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TSA 9 Week Intermediate Approach
3,794 athletes joined
Designed for intermediate lifters to peak into competition or be re-run multiple times in offseason.
4.32
(528 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 Reps
8 Reps
80%
69%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
8 Reps
69%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6 Reps
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
3
3 Reps
8 Reps
82%
71%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
8 Reps
71%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
3
3 Reps
7 Reps
84%
73%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
7 Reps
73%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6 Reps
RPE 8
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
3
3 Reps
7 Reps
86%
75%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
7 Reps
75%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
6 Reps
RPE 8.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
10-12 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
3
5 Reps
73%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
6 Reps
73%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
2
5 Reps
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
5
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 6.5
85%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
6 Reps
75%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5 Reps
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
5
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 7.5
87%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
6 Reps
77%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5 Reps
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
5
1 Reps
2 Reps
RPE 8.5
89%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
4
5 Reps
79%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5 Reps
RPE 7
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
4
8-10 Reps
RPE 7
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
2 Reps
80%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
81%
3
Bench Press (Close Grip)
3
5 Reps
RPE 7
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
5
1 Reps
75%
5
Band Pull-Aparts
3
30 Reps
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
4
5 Reps
74%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
72%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
30 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
5
5 Reps
77%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
74%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
30 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
79%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
76%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
6
4 Reps
81%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
78%
3
Pendlay Row
3
5-7 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
4
3 Reps
79%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
78%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
30 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
4
2 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 7
82%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
80%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
5
1 Reps
2 Reps
RPE 8
84%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
82%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
4
1 Reps
2 Reps
RPE 8.5
86%
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
5
3 Reps
84%
3
Pendlay Row
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Back Extension
3
6-9 Reps
RPE 7.5
5
Pull-Up (Weighted)
1
35 Reps
RPE 8.5
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
5
1 Reps
3 Reps
86%
78%
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4 Reps
73%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4 Reps
75%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4 Reps
77%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Press
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
6
4 Reps
79%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8
3
Leg Press
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
75%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
4 Reps
76%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
3 Reps
78%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
5
3 Reps
80%
2
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 7
3
Leg Press
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 7.5
4
Chest Supported Row (Dumbbell)
3
8-10 Reps
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 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 7
77%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6 Reps
RPE 7
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4 Reps
67%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
3
1 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 7.5
79%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6 Reps
RPE 7.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4 Reps
69%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
3
1 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8
81%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6 Reps
RPE 8
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4 Reps
71%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
2
1
1 Reps
5 Reps
5 Reps
RPE 8.5
84%
83%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
6 Reps
RPE 8.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
4 Reps
73%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
6-8 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
10-12 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
3
4 Reps
78%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
2
5 Reps
RPE 8.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
4
3 Reps
72%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
2
3
1 Reps
4 Reps
RPE 7
81%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
5 Reps
RPE 7
3
Deadlift (Paused)
5
3 Reps
74%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
2
3
1 Reps
4 Reps
RPE 8
84%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
5 Reps
RPE 7.5
3
Deadlift (Paused)
5
3 Reps
76%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
4
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9
86%
2
Feet-up Bench Press
3
5 Reps
RPE 8
3
Deadlift (Paused)
5
2 Reps
78%*
4
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3
4-6 Reps
RPE 8
5
Lat Pulldown
3
8-10 Reps
RPE 8.5
* 1RM of Deadlift (Barbell)
Day 4
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
1 Reps
RPE 9.5
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1 Reps
RPE 9.5
3
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
1 Reps
RPE 9.5
What People Are Saying(528 ratings)
Only ratings with written feedback are displayed here.
4.32/ 5
Ivan P.Age 24, Man
5 days ago
5 weeks complete
2 years of prior experience
More than expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
Squats - +15 KG PR (160 kg -> 175 kg) Bench - +7.5 KG PR (85 kg -> 92.5 kg) Deadlifts - +10 KG PR (180 kg -> 190 kg) I was doing a different program(except for squats, I based my squats from this program) from Weeks 1-4. Only followed the whole program at Week 5.
Michael B.Man
7 days ago
9 weeks complete
3 years of prior experience
Less than expected strength gains
Less than expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
Did nothing for me. Bench down 135kg-132,5 deadlift 180kg-170kg squat 150kg-150

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.