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 neighbourhood of 6 to 8 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.

These might be 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 to see from 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 that you can execute 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 as you at your training level?

  • 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?
  • 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. 

Recognizing athletic weaknesses and working on them early will show more evidently mid-way through this level as you advance towards it's end. 

Being Instinctive

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 nutrition 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.                 

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, keeping you focused on a better diet.

Once you commit to these actions the 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 feel like being the middle child when it comes to finding decent training routines and building lifting experience goes. 

Find and envision your goal, make it something you can aspire to, just be realistic in your approach. Large gaps in training goal reality, may make them un-achievable.


Over training  without a doubt; can be a common mistake made by intermediate male and 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 an advanced level and on shorter cycled time frames to prevent Over Training!  

Seeing the Big guys on TV or favourite muscle mags and reading how bodybuilding superstars train and the endless sets they perform, builds ‘hype’.

This hype is designed to do one thing... sell subscriptions or buy their supplement line.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, but they mislead 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 a one size that fits best for most is: stay focused on compound movements.

These are really the bread and butter exercises that are great for building size, strength and conditioning, multi-joint exercise also develop limb coordination and nervous system response time, often needed in sports performance. 

  • 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 challenging 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.


The intermediate level is no different than anything else you take take on, your hard work in the gym as seen by others always gets noticed. 

Visualize you goal and form a plan to it's achievement, to enhance and inspire new strength and athletic sports performance, often becomes the determining factor in what we want from our vision, to (see it through to reality).

Keep the goal and the dream of it - close to you everyday, and don't be afraid to train like hell to achieve it! 

I hope intermediate weight training has given some new food for thought for you, again; if your looking for some new exercises ideas that work well for the intermediate level, check out the super feature link above.  


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