Intermediate Weight Training

Intermediate weight training

If you’re advancing from beginner to intermediate weight training or getting close to making this transition in your lifting level. I’d like to say; congratulations on your ability to stick to your weight training plan and succeed in your goals towards them.

If you have completed somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to 7 months of weight training, increased your strength by 50 to 60% or better and made noticeable improvements in your overall physic. Especially: in the major muscle groups...

Such as: the upper back, legs, chest and shoulders etc.

Here are some great questions to ask before; you begin to really get serious about your intermediate weight training.

  • Do you think you are ready to move to the intermediate weight training level?
  • If you are, do you want to; are you ready physically and mentally?
  • If you are, what results do you want from your intermediate weight training?
  • Are you more interested in Strength or Size or both?
  • Or are you after general weight-loss and fitness conditioning?
  • What kind of time and life-style commitment are you willing to devote to this new level?
  • What are your training Goals and Dreams, do you have a plan you want to execute towards that dream in you training?
  • What are your strength, weight and size goals for your intermediate weight training level?
  • How do you want to see or visualize yourself as you approach the end of this training level?
  • Are you ready for a 30 to 40% increase in your weight training intensity and volume over the next 8 or 10 months?
  • Do you have a training strategy and routine change up plan as you advance further into this new level. 
  • How are you going to evaluate your training when you hit Strength and physic plateaus?
  • Do you have a committed training partner that holds the same goals and enthusiasm in your weight training level, as you?
  • If you don’t have a training partner, do you think you will need one to keep you motivated, or do you work-out better on your own?
  • What body type are you? Are you Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph and how do you want to capitalize on your genetic potential?
  • Last but definitely not least…how Are You Going to add variety and Make Your Workouts Fun and rewarding? To ensure and enjoy longevity in your weight training. 

As you can see; how you approach and manage these questions and train toward them, will have a noticeable effect on the outcome of your intermediate weight training experience.

If you have a positive answer for most or all of the questions above, is showing your serious and ready to approach this new level.

I have found some of the greatest things come from setting the smallest goals... with a little planning towards them, always seems to bring positive results.

The Transition From Beginner to Intermediate

Intermediate level training

The intermediate lifter should focus closer on the entire body, determining weak and strong body parts at this time is important. Generally the easiest to and strongest, are usually the ones that look the best.

Change the focus to the weaker ones and give them the extra effort, to complement and complete your physic and strength curve.

This level needs your attention to focus on a greater spectrum of detail. Meaning: look at the body’s different muscles as upper and lower, inner and outer. 

Understanding and recognizing your weaknesses and working on them early will show more evidently, mid-way through this level as you advance towards the end of it. 

Being Instinctive

Try to make a new effort at this level to be more instinctive and more deliberate in your workouts. Obviously: if you have completed the beginner level? You have what it takes in weight training. Use your instincts!

One of the most fundamental and over looked secrets of intermediate weight training and what it encompasses is: know your body. 

Pay close attention to the feedback your body gives from each training exercise you preform, including how you feel after each training day. This includes the efforts of your nutritional practices also.

Be proactive in your diet don’t allow your training and nutritional goals to go up in smoke, this can always be avoided with some good planning.

e.g., take the time to thaw frozen meat, chicken, fish etc. in the morning, before you leave for work or school for your lunch, or evening meal.                

Make a week long menu or meal plan and leave it on your fridge. This will line-up your mind and menu planning efforts for each week, to keep you focused on a better diet.

Once you commit to these actions your subconscious will begin to take over, and make these actions happen, saving you steps once your at home.

Realistic Intermediate Weight Training 

Sometimes the intermediate level gets missed or skipped in weight training/bodybuilding programs, as attention is often given to beginners starting out. Intrigue will sometimes easily lure people into starting a beginners program...

For intermediates this can often feel like being the middle child as far as intermediate exercises, routines or experance goes: can be harder to find. 

Find and make your goal, make it something you can aspire to, just be realistic in your approach. Large gaps in your training goals, may make them unachievable.


Overtraining  without a doubt; can be a common mistake made by intermediate male and even some female athletes. The old adage of; ‘if seven sets per muscle group is good, then 10 certainly must be better’! Sorry; nothing could be further from the truth. 

This does not mean that there is not a place for volume training as you advance, but this only has its place at a very advanced level and on shorter cycled time frames to prevent Over Training!  

Seeing the Big guys on TV or favorite muscle mags and reading how your favorite bodybuilding superstars train and the endless sets they perform, is only building ‘hype’, towards your muscle and strength growth; nothing more.

This is hype designed to do one thing… sell you a subscription or buy their supplement line.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but they miss-lead a lot of information by having some of these huge men and women showing these heavy volume routines; that will probably not benefit you as an intermediate.

The mental, physical and pharmaceutical level these athletes train at is out of the league of an aspiring intermediate weightlifter.

Building Strength and Muscle Size

Stay focused

Building muscle and strength have different properties to them, but as intermediates the one size that fits best for most is: stay focused on the basic compound  exercises,

These are really the bread and butter exercises that are great for building size, strength and conditioning, multi-joint exercises also help in developing the nervous system to execute these lifts.

  • Intermediate set ranges of these exercises should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 to 9 sets max for larger body parts, such as: upper legs calves, chest and upper–back.
  • 6 or 8 sets on smaller muscle groups, such as: arms abs forearms shoulders glutes etc.
  • For building Strength, a 5-7 rep range should challenge you enough, working with 80 to 90% of your 1RM, (one rep Max) this should put you in a solid position for total muscle stimulation.
  • For hypertrophy, Your rep range as an intermediate to start with should be in the neighborhood of 9 to 11 or 12 reps max and take most exercise sets to 95% failure. From beginner to intermediate this is a big change in intensity, unless you’re in exceptional condition.

Try to train all the major body parts once a week.

I have compiled a large Intermediate super feature  for you that shows a good majority of the best intermediate compound/multi-joint, free weight exercises, and some isolation movements all listed in order of importance.

I also include  a weekly training schedule and a complete guide on how to preform the exercises with the set and rep ranges needed to build strength and muscle mass.


I wish you the best in your new training level, enjoy the intensity of your training as much as you enjoy your rest and a nutritious diet that goes with it.

At the intermediate level it is so important to have a goal and a plan towards that goal. No matter how small, visualize your strength and muscle size increasing to the level that your imaginations dreams will allow.

Keep these goals and dreams close to you every day, and don't be afraid to train like hell towards the goal you set. good luck with your intermediate weight training. DWT

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