Nuckols intermediate

Very simple progression that works well for most intermediate lifters:

Week 1
75% 5×8

Week 2
80% 1×5
75% 4×8

Week 3
80% 2×5
75% 3×8

Week 4
80% 3×5
75% 2×8

Week 5
80% 4×5
75% 1×8

Week 6
Retest 1rm, no other volume for your main lift, and volume reduced by about 50% for your accessories. This week and week 12 essentially function as deloads

Week 7
80% 5×5

Week 8
85% 1×3
80% 4×5

Week 9
85% 2×3
80% 3×5

Week 10
85% 3×3
80% 2×5

Week 11
85% 4×3
80% 1×5

Week 12

Week 13
85% 5×3

Week 14
90% 1×2
85% 4×3

Week 15
90% 2×2
85% 3×3

Week 16
90% 3×2
85% 2×3

Week 17
95% 2×1

Week 18
85% 3×1 if peaking for a meet (competition at the end of week 19) or retest if normal training

You can do this for your main training session of the week for each lift.

If you’re training a lift twice per week, then your other workout should either train the same movement with higher reps, or a close variation of the main lifts with higher reps (i.e. front squat or paused squats instead of squats, close grip bench or bench with your feet up instead of bench, RDLs or opposite stance deadlift instead of deadlift with your dominant stance).

If you’re training a lift three times per week, then your third workout should basically just be active recovery so that you’ll be fresh for your main session. ~60-70% for 6-10 sets of 2-4 reps, accelerating each rep as explosively as possible.

Toss in some accessory work for lagging muscles, and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid program that’ll last you until early May.

On average, this basic setup nets people 60-100lbs on their total if they’re in a surplus or at maintenance, and 20-50lbs on their total if they’re in a modest deficit. Not recommended if you’re in an aggressive deficit.

Also note that this is just a basic outline, not a customized training plan. If you look at this and think, « that just doesn’t sound like it would be right for me, » then it probably isn’t.


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