Heavy Light Medium

After exhausting the Advanced Novice Program, it’s a good idea to settle into a program you can do that will still deliver strength improvement on a week to week basis.  Probably the most famous intermediate template is the Texas Method, which we’ll go over in a separate post.

This is a version I like that more closely adheres to the Heavy day, Light Day, and Medium Day concept in the Texas Method, but is a little easier to run for a longer period of time.

Day One: Heavy Day

The purpose of day one is to drive the stress way up.

Squat 3-5 sets of 5 reps across, with 80-90% of your best completed working sets. rest up to 8-10 minutes between sets. This is hugely important, as this drives everything else.

Bench Press or Press – same deal 3-5×5, 80-90%of best completed work sets, same rest. You can alternate these as you have been

Deadlift – work up to a heavy single, double, triple, or five. The first time you run this, run it out, meaning you do 5s until you can’t, then 3s, then 2’s, and finally one ultimate heavy single. After you’ve exhausted that, you might want to do something like this: a week of 5, a week of 3, a week of 2, and a week of 1.  Each time you cycle through, try to improve on that week.

If you need to, you can split this workout up over 2 days; Presses one day, Squats the next or vice versa; Deadlifts always on the second day, after the other lift. This is really important if you need 5×5 on both squats and presses to drive your lifts up, and you’re older than 35, or you’re older than 55.  If you split it up like this – Presses the first day,and then Squat + Deadlift the second, you can do 3×10 Barbell Curls and 3xM dips if you like after the presses. This is everyone’s favorite because they get to do arm work.

Day Two: Light Day

Front Squat 3×3 across. Because of the leverage difference, front squats are no where near as difficult to recover from. They provide a little variety and stimulus. Alternatively, you can Squat 2×5 with 80% of your best sets.

Bench Press or Press – which ever one you did not do on your heavy day. 3×5 at 80% of your best.

Chins 3xM

Back Extensions 5×10

Day Three: Medium Day

Squat – work up to 2-3 sets of 2-3 reps at the next heaviest weight than Day One. This prepares your body to handle this load the next day one for sets of 5.

Bench Press or Press – same idea.  The lift you did day one, you work up to 2-3 sets of 2-3 reps at the next heaviest weight for the next time you do this on day one. The next light day you do that lift, use 80% of this weight.

Power Clean 5 sets of 3 or Power Snatch 6 sets of 2 – the quicker lifts drive up the DL on Day One. I suggest alternating each week, and also not worrying too terribly much about the weight, especially on the snatches.

You’ll notice right away that this program is much less prescriptive, and much less about driving progress from each workout. This is the ultimate slow cooker program; whereas in the novice program you were improving your squat as much as 40 pounds in the first week, here you might improve only 5 pounds a week. But, because you can run this program for a long time, that adds up, and gradually you’re lifting obscene weight as a matter of course.

You’ll also notice a little more variety – you’re able to handle some.

Last, about set up. If three days a week, Mon/Wed/Fri, Sun/Tues/Thurs or Tues/Thurs/Sat works.

Four Days will work best with

Sun/Mon/Wed/Friday OR Mon/Tuesday/Thursday/Sat.  I like to try to get a weekend day in because it is usually easier to schedule.

If you’re under 35, Mon/Tues/Thur/Friday is a possibility but I don’t like it as much.  If you want that set up, this is what I’d do instead:

Monday: Press Volume, Chins

Tuesday: Squat Volume, Deadlift

Thursday: Press Intensity, Chins

Friday: Squat Intensity, Cleans or Snatches.

I do not really recommend this, but other people swear by it. The key is progressing from Volume to Intensity over the course of the week. I am only using Press here for notational convenience but I would alternate Pressing and Benching here as well, so it would be Bench Volume, then Press Intensity, then Press Volume, then Bench Intensity, or you could alternate weeks of pressing and weeks of benching. Either way, when you are strong enough that this is what you’re considering, you should know best for your goals.

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