Exercise Progression

Choosing the right exercises is key to making the progress you want in the gym.
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Beginner: For people with less than three years in the gym, it’s key to lay a solid foundation for future lifting. Things like full squats, bench press, some deadlift variation, and an overhead press should be included in your program. This isn’t the time to explore programs like squatting everyday or using some program that has you in the gym for hours each day. Keep it simple; Learn the proper exercise technique and train hard.
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Intermediate: Lifters with 3 to 6 years in the gym need to start exploring new ways to gain strength and size. What got you to this point, probably won’t get you past this phase. However, you should still incorporate full squats, deadlifts, etc like you did in the beginner phase, but add in pause squats, board presses, etc to continue making progress. Basically, you want to start incorporating more variation of the squat, bench, and deadlift.
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Advanced: Lifters with 6 plus years in the gym need to begin specifying their training. Much of the time should be spent doing the squat, bench, and deadlift and variations of them. Assistance exercises will be much less compared to a beginner to intermediate lifter. You should still do everything a beginner and intermediate does, such as full squats and board presses, but think about incorporating isometrics and complex training for example. You probably won’t gain much more muscle in this phase, making it key to focus on strength gain at this point. Attacking weaknesses is also very important to making progress.
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These phases should look like a pyramid; Very general work should fill the bottom (beginning phase) with very specified (advanced phase) training at the top.
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Advanced lifters should still do the intermediate and beginner exercises/variations.
Intermediate lifters should also do the beginner exercises/variations.

 


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