 lifts)
Sun: Dead 1, Squat 2
Tue: Bench 3, chins 2
Thu: Squat 3, Row 1

Notice there are never two "3" lifts on the same day, so you never get hammered. The only real tough day is week 2, day 1, where you have 3 lifts, and one of them is a "3" day, but it's press, the lightest lift, so even that is not that bad.

As long as you make the top set on day 3 of 5 reps, increase. The usual, 10 for dead and squat, 5 for others. Use lower increments if you want to delay plateaus.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:08 am 
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tl;dr closely

and you aren't even considering mixing in higher volume, unilateral lifts, assistance lifts, or any carries, or plyo, or a lot of other aspects

Ken,
You suffer from "I'm humble enough to know I didn't know everything, yesterday - itis"
It's as if you "get it now" about every 72 hours. You're still a babe. If you weren't the nicest guy this side of Stu, I'd punch you thru the screen. Notwithstanding the fact you are younger, faster, and stronger than I.

it's not rocket science. I write a program, work thru a cycle and tweak. Each lift and each lifter is different once you get past beginning, I think.

Why bound yourself with a set program at this stage.


Last edited by Oscar_Actuary on Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:27 am 
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I'll add, I have not strong criticism of your latest program posted above; but will say, I have found it beneficial to usually keep the same lifts togetther. For example, your Rows(2) after Deads(3) will perhaps be unintentionally more taxking than the Rows(3) after Squats(1). Then again, I've had 24 dfferent days in one program, so mixing and matching wa sorta my thing, in the past.
At first I was confused, but see now you are doing these 3 sessions per lift over a two week period.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:04 am 
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I'm not typically one to nitpick over standards but 2 years of lifting doesn't make you "advanced" (try 1-2 decades...). I think most in commercial gyms are still somewhere between beginner and intermediate after 2 years and i would be inclined to say that most in commercial gyms never go beyond this point. Most people will never be "advanced".

It's not just a time thing but a progress thing. For example, i'm more "advanced" than my brother in law. I've been training 6-7 years, and he's been training almost 20 years. I've seen people who have been training 3-4 years who I would class as more "advanced" than me. I don't consider myself advanced, btw, still plodding along at the intermediate level.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:13 am 
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Quote:
It's not just a time thing but a progress thing
So is it how much you can lift, how often, how long?

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squat 150
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:53 am 
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The_dog_mom wrote:
Quote:
It's not just a time thing but a progress thing
So is it how much you can lift, how often, how long?


Not really "how often". It's a time thing and a progress thing. Progress is referring to progress that has been made.

For example, if it was just a time thing, then lets say 5 years of training makes me "advanced". Well, I could of trained 5 years and made hardly any progress - which a lot of people do, particularly in commercial gyms. So, it wouldn't be accurate at all to assume that because someone has trained X amount of years that they earn the badge of "advanced".

In the same vein, you get the odd "gifted" lifter who is putting up big impressive numbers in less than 12 months. In that case I still wouldn't class them as advanced or even intermediate. I'm wary of most who haven't trained more than a few years simply because I myself trained for about 18 months-2 years like an idiot, but I worked hard and made good gains so I thought I was doing well. I found out the hard way that I was being an idiot though. Some people just haven't been an idiot for long enough to realise that they're being an idiot lol. When you hit the intermediate level, to me that's when you hit that "wall" that means consistent hard work and a decent diet (basically, linear gains) doesn't necessarily mean you get consistent gains. That's when you need to get complicated with it i.e. periodisation and the likes of 5-3-1 are good basic periodisation templates.

Actual numbers are debated all the time. I don't think too much about them, to be honest. I am just against the idea of "time" being a big factor in determining what level you're at. However, if you're interested, here are the exrx strength standards. I'm sure there was a thread on a this not too long ago where a few different standards were posted. Anyway....

http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifti ... ndards.htm

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:48 am 
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The_dog_mom wrote:
Quote:
It's not just a time thing but a progress thing
So is it how much you can lift, how often, how long?


Diana, there are some "textbook" answers, which serve well because they can be agreed upon.

An intermediate is one who cannot keep adding weight every time like you do on a program like Stronglifts. This means you were adding 5# to squats for a few weeks, stalled, reduced the weights and resumed, maybe went around again doing that, but after a certain point reducing the weight and resuming stalls you at the same point. You are finished with the beginner program at that point and have become intermediate.

For what it's worth, Rippetoe is of the opinion that an intermediate is also beginning to learn what accessories work for him/her.

It has nothing to do with weight or comparisons to other people. If "Big John" and "Skinny Jack" start stronglifts on the same day, "Skinny Jack" will probably plateau sooner, deload more often, and ultimately have to move to a new program before "Big John", who just keeps adding weight every session. So "Big John" is pushing more weight on a beginner program while "Skinny Jack" has moved to an intermediate program. In fact it tends to go that way, older and skinnier people become "intermediate" in less time and pushing less weight than more naturally gifted lifters. That part can be confusing. Just remember its not about comparing yourself to others, it's about what is allowing you to make progress.

An intermediate might reasonably hope to add weight on a weekly schedule, and will still plateau and deload and go around again. When that stops working she has become advanced.

That's the textbook answer anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:24 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
Sat: Press 1, Chins 3
Sun: Dead 3, Row 2
Tue: Bench 1, Press 2
Thu: Squat 1, Row 3

Sat: Press 3, Bench 2, Chins 1 (the only day you do 3 lifts)
Sun: Dead 1, Squat 2
Tue: Bench 3, chins 2
Thu: Squat 3, Row 1


I think this is a reasonable program. Of course you can consider row and chin (and maybe press) as accessories so they are done in the medium repetition ranges if your main intent is developing the big 3.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:04 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
...It has nothing to do with weight or comparisons to other people. If "Big John" and "Skinny Jack" start stronglifts on the same day, "Skinny Jack" will probably plateau sooner, deload more often, and ultimately have to move to a new program before "Big John", who just keeps adding weight every session. So "Big John" is pushing more weight on a beginner program while "Skinny Jack" has moved to an intermediate program. In fact it tends to go that way, older and skinnier people become "intermediate" in less time and pushing less weight than more naturally gifted lifters. That part can be confusing. Just remember its not about comparing yourself to others, it's about what is allowing you to make progress.
....


I think this is an important point. Older skinny guys, and there are a few on this site, have to go to advanced techniques and periodization quite early in order to make any progress at all. 5-3-1 was made for us. Most people never progress past intermediate periodization simply because it's too hard and too complicated and the returns aren't worth it, and they're already strong enough, so they drift into maintenance mode. That's for normal people anyway. Some of us need to get beyond what we can achieve with intermediate techniques just to reach the minimum fitness level required for our lifestyle, otherwise, some of us might drift into maintenance mode too.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:06 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
Clip, Wendler says you should be lifting 2 years before doing it. I think that makes it advanced. .


Ken, I don't think that is true,a s I recall he says it works for all stages, I think he even says beginners have had successes with it. I'll look through the manual again when I get a chance but it seems fine for intermediates.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:20 am 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
At first I was confused, but see now you are doing these 3 sessions per lift over a two week period.


Yeah, that was my thought in the OP. Can you make an intermediate program that:

1) is so simple you can understand it at-a-glance like SL or 5/3/1?
2) that obeys the rules for balancing push/pull?
3) that provides progressive load and deload?

The program I listed is an intellectual exercise that took me about 15 minutes. If we wanted to make it even simpler, we keep everything rising together and just do this:

Sat: Press(1), Chins(1)
Sun: Dead(1), Rows(1)
Tue: Bench(1), Press(2),Chins(2)
Thu: Squat(1), Rows(2)

Sat: Press(3),Bench(2),Chins(3)
Sun: Dead(3), Rows(3)
Tue: Bench(3)
Thu: Squat(3)

Then it's planks and curls :smile:

That provides rising intensity and tonnage, peaking on Week 2 Day 1, then it drops off towards the end of week 2. Then of course, once you decide that pattern is probably ok, you can move exercises around if you don't want to do bench and press on the same day.

Like I said, just an intellectual exercise I'm running through to see what comes out of it.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:45 am 
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KEN STOP OVERTHINKING THINGS RIGHT NOW JUST PICK A PROGRAM AND DO IT AS WRITTEN


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