Intermediate Strength Training Program

As always, check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.

Intended Audience:

Individuals with previous experience in strength training who are still weight lifting for general health and fitness. This program introduces more advanced exercises which require some baseline strength and core stability.

Goal of this program:

To maintain and build additional strength throughout the entire body. Some of the exercises are excellent for recreational sports enhancement.

As each person has individual needs, not all of the exercises may work for you. Consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program. Additionally, if you have any unusual pain or soreness during exercise, or for prolonged periods after exercise, stop the exercise immediately and contact your trainer and, if necessary, your physician. Expect “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness”, fatigue and general soreness of the muscles, for one to three days after exercise. Soreness in the joints themselves however, may be a sign of injury, so please contact your trainer should this occur.


The “volume” of the program is greater than the beginner’s strength training program, and hence this program will take longer to perform. Depending on your weekly workout schedule and the time you have per exercise session, you may wish to split the workout into alternating upper and lower body exercises. This would require a minimum of 4 days per week for strength training. Allow one to two days rest in between working the same muscle groups, as your body needs time to rest and repair itself post exercise. If you are unable to commit to 4 days per week, you can do the entire program in one workout, 2 – 3 x per week.


Follow for 8 – 12 weeks. If the program becomes easy, or if you need a change prior to this, you can add additional sets or increase reps slightly, but not both at the same time. After 8-12 weeks, you may move on to a more  advanced program. If you remain on this program, you need to continue to challenge your muscles, so, contact your trainer for additional exercises or for advice on how to revamp this program to create continued strength gains.


A set or two of dumbbells, elastic tubing, an elastic band for your ankles, and a stability (physio) ball.


  1. Warm up your body through gentle movement
  2. Unless otherwise noted, start with 8-12 repetitions of each exercise  depending on dificulty and work your way to 12 repetitions. Choose weights that are challenging— they should feel doable on first  few repetitions and challenge you on the last few. When 12 repetitions feels easy, increase the weight or add additional sets of the exercise.
  3. Performing Multiple Sets: When multiple sets of an exercise are indicated, please rest 30-60 seconds between sets, or alternate the exercise with another exercise which does not use the same muscles. For example, alternate one upper body exercise with one lower body exercise. You can also “circuit” this program, performing the first set of each exercise in the order shown, and then going back to the beginning and performing the second or third set of each exercise. In general, second sets should be more difficult, and in this program, you could increase weight and decrease reps in the second set. This is called “pyramiding”.  For example, if you lift 10 pounds 12 times, the second set could be 12 pounds lifted 10 times. If the exercise seems too challenging, contact your trainer before attempting the exercise again.
  4. Exercise your Lower Body
    1. Reverse Lunges – 3 sets with free weights, 8- 12 reps
    2. Single Leg Wall Squats with physio ball – 2 sets, no weights
    3. Standing Elastic Sidewalk –  3 sets of 12 reps to each side.
    4. Triple Threat – 2 sets of 10 reps of each portion of the exercise.  Second set pull-in portion only (try single leg pull-ins?)
  5. Exercise your Abdomen/Core
    1. Forearm Roll with Physio Ball –  3 sets of 12 reps
    2. Bicycle Crossovers – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
    3. Standing Elastic Rotations – 3 sets of 8 reps each direction
    4. Side Plank Hold – 3x per side, 20 seconds or more
  6. Exercise your Upper Body/Core
    1. Lat Pull Down- Cable Pulley or Lat Pull Down- Elastic Tubing – 3 sets, 12 reps then 10 reps with increased weight
    2. Standing Row- Elastic Tubing or Seated Row- Cable Pulley –  Single arm row – 3 sets of 10/arm
    3. Push-ups on floor or elevated – 3 sets, 10 reps  OR:
    4. Bench Press on Physio Ball or on bench – 3 sets, 10 reps then 8 reps for last two sets with heavier weight
    5. Overhead Press – 2 sets, 8 reps- go light on weight
    6. Dumbbell Nosecrusher on ball or on bench – 2 sets,  10 reps
    7. Standing Elastic Tubing Biceps Curls or Dumbbells – 2 sets, 10  reps
  7. Cool down your body with an extended period of stretching

Note: all exercises are described in the Exercise Encyclopedia section of this website.

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As a long distance and marathon runner, I always felt in good shape. But, I was overweight and continually getting injured. I knew something was missing from my exercise regimen.… “Ann Marie, 42, runner, social worker”

Ann Marie, 42, runner, social worker

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