You will be amazed at what you'll find within this section of the Weight Lifting Complete (WLC) website.
All WLC Workouts you'll find here are based on the WLC System and are to be used in conjunction with all WLC System guidelines.
Ensure you have reviewed and studied the WLC System before continuing here.
You will find a huge number of weight lifting workout programs here. There are enough for the rest of your life. Have fun with these new, different, and exciting workouts.
Prelude to WLC Workouts
How to Use the WLC Workouts
– The 7 core weight lifting exercises and their substitutions
– Approved exercises by major muscle group
– Forms of resistance you can use for weight training
– When and how to work your abdominals
– How to get your body in tip top shape
– Mobility exercises that warm you up for weight training
– How to stretch between exercises for flexibility and recovery
– How to create a flawless and complete workout program
– This is why you should start with strength specific training
– Modifications you can make to better fit you and your abilities
– When and how to change workout programs
– When and how to take full breaks and active breaks
– Starting each program with light weights
– Stalling and what you can do to fix it
– When and how to use full body workout programs
– Adding rest days between workouts
– How to complete a rep and different ways of doing so
– When to increase rep ranges within a workout program
– Just what you need if you have trouble doing pull ups and dips
– Adding a small amount of weight to reach new levels of strength
– How to use WLC Workouts to reach your goals
– Switching between styles that are very different
– How to anticipate stalling and prevent it
Level 1 – Full Body Strength Specific Workout Programs
– BASE 3×5 full body strength specific workout program
– Ramped 5×5 full body strength specific workout program
– Rotated 3×5 full body strength specific workout program
– Volume and intensity cycling 5 rep full body strength specific workout program
– Basic speed and strength full body workout program
Level 2 – Full Body Size Specific Workout Programs
– BASE 7 exercise 12 to 6 full body size specific workout program
– Alternating 15 to 5 increasing full body size specific workout program
– AM PM double sets full body size specific workout program
– Body weight only full body size specific workout program
Level 3 – Strength Specific Split Workout Programs
– BASE 3-way 5×5 strength specific split workout program
– 1 3 5 7 strength specific 5×5 split workout program
– Upper lower 3-day 5×5 strength specific split workout program
– 8×3 strength specific 2-way split workout program
– Same day speed and MAX strength specific workout program
– MAX speed and strength specific split workout program
– Power building and strength specific split workout program
– 6-workout rotation MAX strength specific split workout program
Level 4 – Low Recovery Split Workout Programs
– BASE 3-way 8-set low recovery split workout program
– 2-way 10-set low recovery split workout program
– Increased frequency 2x full body low recovery workout program
– 4 to 5 day increased frequency low recovery A and B workout program
– A through D increased frequency 4 to 5 day low recovery workout program
– 2-way 15-set increased volume low recovery split workout program
– Extreme 2-way 9-set low recovery split workout program
– Double frequency 4-day low recovery split workout program
– 6-workout rotation low recovery split workout program
Level 5 – High Intensity Split Workout Programs
– BASE 3-way 8-set high intensity split workout program
– 2-way 10-set high intensity split workout program
– Increased frequency 2x full body high intensity workout program
– 4 to 5 day increased frequency high intensity A and B workout program
– A through D increased frequency 4 to 5 day high intensity workout program
– 2-way 15-set increased volume high intensity split workout program
– Extreme 2-way 9-set high intensity split workout program
– Double frequency 4-day high intensity split workout program
– 6-workout rotation high intensity split workout program
– Single straight set 4 to 5 day high intensity split workout program
Level 6 – Increased Volume Split Workout Programs
– BASE 3-way legs/push/pull increased volume workout program
– 2-way 2X per week increased volume split workout program
– 4-way 4X per week increased volume split workout program
– 4 to 5 day increased frequency and volume A and B workout program
– A through D increased frequency and volume 4 to 5 day workout program
– Double frequency 4-day increased volume split workout program
– 6-workout rotation increased volume split workout program
Level 7 – Maximum Volume Split Workout Program
– BASE 3-way legs/push/pull MAX volume split workout program
– 4-way 4X per week maximum volume split workout program
– 5-way 5X per week maximum volume split workout program
– 4 to 5 day increased frequency and max volume A and B workout program
– A through D increased frequency and max volume 4 to 5 day workout program
– 6-workout rotation max volume split workout program
– Low intensity 3-way legs push pull max volume workout program
– Double frequency 6-day low intensity max volume workout program
– 10×10 3-way max volume split workout program
Level 8 – Pulsating 3 Factor Workout Programs
– BASE level 4 through 7 pulsating volume intensity workout program
– 1 for 1 high intensity high volume rotating workout program
– 2 for 2 high intensity high volume rotating workout program
– 3 for 3 high intensity high volume rotating workout program
– 4 up and 4 down pulsating factor workout program
– 3 up peak 3 high volume rotating workout program
– 2 3 4 up and 4 3 2 down pulsating factor workout program
– 2 3 4 repeat pulsating factor workout program
– Max volume 3 max strength 3 pulsating factor workout program
Level 9 – Advanced Beyond Failure Workout Programs
– BASE rest pause A B C 3-way high to low rep split workout program
– Rest pause A B 4 to 5 day high rep to low rep split workout program
– Rest pause A B C D 4 to 5 day split workout program
– 2 week rotation 3 way split rest pause workout program
– 6-workout A B C D E F rest pause 2 way split workout program
– Pre exhaustion high intensity low frequency split workout program
– Workout programs to use when playing sports
– Modifications for older men and women
– A plan for people with knee problems
– How to train before an upcoming vacation so look your absolute best
– How to modify a WLC workout program for bowflex machines
Frequently Asked Questions
Warming up properly
There are 2 types of warm ups you should be doing: (1) pre workout warm up, (2) specific exercise warm ups. Mobility exercises will be done for your pre workout warm up. Guidelines for specific exercise warm ups are discussed within the WLC System Manual.
Both types of warm up are very important so be sure to do both. This is going to prevent injury and help you perform better in the gym which means better and faster results.
Rest between sets
Unless otherwise specified within each program, you will rest as much as needed to perform well for the next set. This is usually anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes. Usually, more rest is needed when you are using heavier weight for low reps and high intensity. Less rest is needed for high rep sets that use lighter weight.
You will be stretching between sets so count that towards your rest time. Remember, your overall rest time between sets should be anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes max unless specified differently within each program.
Order of exercises
Unless otherwise specified within the program, always do all sets of a given exercise before moving onto the next exercise. You can do warm up sets for the next exercise between working sets of another exercise, but you will finish your working sets on each exercise before moving onto the next.
If you want to change things up, you can definitely perform the workout programs in circuit fashion. This means you would do 1 set of an exercise and then move onto the next exercise and repeat until you have done all sets of all exercises.
I don't prefer the circuit method because this greatly increases workout time because you have to change weights and the setup to do the exercises multiple times for multiple sets.
That's why I recommend you do all sets of each exercise before moving onto the next exercise. Saves you so much time and allows you to focus in on that exercise.
Small weight increases
If you're moving into new personal records, you'll only want to increase the weight by a small amount each workout. If you started out with light weights purposely so you could make bigger jumps in weight between workouts, then you can increase by larger amounts.
Fractional plates are very handy for everyone. Small weight increases are always better than large jumps when you're reaching new territories for strength. Too large of a jump in weight can cause you to stall out on strength gains while a smaller jump will keep them going for a longer period of time.
Larger weight increases between workouts is better for size gains while smaller increases are better for strength gains. But, larger weight increases must be planned and you must know that you're capable of making those large jumps. You'll learn as you go through some of the programs within this manual.
You can get fractional plates that slide onto bars or attach by magnets to the sides of weight plates or dumbbells. Try this link for a selection of fractional plates. I recommend getting some lighter ones (5/8 pound) for exercises that use smaller weights and larger ones (1.25 pound) for exercises that use larger weights.
Adding weight to chin up and dips
Eventually, you are going to be strong enough to add extra weight to pull ups and dips. It's easy to add extra weight. All you need is a belt that allows you to add the extra weight. I recommend an Ironmind Hip Belt but they are expensive. You can use the hip belt for many other exercises, though.
If you don't have the money for a hip belt, you can get a normal belt that allows you to add weight. Here's a weight belt that allows you to add extra weight for pull ups and dips. One of your goals should be to get to the point where you are adding weight to pull ups and dips.
Extra help with chin ups and dips
If you are having trouble with doing pull ups and dips with your body weight (as most people do), then you need a little extra help.
Bands are the perfect way to add a little extra help so you can do pull ups and dips on your own. Bands are the best method for helping you to get stronger on pull ups and dips. I don't recommend the assisted machines as bands work much better.
Here's an example of some bands that work well for helping you do pull ups and chin ups. Thicker bands give you more help while thinner bands give you less help. Bands are great for other exercises too so they are a great investment.
PR's are new personal strength records for exercises you'll be doing. For example, your record on trap bar deadlifts might be 225 pounds for 8 reps. You will strive to beat that record at all times.
As you hit new personal records on exercises, your body will change. All of the programs within this manual are designed to help you build muscle and strength. Some programs are designed to help you hit PR's much faster while others are designed to help you build muscle much faster.
Whatever you do, though, always strive to hit new PR's and mark it down in your workout log when you hit a new one. It's motivating and pushes you to continue working hard.
Recommended weight training equipment
I highly recommend building a home gym. You will be much happier overall, save time, save money, and get better overall results with a well equipped home gym. You'll be even more consistent with your workouts and you don't have to worry about driving to the gym and working around their hours.
Here's the equipment I recommend for a home gym:
1. Power Rack with Chin Up Bar (dip attachments if possible)
2. Adjustable Bench (light weight, strong, and easy to move around)
3. Olympic Barbell Sets (multiple sets, 2 or even 3 works great)
4. Adjustable Dumbbell Sets (5 pounds to 90 pounds and heavier if possible)
5. Fractional Plates (5/8 pound and 1.25 pound plates, multiple sets of each)
6. Extra weight plates (saves you time from switching out plates often)
7. Chin Up / Dip Station (only if you can't do them from Power Rack)
8. Trap Bar (one of the best pieces of equipment you can have)
9. Cable System for Power Rack (low and high cables – hard to find)
10. Glute/Ham Raise setup (you can set this up yourself)
11. Various Bars and Attachments
12. Bands (great for all types of exercises, assistance, and mobility work)
13. Leg Press (takes up a lot of room and should be added last)
14. Sled for Pulling and Dragging (conditioning work and leg work)
15. Cardio Equipment
If you're just looking for something to start with, get a power rack, bench, and a barbell set. You can get a great start with just that equipment. From there, you can add on equipment as needed. I've included links to the equipment above, but you might be able to find some good equipment locally, in classified ads, craigslist, or from a gym that may be closing around your area.
Don't pay outrageous prices for weight training equipment. The basic equipment listed above will get you much more than some fancy machine.
Warming up between sets
If you want to save some time during your workouts, you can warm up for your next exercise between sets of the previous exercise. For example, if you're currently doing 5 sets of squats and your next exercise is bench press you can warm up for bench press in between your 5 sets of squats.
Of course, to do so, you need enough equipment and the right exercises. If the next exercise you are doing uses the same equipment then it's going to be difficult to do the warm ups in between sets. You can arrange exercises in a specific order to help your workouts go faster.
Proper form and technique
You must learn proper form and technique on squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, and overhead press. These 5 exercises aren't exercises where you can just pick up a bar and them perfectly the first time. Most other exercises aren't difficult to learn but with these, you need to spend some extra time learning them.
Starting Strength by Coach Mark Rippetoe is the absolute best source for learning proper form and technique on those exercises. You can get the book and the Starting Strength DVD that teaches you how to do the exercises properly. I've also put together a page with videos of Coach Rippetoe teaching proper form and technique for those exercises.
Here's the page: 7 Core Weight Lifting Exercises
I really can't recommend another book more than Starting Strength. It's absolutely amazing and everyone should have a copy. Really. I'm not trying to sell the book. I am just trying to help you out. Trust me here. The book is great.
Duration of each weight training program
You should continue each program as long as you are making progress. There's no reason to stop any program if you're making strength gains, size gains, losses in body fat, or any combination of those 3 forms of progress. Continue each program as long as possible.
You'll eventually learn when you need to stop because your strength gains will stop, you'll feel more tired than usual, and beat down. Never stop a program because you had one or two bad workouts. Everyone has a bad day in the gym.
Only stop when you haven't made progress on most exercises for multiple workouts. Don't be a program hopper. Give each program adequate time to work its magic. Only stop the program when it's no longer working for you.
Different training styles work for different people
Different styles of training work for different types of people. For example, your friend might go to the gym every single day and do tons of sets and exercises. He/she looks absolutely great and gets great results from going to the gym and doing so much work all the time. You decide to go with your friend each workout and do the exact same thing.
You end up burnt out and actually look worse than before you started. This just means you aren't ready to handle that much volume and may never be able to handle as much as your friend. Your friend has great genetics, and you don't. Or maybe your conditioning isn't great and you can't handle that much volume yet. This is just an example.
The point is… everyone is different. You have to find the style of training that works for you. Eventually, that style might match what your friend does. Or you might have to do low volume workouts to get the best results. You have to experiment and find out what works best for you.
That's the entire point of this workouts manual. I made this manual to give you a huge variety of training styles so you can experiment and find the style that works best for you… what others do isn't always going to be best for you. That's why you just can't take advice from people who think there is only “THEIR” way and no other way.
You can't look at others in the gym that look great and just do what they are doing. You can't because you are different from them. What they do might work for you… and it might not. Most likely, you're different from that person. You have to find out for yourself, and that's what makes weight lifting so great.
Download the WLC Workouts Log Book
Just click the button above to download. Use with each weight lifting workout program.
Here's where you are at Weight Lifting Complete
You're currently within the WLC Workouts section here at Weight Lifting Complete. Here are some other sections of the website that may interest you:
Here's where you're at within Weight Lifting Complete:
You're Here: WLC / WLC Workouts