T Nation

Intermediate Strength Program for Women


My girlfriend took an interest in strength training about 6 months ago and started working out with me. I had her use the Starting Strength template and so far she's made great progress, but she's starting to stall on the squat after a couple of resets. Her squat has gone from the bar to 145 x 5. She weighs 130lbs. I'm thinking it may be time to start looking for an intermediate program for her to try out, but I wanted to get the input of some of the women on this forum about the programs that have been used and which ones I could look into.

Thanks in advance!


This really should have been posted in the PW Q & A sticky.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that her goal is to get bigger (to some degree) and stronger since you didn't explicitly state any goals....

5/3/1 is nice and simple. And it works. If she's only been lifting for 6 months there's no need to get fancy. Continuing to focus on the big 3 is going to get her bigger and stronger and having the freedom to structure her accessory work as you two see fit will allow her to address any imbalances/weaknesses/secondary goals.


Thanks, yeah I considered 5/3/1 for her, as it's pretty simple. I've used it myself for a couple of cycles in the past. However, I thought she may be able to milk a weekly progression for a while before switching to a monthly progression.


What's her deadlift right now? She would probably be able to continue with a weekly progression on her deadlift, but she may benefit from the deload every 4 weeks, though it may be a better idea to deload every 5 or 6 weeks depending on how she's responding to the training and if her deadlift is still progressing. I can foresee a problem with 5/3/1 regarding her squat. If her squat is already starting to stall now, it may start to regress if she is only training it for one max effort set once a week. You should probably have her squat twice a week. Look into the Texas Method as a possible intermediate program.