Posted on February 20, 2019 by Alex Parry

Have you ever been curious how a workout might look different for various levels of ability?  Well here’s a classic full body strength workout adapted for beginners, intermediates and advanced lifters respectively. This is also a great workout if you’re looking to improve your strength gains. You would start at beginner, train hard to move to intermediate and so on.

Make sure to start each workout with a good warm up and finish with some core work and stretching.


This group is basically anyone who can still progress every single workout, i.e. if they lift 30kg on Monday they can lift 32.5kg on Wednesday.  Most people fall into this group, they just don’t know it because they never track their weights!  Interestingly though this is the BEST place to be as a lifter, because it’s as a beginner that you can make the most progress.

Back Squat: 3×5
Bench Press 3×5
Deadlift: 1×5

The overall session volume is pretty low, and that’s because beginners simply don’t need much work to stimulate adaptation.  For progression, you simply add a little weight (1.25-2.5kg) every workout for as long as you can.



This group is defined as people who can no longer progress every single workout.  For this group progress comes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  It takes more stress to cause improvements and this stress takes longer to recover from.

Back Squat: 5×5
Bench Press: 5×5
Deadlift: 3×5

You’ve got more sets and thus more overall volume than the beginner workout, which should stimulate some adaptation.  If you did this on a Monday you would have to have a lighter Wednesday before pushing it again on friday.



This last group is everyone who can no longer make progress on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis.  Progress takes a gargantuan effort, and no single session is enough to cause further adaptation.  On top of this, each session is so stressful that recovery can take multiple days if not entire weeks.  This group generally has to use more complex programmes, periodisation (the prioritization of certain goals) and planning.

Back Squat:  Top set of 5 reps at RPE 8, 2 back off sets at RPE 6

Bench Press:  3×5 at RPE 7

Deadlift: 1-2 sets of 5 at RPE 7 (Every other week)

RPE means Rate of Perceived Exertion, and is a way of judging how hard you’re working.  More advanced lifters tend not to train maximally simply because the stress that this places on their body is too difficult to recover from.

And there you go, three different levels of full body strength workout for three different ability levels.

Which do you think is most appropriate for you?