Best Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced Programs

Novice
1- Starting Strength 0:41
2- Jason Blaha’s Novice 5×5 1:00
3- My Novice Program 1:26

Intermediate (some advanced too)
1- Texas Method or Madcowx 5×5 2:13
2- The Alpha Body 3:11
3- The Westside Barbell Method 3:56
4- Dan Green’s BBSM 4:56
5- HST-TRAINING 6:02

Advanced 6:30
4- Smolov
5- Bulgarian Method
6- Sheiko

Novice Programs

1- Starting Strength

The name should give away the entire program itself. “Starting Strength” is designed to provide first year lifters with a great foundation of strength and muscle mass. It is a simple program that utilizes few exercises, with minimal deviations in sets/reps. Unlike other Novice programs, Starting Strength incorporates power cleans rather than rows, which is actually quite specific for athletes. Therefore, this program is perfect if one wishes to build a nice foundation of athletic potential.

2- Jason Blaha’s Novice 5×5

This is a maximum hypertrophy program, designed to add 10-20lbs to your frame within 6-12 months of training. It also features extremely high volume, with lots of exercises with numerous sets/reps combinations. I would recommend this program for bodybuilders or strength athletes that can handle large amounts of volume. It will get you big and jacked at the same time, which is definitely a big plus of this program.

3- My Novice Program

This is a program specifically designed for recreational lifters. It utilizes a high volume setup, but modifies the exercise selection to balance out recovery. Unlike other novice programs, this one incorporates box squats instead of free squats, trap-bar deadlift instead of conventional deadlift, and floor press instead of bench press. All of these factors develop complete general strength, as well as maximizing recovery. Finally, this program will give you 10-20lbs of muscle within 6-12 months.

Intermediate Programs

1- Texas Method or Madcowx 5×5

These are arguably the best programs for early intermediates. They continue the path of linear progression, making you add weight on weekly basis. They will bring you to a 315×5 squat to a 405×5 squat within a relatively short time-frame. Although both programs are similar, the Texas Method possesses slightly higher volume, and utilizes straight sets, while Madcows 5×5 is lower in volume, but uses ramping sets (pyramid-like) instead. Therefore, depending on your own preferences and ability to recover, you have the option of doing either program. One thing about these programs, is that you will be gambling every single week. That means, you have one shot to make a PR, and you are literally milking every last bit of linear progression for what it’s worth. Make sure you eat and sleep a lot, otherwise you will lose your gamble every time.

2- The Alpha Body

This is a program designed for recreational lifters, which has an extreme focus on general strength and overall muscle mass. It gives you the bench pressing strength of a powerlifter, the overhead pressing strength of a strongman, the leg strength of a field athlete, the relative strength of a gymnast, and the aesthetics of an oldschool bodybuilder. It follows a full body concurrent training style, which is extremely unique. This program can also be classified as Advanced.

3- The Westside Barbell Method

This is a fantastic program designed for all athletes. It revolves around the max effort method, the dynamic effort method, and most importantly the idea of high exercise selection to build complete strength and prevent accommodation. Many people who follow this program will require bands and chains, but nonetheless it is still a beautiful system, and is completely surrounded by math, physics, and biomechanics. If you are looking for a solid athletic program, the Westside Barbell Method is what you’re looking for. This program can also be classified as Advanced.

4- Dan Green’s BBSM

Dan Green’s BBSM is specifically designed for raw powerlifting. It is extremely unique because of its “movement days” approach. In other words, it usually consists of 2 squat days, 1 deadlift day, 1 bench press day, and 1 overhead press day. This is exactly what a 5 day bodybuilding split would look like, except this time around instead of being “muscle days” it’s “movement days”. Therefore, it is extremely specific to raw powerlifting. I would recommend this program for those that enjoy linear workouts, in addition to low exercise selection and also to bodybuilders that are just transitioning out off a 5 day split. This program can also be classified as Advanced.

5- HST-TRAINING

This is the program that bodybuilders will be looking for. It’s designed to get you jacked fast, rather than being strong. That being said, this is great for people who are only interested in aesthetics, and have no desire to be even remotely athletic or have any noticeable strength. This program is like having a beautiful Ferrari, but with a burnt engine. It’s absolutely perfect for those that value bodybuilding, men’s physique, or body art.

Advanced Programs

1- Smolov
2- Bulgarian Method
3- Sheiko

These 3 programs are exclusively advanced, and extremely difficult to cover in a quick article like this. They require thorough examination and full understanding in order to benefit from their usage. That being said though, I can tell you that they are all very high in frequency, have low exercise selection, and are extremely specific to whatever sport you compete in. These programs are designed to give advanced lifters that last little bit of competitive edge, which other programs sometimes fail to address.

Pour Conclure

I hope that this article has given you a general idea as to what programs are appropriate to you.

If you have any other programs that you’d like to recommend, leave a comment down below!

I’d love to hear what’s worked for you.

Your man,

-Alex

17 Comments

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