• Generalized Intermediate Program

      I get lots of people coming on the site asking for a program check. Actually thoroughly checking a program is an involved process and it usually requires more information than the poster supplies. Whatís more, it turns out that ďis this a good programĒ is actually a bad question. Yes, thereís science and some hard rules when it comes to planning training. But thereís also a lot of art to it. So posting a program and asking if itís good is kind of like posting a picture of a painting and asking for a critique. You can critique some stuff, but how you paint isnít going to be the same way I paint.

      With that in mind, I decided to write the General Intermediate Program. This is a simple 9 week program for people to use and use as inspiration for their own programming.

      When I get a new athlete for coaching, I first gather a lot of information. This keeps me from making assumptions during the planning process and helps me to write effective training from the first training day. In an instance like this, Iím building a generalized program, so there isnít a person to provide those details. That means theyíre left as assumptions.

      In order to be as clear about my assumptions as possible, Iím going to write this program for an avatar. That means Iím going to write it for a person who doesnít really exist, but is a composite of many people who often ask this question. The closer you are to the avatar, the better it will work for you. The further away, the more stuff should change.

      The Avatar
      This program is written for David. David is 30 years old and weighs 215 pounds. He has been lifting for 4 years and has posted Class 3 numbers in the Russian Classification Chart. He comes from a background of various 5x5 programs and has done a short stint of 5/3/1. He is able to continue his transition from a 3x weekly template to a 4x weekly template. He has read enough articles on the RTS site to be familiar with RPEís and Fatigue percents. He has no significant injuries and no significant time restrictions. He has basic equipment. David trains and competes raw (no knee wraps). He deadlifts conventional style and his sticking points are all at the bottom of the lift.

      The Program
      Week 1
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      3ct Pause Bench Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets

      Tuesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      Floor Press Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      Front Squat Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets

      Thursday
      Exercise Protocol
      Pin Squat Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x6 @10 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      Push Press Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      2" Deficit Deadlift Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      Close Grip Bench Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets
      Snatch Grip SLDL Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) No Drop Sets

      Week 2
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      2ct Pause Bench Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Tuesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Pin Press (mid range) Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      303 Tempo Squat Work up to x7 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Thursday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt, wraps Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Close Grip Incline Work up to x7 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      Rack Pull (below knee) Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      J.M. Press Work up to x7 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Lever Rows Work up to x7 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Week 3
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      3ct Pause Bench Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue

      Tuesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Floor Press Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Front Squat Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue

      Thursday
      Exercise Protocol
      Pin Squat Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x8 @10 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Push Press Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      2" Deficit Deadlift Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Close Grip Bench Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Snatch Grip SLDL Work up to x5 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue

      Week 4
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      2ct Pause Bench Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Tuesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Pin Press (mid range) Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      303 Tempo Squat Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Thursday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt, wraps Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Close Grip Incline Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      Rack Pull (below knee) Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      J.M. Press Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Lever Rows Work up to x6 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue

      Week 5
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x7 @10 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Close Grip Bench Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Wednesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Push Press Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue
      Front Squat Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      2ct Pause Squat Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Pin Press (chest level) Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Snatch Grip SLDL Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Week 6
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Close Grip Floor Press Work up to x6 @8 (Repeat) 6-9% Fatigue

      Wednesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x4 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Military Work up to x6 @8 (Repeat) 6-9% Fatigue
      2ct Pause Squat Work up to x6 @8 (Repeat) 6-9% Fatigue

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt, wraps Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      2ct Pause Bench Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 6-9% Fatigue
      Pendlay Rows Work up to x6 @8 (Repeat) 6-9% Fatigue
      Week 7
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x6 @10 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Close Grip Bench Work up to x4 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Wednesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Push Press Work up to x4 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue
      Front Squat Work up to x4 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      2ct Pause Squat Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Pin Press (chest level) Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Snatch Grip SLDL Work up to x4 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Week 8
      Monday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Bench (touch and go) Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Close Grip Floor Press Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Wednesday
      Exercise Protocol
      Competition Raw Bench Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Deadlift w/belt Work up to x3 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Military Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue
      2ct Pause Squat Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Friday
      Exercise Protocol
      Squat w/belt, wraps Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      2ct Pause Bench Work up to x2 @9 (Load Drop) 4-6% Fatigue
      Pendlay Rows Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

      Week 9
      Monday: Squat, Bench, and Deadlift. Work up to 92% of previous 1RM for one set of one.
      Wednesday: Squat, Bench, and Deadlift. Go through your warm up routine (not heavier than 80%)
      Friday / Saturday: Practice competition. Test 1RM in Squat, Bench, and Deadlift

      Other useful articles:
      Understanding RPE's
      Fatigue Percents Revisited
      Anything in this section
      Comments 244 Comments
      1. Richard Ivory's Avatar
        Richard Ivory -
        mike I am also doing the 3 day a week program and following this template in week 2 now, but it the book it says first 3 weeks volume next 3 weeks intensity ? so now confused what to do for the next cycle after this 4 weeks

        I have also bought the book and seminar video and just want to get this right
      1. chewbacca's Avatar
        chewbacca -
        Mike, if for some reason I run out of time for one of the lifts on a particular day, would it be wise to then finish off the lift the next day (typically a rest day)? I notice most of the weeks have rest days separating each training day.
      1. SteveG's Avatar
        SteveG -
        Hi mike, what does the 303 tempo squat mean? Thanks!
      1. aucran's Avatar
        aucran -
        Quote Originally Posted by SteveG View Post
        Hi mike, what does the 303 tempo squat mean? Thanks!
        303 Tempo Squat is 3 seconds on the decent, and 3 seconds on the accent. (Slow and controlled movement, keeping good form the entire time.)

        (There is no pause at the bottom)
      1. Mike Tuchscherer's Avatar
        Mike Tuchscherer -
        Re: Adapting to either 3 or 4 days per week. Fellas, it's your program. Adapt it if you want. You don't need my permission.

        This program is different from what's in the book. If you're doing this program, then do it. If you're following the book, then do that. Both are fine. Remember, you're trying to learn a set of tools. You will get stronger while you learn to use them, but don't worry a lot about the program being perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect to see progress (unless you're already a very high level lifter).

        Yes, if you can't get to something in a session (the gym closes early or whatever), rolling it to the next day or even the next training day is fine. Just do what you can not to let this affect your performance on the big lifts.
      1. Joel's Avatar
        Joel -
        I am VERY new to this forum.. I am going to give RTS a try & this Temp looks like a good starting point, I am struggling to see how you piece all the assist/secondary lifts in & program them with fluctuating volume? Some lifts change from week to week? My copy of The RTS manual should arrive any day, once I have read this will piecing together a training plan make more sense???
        I am used to 5/3/1 4 day Full body training but not with so many different versions of the comp lifts.. Am I over thinking this???

        Any help would be greatly appreciated??
      1. seth1029's Avatar
        seth1029 -
        No your not over thinking it, if you haven't read the book then it might seem confusing. When you get the book and read it you'll be more than fine to get started.
      1. Joel's Avatar
        Joel -
        Quote Originally Posted by seth1029 View Post
        No your not over thinking it, if you haven't read the book then it might seem confusing. When you get the book and read it you'll be more than fine to get started.
        Okay thanks for your help Seth.. I am pretty sure I understand the RPE's okay after reading a fair bit on here.. Just choosing the reps to hit at that certain RPE & the structure/layout of the assistance lifts has me spinning a bit.. Hope the book arrives soon, I am keen to get stuck into it..

        Thanks again
      1. aucran's Avatar
        aucran -
        Keep in mind the assistance work is to help out the lifter's weak points. You should choose the assistance work that will give you the most benefit.

        Rep/Sets won't matter too much for the extra work, 3-5 Sets of 3-5 Reps (plus or minus a bit depending on weight used and purpose of the lift)

        Think of it as, your competition lift reps make you stronger, your assistance work only helps you keep better form for the competition lift (which in turn, lets you move more weight).
      1. Joel's Avatar
        Joel -
        Quote Originally Posted by aucran View Post
        Keep in mind the assistance work is to help out the lifter's weak points. You should choose the assistance work that will give you the most benefit.

        Rep/Sets won't matter too much for the extra work, 3-5 Sets of 3-5 Reps (plus or minus a bit depending on weight used and purpose of the lift)

        Think of it as, your competition lift reps make you stronger, your assistance work only helps you keep better form for the competition lift (which in turn, lets you move more weight).
        Okay this is helpful... I am fairly sure know what's needed on the assit lifts to help with the weak areas of my comp lifts
        So if can be a pain & ask a couple more questions, on a 4 day training weeks there will be:
        Squat - comp lift, 1 prim assist & 1 secondary asssit lift
        Bench - Comp lift, 2 prim assit & 2-3 secondary assit lifts
        Dead - comp lift, 1 prim assist & 1 secondary asssit lift

        Using this template as an example for the above layout??? I like the look of this GIP to get started until I read/understand the RTS manual, I may just need to change a couple of the assit lifts to suit my weak areas..

        Also how far forward do you guys do up your training templates??? I have my next meet on August 15th.
      1. Joel's Avatar
        Joel -
        Bumping my questions above back up to the top for some help guys sorry....

        Also Mike or anyone else I have always programmed some sort of Rows in every week to prevent imbalances, this temp doesn't have a lot of rows in there.. Do you think they are important to be in the program every week or just every other week?? This is not a big issue just looking for opinions..
      1. ChadHydro's Avatar
        ChadHydro -
        As far as the exercise slots, you got it mostly right except there are 3 slots for competition bench and 3 slots for lockout work.

        You can do rows. They're considered GPP. They're just not that important
      1. Joel's Avatar
        Joel -
        Quote Originally Posted by ChadHydro View Post
        As far as the exercise slots, you got it mostly right except there are 3 slots for competition bench and 3 slots for lockout work.

        You can do rows. They're considered GPP. They're just not that important
        Okay thanks Chad much appreciated mate... The temp layout is making a lot more sense now cheers..
        As for the rows if you do them would you plan them in as an extra on training days? Or is the that pushing the volume of lifts just too high? This question is really minor & the ones regarding lifting slots was my main concern so cheers for that.
      1. ChadHydro's Avatar
        ChadHydro -
        If you have a GPP day where you do conditioning and the like you can throw them in there. Otherwise throwing them in once a week after a training session probably won't hurt
      1. Joel's Avatar
        Joel -
        Quote Originally Posted by ChadHydro View Post
        If you have a GPP day where you do conditioning and the like you can throw them in there. Otherwise throwing them in once a week after a training session probably won't hurt
        that's what I thought.. Thanks again mate
      1. Subsistance's Avatar
        Subsistance -
        Can someone explain to me how the repeats work here? It seems to me that for something like this from week 5: Close Grip Bench Work up to x5 @8 (Repeat) 4-6% Fatigue

        Using the standard RPE chart here: http://www.powerliftingtowin.com/wp-.../miket-rpe.png

        You would see that x5@8 = 81% and you need 81% + 5% fatigue = 86% so you do x5@10 = 86%. So basically you pick an RPE of 8 and repeat it until it becomes a 10 for the same reps and weight.

        But then in week 6 you are to do: Close Grip Floor Press Work up to x6 @8 (Repeat) 6-9% Fatigue

        So if you start at x6@8 = 79% and you add ~7.5% you reach 86.5%. But x6@10 is only 84% so it is impossible to hit a fatigue % above 5%.

        So how to I accurately do the program? Should I add a LD for the final 2.5% so I hit the correct fatigue? Or a rep drop? Just limit things at 10 and not go above 5% fatigue? Or am I looking at repeats totally wrong?

        Looking at the example from "fatigue percents revisited" it looks like 5% fatigue only brings the trainee from @8 to @9, which leaves me doubly confused.
      1. sparkskk's Avatar
        sparkskk -
        Subsistance, you have the correct understanding of how fatigue percents should work.
        However, when 5% fatigue is programmed for me from @8 RPE then I work to @9 and stop. With 6 - 9% fatigue, I work to @9.5/10 RPE. This seems to work well in practice and I think this is what some of the other lifters around here do too.
      1. Subsistance's Avatar
        Subsistance -
        Quote Originally Posted by sparkskk View Post
        Subsistance, you have the correct understanding of how fatigue percents should work.
        However, when 5% fatigue is programmed for me from @8 RPE then I work to @9 and stop. With 6 - 9% fatigue, I work to @9.5/10 RPE. This seems to work well in practice and I think this is what some of the other lifters around here do too.
        Interesting. So you basically just decide to only gain 3% fatigue instead of a full 5% (or 5 instead of 7.5%) on repeats. This doesn't seem to throw off the planned accumulation of fatigue? Or do repeats just naturally accumulate more fatigue for a given % than Load or Rep drops? I'm still somewhat new to this, sorry if it has already been discussed. Has Mike clarified this anywhere I could read?
      1. Mike Tuchscherer's Avatar
        Mike Tuchscherer -
        More info on repeats: http://forum.reactivetrainingsystems...ents-Revisited
      1. Subsistance's Avatar
        Subsistance -
        Quote Originally Posted by Mike Tuchscherer View Post
        Thanks Mike. I did actually read that article which is what lead to my question. I think the issue is actually that of differing fatigue charts. The chart I was using is linked here:

        http://www.powerliftingtowin.com/wp-.../miket-rpe.png

        and seems reasonably accurate for me personally.

        If using such a chart a fatigue % of 5% means an initial RPE of 8 often ends in an RPE of 10 (and an RPE of 6-9% to actually be impossible to acheive starting at an RPE of 8 via repeats alone). In the example in the article you linked a 5% fatigue brings the trainee from an @8 to an @9, but it is clear this won't be the case for all trainees (as their RPE % charts vary).

        Another user mentioned simply having 5% fatigue mean to go from and RPE of 8 to 9 and for 7.5% to mean to go from 8 to 10, ignoring that this does not correspond to one's personal RPE chart.

        Do you have any insight into this? If 5% fatigue means going from @8 to @10 as per one's personal RPE % chart, do you think better to go from 8 to 10 for the repeats or simply take 5% as meaning "go from @8 to @9" and ignoring the chart?

        Hope my question makes sense. Thanks!