TLDR: At the intermediate stage, focus on systematic ways to progress for continued growth
After the short bursts of beginner gains, an intermediate lifter needs to learn to be systematic in training for continued progress. A traditional 3 set of 10 of bench press, increasing 5lbs every week will simply not cut it as increases in strength is no longer weekly. There has to be a better way for progress to occur than simply trying to add weight.
In this course, Alberto Nunez lays out a systematic, science based approach for progression to happen. Different progression schemes are listed for compound lifts and isolation exercises.
For compound lifts, one possible progression is a monthly increase in weight. Within a block of 3 weeks, progressively decrease the reps (like from 3×12, to 3×10, to 3×8) done while increasing the weight (e.g 20kg, 22.5kg, 25kg) used in the exercise per week. After that, take a 1-week deload and then begin again from 3×12 but with a heavier weight. The example is as follows:
|week 1 – Row – 85lbs x 12, 12, 12|
|week 2 –Row – 90lbs x 10, 10, 10|
|week 3 –Row – 95lbs x 8, 8, 8|
|week 4 – Deload by reducing sets by 1 set and weight by 10-15% from week prior and doing bottom end of rep range (8 reps)|
|week 5 –Row – 90lbs x 12, 12, 12|
|week 6 –Row – 95lbs x 10, 10, 10|
|week 7 –Row – 100lbs x 8, 8, 8|
For isolation exercises, the way to progress is by trying to increase reps done weekly. For example, if bicep curl was done with 15kg for 3 sets of 8, try doing more reps per set next week. The likely event is that a lifter would do 9,9,8 for the next session. Keep driving this rep progression until a designated rep is reached (like 12 reps for the first set). After which a heavier weight can be used.
On top of that, if the lifter plateaus again, an extra day and extra sets are added for the movement at is plateauing. This allows more volume accumulation for the lifter at the specific movements instead of simply swapping exercises.
- Systematic and long-term progression
- High frequency and periodized volume
- Customizable spreadsheet for programs and intensive course
- Expensive af
- A minimum of 4 days per week, and will take too long if compressed into 3 days
Edit: For the comment below saying that he goes up in rep range first before increasing weight. I was referring to his compound progression as shown here.
I believe he was commenting on the isolation progression schemes below that, which was exactly what I already said, increasing the reps until a person hits a target rep range, then increasing weight.