Basic 12 Week Strength Program (Program Overview)

This 12 week training cycle is for those that want to build a solid base of strength in the squat, bench, and deadlift and strict press. This 12 week program was inspired by Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 training method, and includes accessory work for each muscle group.

Jim Wendler. His book “5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System to Increase Raw Strength” goes way more in depth into the science and principals of this effective training method.

The program is broken up into 3 different phases. The first phase you will be working with a 5 rep max for the squat, bench, deadlift, and the strict press. The second a 3 rep max, and the last phase a 1 rep max. Each workout will have the prescribed percentages for each main lift (Ex. Day 1 of phase 1 will be, 70% of 5RM 5×5). You will increase in the percentage of your max for three weeks of each phase and the last week will be a deload week where the percentages are significantly lower.

Training intensity is defined as how close a certain prescription is to your max (Ex. 70% of a 1RM is moderate intensity, while 90% of a 1RM is high intensity). As we increase the percentages for the first 3 weeks of each phase, training intensity will go up. Training intensity will go down during the deload week.

Training volume is defined as how many sets and reps you are doing. (Ex. Back squats for 3×1 is low volume, while back squat 10×3 is high volume). Like training intensity mentioned before, training volume will increase for the first 3 weeks of each phase, then go down during the deload week.

The accessory work included in this program is designed to work some of the smaller muscles more directly that are not specifically targeted in the large functional lifts. Not only will it help maintain the health of your body as a whole, but who doesn’t like a good ol’ pump sesh? This addition to the program was largely inspired by Cory Gregory from Max Effort Muscle. He is largely responsible, with the help of Olympic weightlifting coach John Broz, for popularizing the squat everyday method. He is a huge fan of lunges and was the one who got me hooked on lunges and lots of bodybuilding moves after the big compound lifts. This method isn’t anything new or ground breaking, but Cory was the one who got me hooked on it.

Cory Gregory. For more info on Cory and all his crazy workouts, head to CoryGfitness.com.

The program is listed as Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. These do not need to be done in succession. It is preferred to have at least one day of rest between training days. If you have a busy week and have to do the work outs three days in a row it is not the end of the world, although it is always good to give your body a rest of hard training. One example week of training would be to train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, resting and recovering all the other days. Rest is just as an important part of training just as much as the working out is, so don’t skip rest days and make sure you are sleeping enough, eating right and taking care of your body through mobility and stretching.

Train hard and recover well. If you have any questions, never hesitate to ask on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat all @settlagesac.

 

Here is a PDF of the program in an Excel sheet for you guys who hate long threads of text.

12 WEEK BEGINNER STRENGTH PROGRAM

Week 1:

Mon.

  • Back Squat/ Front Squat: Work up to a 5RM (Pick only one. You’ll be doing this squat variation for the next 12 weeks)
    • 75% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Bench Press: Work up to a 5RM.
    • 75% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Superset:
    • Leg Extension: 3×12
    • Leg Curls: 3×12
  • Superset:
    • Back Ext. 3×15
    • Weighted Crunches: 3×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 75% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Deadlift: work up to a 5RM.
    • 75% of 5RM, 3×5
  • Superset:
    • Bench Press: 3×15
    • Seated Rows: 3×15
  • Superset:
    • Incline Bench: 3×15
    • Pull Ups: 3x Sub-Maximal reps
  • Triset:
    • Back Ext. 3×15
    • Leg Curls: 3×15
    • Weighted crunches: 3×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (Whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 75% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Strict Press: Work up to a 5RM.
    • 75% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Triset:
    • Full Frontals: 3×12
    • DB or Cable Lat Raises: 3×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 3×12
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 3×20
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 3×20

Week 2:

Mon.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 85% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Bench Press: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 85% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Superset:
    • Leg Extension: 4×12
    • Leg Curls: 4×12
  • Triset:
    • Back ext. 4×15
    • Leg Curls: 4×15
    • Weighted crunches: 4×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 85% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Deadlift: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 85% of 5RM, 4×5
  • Superset:
    • Bench Press: 4×15
    • Seated Rows: 4×15
  • Superset:
    • Incline Bench: 4×15
    • Pull Ups: 4x Sub-Maximal reps
  • Triset:
    • Back Ext. 4×15
    • Leg Curls: 4×15
    • Weighted Crunches: 4×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 85% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Strict Press: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 85% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Triset:
    • Full Frontals: 4×12
    • DB or Cable Lat Raises: 4×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 4×12
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 4×20
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 4×2

Week 3:

Mon.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 90% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Bench Press: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 90% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Superset: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • Leg Extension: 5×12
    • Leg Curls: 5×12
  • Triset:
    • Back Ext. 5×15
    • Leg Curls: 5×15
    • Weighted Crunches: 5×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 90% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Deadlift: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 90% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Superset:
    • Bench Press: 5×15
    • Seated Rows: 5×15
  • Superset:
    • Incline bench: 5×15
    • Pull Ups: 5x Sub-Maximal reps
  • Triset:
    • Back Ext. 5×15
    • Leg Curls: 5×15
    • Weighted Crunches: 5×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 90% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Strict Press: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 90% of 5RM, 5×5
  • Triset:
    • Full Frontals: 5×12
    • DB or Cable Lat Raises: 5×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 5×12
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 5×20
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 5×20

Week 4:

Mon.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 60% of 5RM, 2×5
  • Bench Press: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 60% of 5RM, 2×5
  • Superset:
    • Leg Extension: 2×12
    • Leg Curls: 2×12
  • Triset:
    • Back ext. 2×15
    • Leg Curls: 2×15
    • Weighted crunches: 2×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 60% of 5RM, 2×5
  • Deadlift: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 60% of 5RM, 2×5
  • Superset:
    • Bench Press: 2×15
    • Seated Rows: 2×15
  • Superset:
    • Incline bench: 2×15
    • Pull Ups: 2x Sub-Maximal reps
  • Triset:
    • Back ext. 2×15
    • Leg Curls: 2×15
    • Weighted crunches: 2×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 60% of 5RM, 2×5
  • Strict Press: Go off of your 5RM you established in Week 1.
    • 60% of 5RM, 2×5
  • Triset:
    • Full Frontals: 2×12
    • DB or Cable Lat Raises: 2×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 2×12
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 2×20
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 2×20

Week 5:

Mon.

  • Work up to a 3RM in the back squat or front squat.
    • 75% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Bench Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 75% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Superset:
    • Straight Leg Deadlifts: 3×10
    • Leg Press: 3×10
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 3×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 75% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 75% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Superset:
    • Incline DB Bench Press: 3×12-15
    • 1 Arm DB Rows: 3×12-15
  • Superset:
    • DB Chest Fly: 3×15
    • DB Pull Overs: 3×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 3×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 75% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Strict Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 75% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Triset:
    • DB Military Press: 3×12
    • Cable Face Pulls: 3×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 3×12
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 3×6-8 reps
    • Arnold Press: 3×6-8 reps
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 3×12-15 reps
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 3×12-15 reps

Week 6:

Mon.

  • Work up to a 3RM in the back squat or front squat.
    • 85% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Bench Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 85% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Superset:
    • Straight Leg Deadlifts: 4×15
    • Leg Press: 4×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 4×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 85% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 85% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Superset:
    • Incline DB Bench Press: 4×12-15
    • 1 Arm DB Rows: 4×12-15
  • Superset:
    • DB Chest Fly: 4×15
    • DB Pull Overs: 4×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 4×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 85% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Strict Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 85% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Triset:
    • DB Military Press: 4×12
    • Cable Face Pulls: 4×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 4×12
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 4×6-8 reps
    • Arnold Press: 4×6-8 reps
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 4×20
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 4×20

Week 7:

Mon.

  • Work up to a 3RM in the back squat or front squat.
    • 90% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Bench Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 90% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Superset:
    • Straight Leg Deadlifts: 3×15
    • Leg Press: 3×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 3×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 90% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 90% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Superset:
    • Incline DB Bench Press: 5×12-15
    • 1 Arm DB Rows: 5×12-15
  • Superset:
    • DB Chest Fly: 5×15
    • DB Pull Overs: 5×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 5×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 90% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Strict Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 90% of 3RM, 5×3
  • Triset:
    • DB Military Press: 5×12
    • Cable Face Pulls: 5×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 5×12
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 5×6-8 reps
    • Arnold Press: 5×6-8 rep
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 5×20
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 5×20

Week 8:

Mon.

  • Work up to a 3RM in the back squat or front squat.
    • 60% of 3RM, 2×3
  • Bench Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 60% of 3RM, 2×3
  • Superset:
    • Straight Leg Deadlifts: 2×15
    • Leg Press: 2×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 2×30

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 60% of 3RM, 2×3
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 60% of 3RM, 2×3
  • Superset:
    • Incline DB Bench Press: 2×12-15
    • 1 Arm DB Rows: 2×12-15
  • Superset:
    • DB Chest Fly: 2×15
    • DB Pull Overs: 2×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 2×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 60% of 3RM, 2×3
  • Strict Press: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 60% of 3RM, 2×3
  • Triset:
    • DB Military Press: 2×12
    • Cable Face Pulls: 2×12
    • Rear Delt Flys: 2×12
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 2×6-8 reps
    • Arnold Press: 2×6-8 reps
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 2×20
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 2×20

Week 9:

Mon.

  • Work up to a 1RM in the back squat or front squat.
    • 75% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Bench Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 75% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Leg Curls: 3×20
    • Air Squat: 3×20
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Toes-to-Bar: 3×10-15

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 75% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 75% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Incline Barbell Bench (Wide Grip): 3×12-15
    • Bent Over Rows: 3×12
  • Superset:
    • Cable Cross Overs: 3×15
    • DB Pull Overs: 3×8
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 3×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 75% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Strict Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 75% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Triset:
    • Plate Raises: 3×15
    • Cable Lat Raises: 3×15
    • Cable Rear Delt Flys: 3×15
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 3×15-20 reps
    • Arnold Press: 3×12-15 reps
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 3×8-10
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 3×8-10

Week 10:

Mon.

  • Back Squat/ Front Squat.
    • 85% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Bench Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 85% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Leg Curls: 4×20
    • Air Squat: 4×20
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Toes-to-Bar: 4×10-15

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 85% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 85% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Incline Barbell Bench (Wide Grip): 4×12-15
    • Bent Over rows: 4×12
  • Superset:
    • Cable Cross Overs: 4×15
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 4×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 85% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Strict Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 85% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Triset:
    • Plate Raises: 4×15
    • Cable Lat Raises: 4×15
    • Cable Rear Delt Flys: 4×15
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 4×15-20 reps
    • Arnold Press: 4×12-15 reps
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 4×8-10
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 4×8-10

Week 11:

Mon.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 90% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Bench Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 90% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Leg Curls: 5×20
    • Air Squat: 5×20
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Toes-to-Bar: 5×10-15

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 90% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 90% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Incline Barbell Bench (Wide Grip): 5×12-15
    • Bent Over rows: 5×12
  • Superset:
    • Cable Cross Overs: 5×15
    • DB Pull Overs: 5×8
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 5×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 90% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Strict Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 90% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Triset:
    • Plate Raises: 5×15
    • Cable Lat Raises: 5×15
    • Cable Rear Delt Flys: 5×15
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 5×15-20 reps
    • Arnold Press: 5×12-15 reps
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 5×8-10
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 5×8-10

Week 12:

Mon.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 60% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Bench Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 60% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Leg Curls: 2×20
    • Air Squat: 2×20
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Toes-to-Bar: 2×10-15

Wed.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat:
    • 60% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Deadlift: Work up to a 3RM.
    • 60% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Superset:
    • Incline Barbell Bench (Wide Grip): 2×12-15
    • Bent Over rows: 2×12
  • Superset:
    • Cable Cross Overs: 2×15
    • DB Pull Overs: 2×8
  • GPP:
    • 400m Walking Lunges or 15 mins
    • Weighted Crunches: 5×30

Fri.

  • Back Squat/Front Squat (whichever you tested on Monday):
    • 60% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Strict Press: work up to a 1RM.
    • 60% of 1RM, 3×1
  • Triset:
    • Plate Raises: 2×15
    • Cable Lat Raises: 2×15
    • Cable Rear Delt Flys: 2×15
  • Superset:
    • DB, KB, or Cable Upright Rows: 2×15-20 reps
    • Arnold Press: 2×12-15 reps
  • Superset:
    • Pick 1 Tricep movement: 2×8-10
    • Pick 1 Bicep movement: 2×8-10