Momentum Intermediate

Posted by Shaun LaFleur on

This routine acts as a stepping stone to my advanced routine and is aimed at intermediate and advanced lifters who can no longer make progress using linear progression. This routine utilizes 5/3/1's periodization system and higher exercise selection to elicit steady progress. The routine consists of three separate workouts that must be performed on three non-consecutive days of the week. A deload is taken after every 6 weeks to fully recover and adapt to the training stimulus.


  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Workout A
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Workout B
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Workout C
  • Saturday: Rest



Workout A

  • Standing Overhead Press 5/3/1
  • Barbell Back Squat 5/3/1
  • Romanian / Stiff Leg Deadlift 3-4x8 @ RIR 3-2 (Rotate Every 3-6 Weeks)
  • Pull Ups or Chin Ups 3-5x10 @ RIR 3-2
  • Cable Crunches or Ab Work 3-5x12 @ RIR 2-1
  • Reverse Hyperextensions / Hyperextensions 3-5x12 @ RIR 2-1
  • Rear Delt Flyes 3-5x12 @ RIR 2-1


Workout B

  • Bench Press 5/3/1
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press / Seated Barbell OHP 3-5x10 @ RIR 3-2 (Rotate Every 3-6 Weeks)
  • Dumbbell Lunges 3-5x10 @ RIR 3-2
  • Barbell Curls 3-5x10 @ RIR 2-1
  • Tricep Pushdowns 3-5x10 @ RIR 2-1
  • Leg Extensions 3-5x12 @ RIR 3-2
  • Hanging Knee Raises or Ab Work 3-5x12 @ RIR 2-0


Workout C

  • Trap Bar Deadlift 5/3/1 (Conventional/Sumo Deadlift if you're a powerlifter)
  • Parallel Box Squat / Pause Squat (2s pause) 3-5x8 @ RIR 3-2 (Rotate Every 3 weeks)
  • Close Grip Bench Press / Pin Press (1" Off Chest or less) 3-5x8 @ RIR 3-2 (Rotate Every 3-6 weeks)
  • Pull Ups / Chin Ups 3-5x6 @ RIR 2-1
  • Hamstring Curls 3-5x12 @ RIR 2-1
  • Reverse Hyperextensions / Hyperextensions 3-5x12 @ RIR 2-1
  • Rear Delt Flyes 3-5x12 @ RIR 2-1


FAQ Guide

Q: What is 5/3/1 and how does it work?

A: To follow 5/3/1 you first need to find your "Training Max" (TM). Your TM is 90% of your true one rep max and all of your lifts will be based on this number. So for example, if the routine says to perform a set of 5 reps at 70%, this would be 70% of your TM, NOT your actual one rep max. If your true one rep max on the bench press is 200 pounds, then your training max would be 180 and all percentages would be based on 180. 5/3/1 works on a 3 week progression wave. Each week you will follow the prescribed sets and reps dat the prescribed percentages of your TM, exactly as written. The 3 week wave is as follows:
  • Week 1Set 1: 65% x5, Set 2: 75% x5, Set 3: 85% x5+, Set 4: 65% x5+
  • Week 2: Set 1: 70% x3, Set 2: 80% x3, Set 3: 90% x3+, Set 4: 70% x5+
  • Week 3: Set 1: 75% x5, Set 2: 85% x3, Set 3: 95% x1+, Set 4: 75% x5+
Anything with a "+" written by it means to perform as many reps as possible (AMRAP) with good form. So if you see "5+" it means to perform an AMRAP while trying your best to get at least 5 reps. It's a good idea to track how many reps you get on each AMRAP set in order to beat that number each workout.

Simply follow the sets, reps and percentages as prescribed for three weeks and if you are able to hit your rep goals, you would increase your TM by 5-10 lbs and run the wave for another three weeks before taking a deload, meaning you would take a deload every 6 weeks.

For a more thorough rundown of 5/3/1, read this article.


Q: What is RIR (Reps in Reserve)?

A: Reps in Reserve, or RIR for short, is a method of determining the subjective intensity of a set. An RIR of 3 would mean that when you stopped a set, you could have done at most 3 more reps before hitting failure. For example, if you performed a set of 10 reps at an RIR of 1, it means that you are capable of getting 11 reps with that same weight before hitting failure, but you stopped at 10 and left one rep in reserve. This is a very useful method to use when your routine calls for training at certain intensity levels and is a great tool to autoregulate your training. Typically, work sets should be performed at RIR 4 and below with most of your sets falling in the RIR 3-2 range. RIR can work alongside percentage based training or in some circumstances can even replace it all together.

RIR is a great tool to use when you want to manage your training intensity and volume properly, and it’s useful when you need to autoregulate your training.

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