Women's Standard Intermediate Program (WSIP)


My novice Linear Progression stalled much earlier than it should have and after that I continued to struggle to add weight to the bar. As a young intermediate, I tried HLM and variations of HLM with minimal success. I liked the idea, but I felt as though something was off.

That “something” was my eating, by the way. Ladies, take notes. Stop being weird about food and just eat it.

Anyway, I had been interning for a while at Black Iron Training at this point and coach Chris encouraged me to begin writing programs. Since I’m a woman and I was mostly training other women I decided it would be fun to write a simple program that women could jump onto after they finished their Linear Progression. And using my creative genius-ness I named it… “Women’s Standard Intermediate Program”.

I read Mark Rippetoe’s “Training Female Lifters: Neuromuscular Efficiency” and decided to make a 5x3, HLM-inspired program. However, I didn’t like having specific days for lifting heavy. Part of the reason behind that was that I was in school, so I preferred having my workouts be similar, predictable lengths. The other part was that I felt as though I perform better if I focused all my energy on one heavy lift each session than try to do multiple heavy lifts once a week.

Maybe it’s somehow related to women being less neuromuscularly efficient, or it might have been a purely mental obstacle for me, but spreading the heavy lifts out helped nonetheless.

I was also frustrated with my overhead press, as many women are, so I prioritized it over the bench press slightly by omitting a heavy bench triple. Honestly, if I had to alter anything with this program… I would overhead press on Day 2 as well. (Sorry not sorry, bench.)