Growing Strong: The Ultimate 8 Week Workout for Intermediates

Are you an intermediate lifter looking to get bigger and stronger? This 8 week workout program is exactly what you need to build more lean muscle mass!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
8 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

So, you’ve done your beginner training homework and are ready for a new challenge.

As you think deeper, you’re neither a newbie anymore but you’re not quite an advanced lifter.

You’ll need a nice intermediary program to get you to the next level, stay on cruise control and add even more muscle and strength to your foundation of a physique.

Now intermediate doesn’t necessarily mean doubling up on every aspect of training. You’re not yet at the endurance level to take on such an endeavor nor do you really want to.

At the intermediate time of your life you may feel the uncontrollable urge to add on a slew of new exercises and try every technique under the sun, but take smaller steps and allow your body to adapt and grow.

Below is an 8 week workout program designed specifically for the intermediate lifter. It’s the next logical step toward graduating and leveling up your physique.

The Ultimate 8 Week Workout for Intermediates

Perform the following program four days per week with no more than two consecutive training days in a row.

For example, you can train on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays while taking off Wednesdays and the weekends.

Take 60 second rest periods after each set and exercise.

Monday
Exercise Warm Up Sets Working Sets
1. Incline Barbell Bench Press 2 x 12 3 x 8-12
2. Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 x 8-12
3. Wide Grip Pullup 2 x 12 on pull downs 3 x failure
4. Bent-Over Barbell Row - 3 x 8-12
5. Seated Dumbbell Press 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
6. Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise - 3 x 8-12
7. Sit Ups - 3 x 20
Tuesday
Exercise Warm Up Sets Working Sets
1. Barbell Curl 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
2. Lying Triceps Extension 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
3. Standing Calf Raise 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
4. Barbell Back Squat 2 x 12 3 x 8-12
5. Dumbbell Lunge - 3 x 8-12
6. Barbell Romanian Deadlift 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
7. Hanging Leg Raise - 3 x 20
Thursday
Exercise Warm Up Sets Working Sets
1. Barbell Bench Press 2 x 12 3 x 8-12
2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 x 8-12
3. Close Grip Pull Up 2 x 12 on pull down 3 x failure
4. Cable Row - 3 x 8-12
5. Barbell Upright Row 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
6. Military Press - 3 x 8-12
7. Floor Crunch - 3 x 20
Friday
Exercise Warm Up Sets Working Sets
1. Seated Dumbbell Curl 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
2. Weighted Dip 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
3. Seated Calf Raise 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
4. Barbell Front Squat 2 x 12 3 x 8-12
5. Leg Press - 3 x 8-12
6. Lying Leg Curl 1 x 12 3 x 8-12
7. Lying Leg Raise - 3 x 20

25 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:35
Victor

Hi, I'd like to know how much cardio I should do and how many days.

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Posted Fri, 04/27/2018 - 08:58
Amal Vincent

I have been following this schedule 5 weeks but I still can't do the hanging leg raises, as I lose the grip very easily(Almost after 8-11 reps).
Similar problems arise and lose grip when I do 3 sets of dumbbell lunges (12 on each leg)with each dumbbell greater than 27.5 lb, while I can do way heavier leg presses(around 150 lb).
Is it natural or do I need to do anything additional to improve my grip.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 04/27/2018 - 12:24
JoshEngland

Hi Amal,

Yes, this is natural. Hang in there and perform the program to the best of your ability. You'll build greater grip strength over time this way.

You can do additional exercises to improve grip if you like. However, it does take time and the exercises you're currently struggling with will help you accomplish grip strength in the long run.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 04/28/2018 - 10:18
Amal Vincent

Thanks a lot for the response.
If my grip falls of after 11 reps in the hanging leg raises, what should I do to complete the set? Right now now I do remaining 9 with lying leg raises.
Also I must admit all the abs excercises are far to easy with 3x20 nowadays. Should I increase the number of reps.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/30/2018 - 09:31
JoshEngland

Hi Amal,

Sure, both of those options sound fine. Finish out the lift by performing lying leg raises and up the rep ranges if you find them too easy.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 14:28
David Swope

What is the purpse of the “warm up” sets? Esp the ones in the middle to end of the workout? By then im pretty warmed up. And what weight do i use for the warm up? Thanks, loving this workout so far!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 15:19
JoshEngland

Hi David,

You're warming up a different range of motion before loading it for your working sets. Use 50-60% of your working weight.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 03/27/2018 - 10:33
James

Does the workout change reps or different exercises through the weeks. If I can not figure out how. I downloaded it but it only shows the first 4days

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/27/2018 - 10:46
JoshEngland

Hi James,

Perform the same workouts during the program duration (same reps, same exercises). Track the weight you use and aim to increase the weight used during that time.

Keeping as many variables the same as possible allows you to track your workouts better and increase the weight used so you can achieve progressive overload (one of the keys to making progress).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 03/24/2018 - 06:14
Azhar

I can't do pull ups, is their any possibility of replacing pull ups and dips with something else?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/26/2018 - 09:31
JoshEngland

Hi Azhar,

I'd recommend eccentric only variations of the exercises of band assisted variations if needed.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/22/2018 - 09:13
Darshan

First of all, thanks for this awesome routine :)

I’ve two questions:
1) Where do we fit the cardio around this program for once a day gym visit (not weekends)
2) What would you recommend next step/program should be after this 8 week program if goal is to build muscles

Thanks again!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:38
JoshEngland

Hi Darshan,

1. Feel free to add cardio as desired.

2. For the next workout to this series, go here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/finishing-strong-ultimate-8-w...

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 02/23/2018 - 15:33
JoshEngland

Hi Darshan,

You're very welcome. Perform cardio after your workouts and yes, you can certainly incorporate cardio on Wednesday if you'd like to.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:48
Darshan

Thanks for your reply. As for cardio, I meant to ask if it should be done before or after? And if Wednesday can be a cardio day? Any help is appreciated, thanks again :)

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Posted Tue, 01/30/2018 - 23:58
Sharane

What does "on pull downs" mean for the warm up sets of wide grip pull ups?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/31/2018 - 15:02
JoshEngland

Hi Sharane,

Perform 2 sets of pull downs as the warm up.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 12:09
JC

Any issues with overlapping by working chest one day then triceps the next day?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 16:30
JoshEngland

Hi JC,

You should be fine in this instance. Just be sure that you're utilizing your chest as the prime mover during your press movements on chest days.

If you're concerned about overtraining the triceps, we have plenty of other workouts on the site that do not train the 2 muscle groups on consecutive days: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/09/2018 - 04:24
Steeeve B

How much weight would you recommend for warm-up sets relative to how much you lift during normal sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 01/09/2018 - 08:34
JoshEngland

Hi Steeeve,

50-60% of your working max.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 12/06/2017 - 22:54
Dimitri Cesar

Hi,
How can I replace pullover, leg press and cable row as I work at home.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 12/07/2017 - 08:37
JoshEngland

Hi Dimitri,

I'd go with:

Pullover - Dumbbell pullover, or another pull up variation
Leg Press - Another squat or lunge variation.
Cable Row - A Dumbbell Row variation.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 12/04/2017 - 16:43
Frank

How much rest time should I take in between sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/04/2017 - 16:49
JoshEngland

Hi Frank,

Rest for 60 seconds.

Hope this helps!