FREE STRENGTH TRAINING TEMPLATE - For Busy Intermediate Lifters.

Who’s this template for: intermediate lifters on a tight time schedule that want a general strength program that is flexible to their training style. This is an off-season, repeatable 4-week block. Training knowledge is required as it is a template rather than a complete programme.

Time in Gym (minutes)

Total workout 60min = 10min Warm up/Activation, 20min Working Sets, 15 min assistance, 15 min unilateral

Please note that this is a training programme for people that are at least at a late novice to intermediate stage for strength training. If you are new to strength training, I recommend having a look at my novice strength progamme “The Genesis”.

Life can be chaotic and busy. We can’t live in the gym and make gains all day, even though sometimes we wish we could. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get some quality work in and keep progressing.

Notice how I said QUALITY work. Cutting the fluff and pump stuff from workouts, focusing on the core foundations of strength training, and staying as efficient as possible with our time. As soon as you step into the gym, you’re on the clock, and its up to you to make every minute count.

The Big Four

This programme is separated into 4 days a week. 

  • Squat

  • Overhead Press

  • Deadlift

  • Bench Press

It is set up in blocks of 4 weeks, with 4 weeks of rotating intensities.

  • Light

  • Medium

  • Heavy

  • Savage

This isn’t a cookie cutter programme. It requires you to have a bit of training knowledge as it serves as a template to cover your bases, but ultimately it is up to you to break it down how you see fit. This allows space for autoregulation, and training with rep schemes that fit with how you like to lift.

Love to pull a bunch of singles? Go right ahead. Do you want to smash a ridiculous AMRAP set and lie on the floor half dead for the remainder of the session? You can do that too. As long as you hit the overall volume and intensity required for each day for each lift.

Here is the required volume and intensity for each day.

Intensity % of 1RM Overall Volume Goal Minimum (Bad day) Max (retest needed)
Light 60-70% 30 18 40
Medium 72.5-80% 28 12 24
Heavy 82.5-90% 15 10 20
Savage 90%+ 7 4 10

As you can see, each day has percentage range of you 1RM. This is the range that you need to be doing your working sets in for that day. This is where autoregulation comes into play. If your warm ups feel heavy, then stay towards the lighter end of the percentage for that day. If you’re feeling unstoppable then go throw around some heavier weight.

There is an optimal rep range that should be about what you are aiming for in regards to total workload. However, if you feel like crap, or are really stressed for time, then get the daily minimum. When it comes to training, slow progress is better than over reaching and burning yourself out.

How you want to break up the volume is up to you. I want you to train in a way that you enjoy. Some people like endless sets, some like perfectly executed singles and doubles. For instance.

Heavy day total volume day: 15 reps

You might do 3 sets, 5 reps at 82%

Or you might do 5 sets of 3, ramping your percentage loading up as you go across the sets, 1st set at 80%, 2nd set at 82.5% etc.

Feel free to get creative with how you do this if you’d like. For instance, I am a big fan of EMOMs, or every minute on the minute. So if I have to do 30 reps, I’ll do 3 reps every min, on the min for 10 min. It’s a very efficient way of getting a stack of work done.

 

Autoregulation: As you can see, there is a lot of room to autoregulate. Depending on how you’re feeling each day allows you to decide on which percentages to use, as well as over all rep range. You are taking responsibility for your own training, and trying to keep your work to recovery ratio in check.

Note: you can see that I have an “upper limit” rep range. You probably shouldn’t be hitting that, if you are, your 1 rep max calculations are either off, or you are strong enough to retest them. Either way, you’ll need to retest them. If this is the case, I recommend you do it on your next “savage” day in your programme.

Here is the training matrix on how to set up your training week

Squat Bench Deadlift Overhead Press
Week 1 Light Medium Heavy Savage
Week 2 Medium Heavy Savage Light
Week 3 Heavy Savage Light Medium
Week 4 Savage Light Medium Heavy

Note: I didn’t just pull these numbers out of a hat, they are based of “Prilepin’s Chart”

Progression

Option 1: Retest your lifts and start again. Only do this if these four weeks was really easy.

Option 2: I recommend adding 2.5-5% of your 1RM and starting again.

Assistance

If you know what needs to be fixed in your lifts (specific week points) then I recommend dedicating an entire 4 week block to hammering that weak point. 

I said at the beginning of this blog that you required a bit of knowledge into training, as if I tried to write a blog on weak point training we would end up with a trilogy of novels. So Google is your friend, or consider hiring a coach to figure your programming out for you (shameless plug)

 

If you don’t know your week points, then we can rotate what we target. This ensures that you are covering all your bases, and covering all your weak points. In regards to loading for these exercises, it is going to differ from person to person. However, you can’t really go wrong with moderate weight, moderate volume. A solid 3x5 is at 80% is always going to do you well. But it’s up to you. As it is weak point training, you are going to need a combination of volume AND loading, so it’s good to be having a bit of both.

Feel free to do speed work with accommodating resistance if you have access to it (chains, bands, slingshot etc.).

Below is an example of how to set up the 4-week block with your assistance lifts.

Squat Bench Deadlift Overhead Press
Week 1 Top Middle Bottom Speed
Week 2 Middle Bottom Speed Middle
Week 3 Bottom Speed Middle Top
Week 4 Speed Middle Top Bottom

So all in all, the 4 weeks are going to look like this.

Squat Bench Deadlift Overhead Press
Week 1 Light / Top Medium / Middle Heavy / Bottom Savage / Speed
Week 2 Medium / Middle Heavy / Bottom Savage / Speed Light / Middle
Week 3 Heavy / Bottom Savage / Speed Light / Middle Medium / Top
Week 4 Savage /Speed Middle Medium / Top Heavy / Bottom

Unilateral and Antagonist work 

Finally, I suggest finishing every session with two types of exercises – unilateral and agonist movements. If you’re going to do 2 of them, feel free to super set them to save time and get some conditioning in.

Antagonists – These are movements that are in the same plane as the main exercise but are the opposing movement. An example of these would be:

  • Bench Press (agonist) = Bent over Row (Antagonist)

  • Overhead Press (Agonist) = Weighted Pull up (Antagonist) 

It can be a little more difficult to define this for the squat and deadlift. I recommend doing unilateral work instead.

Examples of this may include:

  • Squat: Lunge / Bulgarian Split Squat

  • Bench Press = Single Hand dumbbell Bench

  • Deadlift= Single Leg Hip Thrust

  • Overhead press= Single Hand dumbbell or kettle bell press

I’d recommend doing both an antagonist and a unilateral movement. But if you are really crushed for time just choose one.

The goal is to get 50 reps, any way how, in 15 mins for this. Pump em out!

The loading for these are up to you. They should be around an RPE7, but if you’re feeling good, channel your inner savage and rip and tear! 

Saving additional time.

I get it, sometimes even an hour is to long. Your first priority should be figuring out how to carve out an hour of your life and fitting this training in. But when that isn’t possible, be honest with your self and get at least half an hour in.

If you need to reduce time even further, start from the bottom of the template. E.g. cut the unilateral/agonist work, and then cut the assistance work. That leaves you with half an hour of work to do.

If you go down this route (ONLY THROUGH NECESSITY NOT LAZYNESS) then treat every set as an AMRAP. As many reps as possible. Only put up the weight (rather than every 4 weeks) when you have taken a given percentage and exceeded the maximum amount of reps attributed to each percentage in the table.

Again, I cannot recommend this as being enough progressive overload, nor how long this could take, but it is still a pretty solid approach to covering multiple intensities and rep ranges so adaptation should still take place.

If all of this is confusing, I tried my best to lie out. If you’re looking for a plan that all the numbers are just laid out, with work outs that can be done in a similar amount of time, check out my eBook below

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This has all the periodization, exercise selection, and percentage calculations done for you. It even has a handy dandy spreadsheet that you just plug your maxes in and you’re ready to go. Check it out.

Feel free to comment below if you’re going to give this template a go! Let me know what you think!

 

Printable Tables

Intensity % of 1RM Overall Volume Goal Minimum (Bad day) Max (retest needed)
Light 60-70% 30 18 40
Medium 72.5-80% 28 12 24
Heavy 82.5-90% 15 10 20
Savage 90%+ 7 4 10
Squat Bench Deadlift Overhead Press
Week 1 Light / Top Medium / Middle Heavy / Bottom Savage / Speed
Week 2 Medium / Middle Heavy / Bottom Savage / Speed Light / Middle
Week 3 Heavy / Bottom Savage / Speed Light / Middle Medium / Top
Week 4 Savage /Speed Middle Medium / Top Heavy / Bottom

Print one for each training session

Exercise Day (Light, Heavy etc) Sets Reps Weights used Total Volume Achieved
Working Sets
Assistance
Antagonist/ unilateral
Antagonist/ unilateral
Notes