TSA 9 Week Intermediate Approach
3,644 athletes joined
Designed for intermediate lifters to peak into competition or be re-run multiple times in offseason.
4.35
(497 ratings)
Program Description

The TSA 9-Week Approach is a popular intermediatel-level powerlifting program designed by Bryce Lewis and the coaching team at The Strength Athlete (TSA). It's a periodized plan focusing on strength gains in three core lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.

The program comprises 4 training days per week, each targeting specific muscle groups and lifts. The intensity and volume gradually increase over 9 weeks, preparing the athlete for a peak in performance. The final week, Week 9, is designed as a deload week to prepare for a competition or 1RM testing.

Read more about the program below.

Program Overview
Level
Intermediate
Goal
Powerlifting
Equipment
Garage Gym
Program Length
9 weeks
Days Per Week
4 days
Recommended Days
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri
Time Per Workout
90 minutes
down_app
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
3
3
8
80%
69%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
8
69%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
3
3
8
82%
71%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
8
71%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
3
3
7
84%
73%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
7
73%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6
RPE 8
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
3
3
7
86%
75%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
7
75%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6
RPE 8.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
3
5
73%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
6
73%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
2
5
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
5
1
3
RPE 6.5
85%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
6
75%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
5
1
3
RPE 7.5
87%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
6
77%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
5
1
2
RPE 8.5
89%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
5
79%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
2
80%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
81%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5
RPE 7
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
5
1
75%
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
4
5
74%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
72%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
30
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
5
5
77%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
74%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
30
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
5
4
79%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
76%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
6
4
81%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
78%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
4
3
79%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
78%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
30
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
4
2
3
RPE 7
82%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
80%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
5
1
2
RPE 8
84%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4
82%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
4
1
2
RPE 8.5
86%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
3
84%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
5
1
3
86%
78%
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4
73%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
8-10
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4
75%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
8-10
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4
77%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 8
3
Leg Press
3
8-10
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4
79%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 8
3
Leg Press
3
8-10
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
4
75%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
6-8
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
4
76%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
6-8
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
3
78%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
4-6
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
3
80%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
4-6
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Rest
1
1 mins
-
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
3
1
5
RPE 7
77%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6
RPE 7
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4
67%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
3
1
5
RPE 7.5
79%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6
RPE 7.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4
69%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
3
1
5
RPE 8
81%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6
RPE 8
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4
71%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
1
1
5
5
RPE 8.5
84%
83%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6
RPE 8.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4
73%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
4
78%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
2
5
RPE 8.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
3
72%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
2
3
1
4
RPE 7
81%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
5
RPE 7
3
Deadlift (Paused)
5
3
74%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
2
3
1
4
RPE 8
84%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
5
RPE 7.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
5
3
76%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
4
1
3
RPE 9
86%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
5
RPE 8
3
Deadlift (Paused)
5
2
78%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
1
RPE 9.5
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
RPE 9.5
3
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
1
RPE 9.5
What People Are Saying(497 ratings)
Only ratings with written feedback are displayed here.
4.35/ 5
Michal OravecAge 20, Man
10 days ago
2 weeks complete
3 years of prior experience
As expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
Started looking like a melted ice cream at the end if you want to still look good you will have to add exercises, but your CNS will be destroyed after SBD so be aware
Justin C.Age 15, Man
20 days ago
7 weeks complete
2 years of prior experience
More than expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
Volume is quite manageable and always felt recoverable. My underdeveloped lifts shot up and I feel the strongest I ever have. Lower back used to be weak but it got much stronger from the large amount of use it got. Good general program, I believe it should work well for most people.

Created by Bryce Lewis and the team at The Strength Athlete (TSA), this is a popular 9-week training approach designed for intermediate lifters to peak effectively into a mock meet or actual competition. If used for the off-season, this program can be chained together and re-run multiple times.

The first four weeks represent higher overall work and lower overall loading, designed to build training adaptions and muscle hypertrophy. We’ll deload on Week 5, shedding some fatigue and preparing for the next phase. Finally, we’ll peak with exposure to heavier loads, bringing out your best.

This program is designed for athletes with around 2 years of experience in powerlifting. If you have less than 6 month's experience, we suggest the TSA Beginner Approach. If you have 1-2 years' experience, we suggest the TSA Intermediate Approach.

Ideally, you are eating in a small to moderate caloric surplus, sleeping 7-10 hours per night, and stressing as little (or as predictably) as possible on this program.

This program is a generalized approach, meaning we aren't targeting any individual athlete strength or weaknesses or problem solving strategies. If you like the program, consider working with a TSA coach to make sure training is continually tailored to you and your goals.

Check out thestrengthathlete.com for more free programs, store, and coaching services.