You’ll know when they can get to the intermediate level when they get really good at relative bodyweight strength. When they can perform and practice full body dips, pull ups, un/loaded split squats, and when they can start doing back squat and deadlift and working against resistance, that’s probably where they’re ready to become an intermediate with body parts split up into separate days. In principle, we categorize for max physical potential for a LIFETIME of resistance. For those who are starting out on resistance, we take the principle of needing to do a lot of head to toe resistance training head to toe with primal contractions. That’s bending, squatting, pushing, pulling, lunging, and core activities. There are a lot of reasons why we believe that’s the best because we’re trying to capture the entire lifetime of their resistance training from 25 – 95 years old. A lot of people short change that principle because they’re thinking about what gets people to the beach or what’s the coolest program to make people look good or lose fat. When people begin (as beginners), they should do head to toe work. Intermediates should begin to split those body parts up. They could go bend + push + core as well as a squat + pull + single leg day. You can see that it’s a bit different than a full body training day. As people progress and their CNS becomes capable of expressing more kinds of contractions, now at an advanced level with a higher training age, they can express the 3 buckets: Max contractions
Motor control For them, they are likely now specifying movements per day now. They’re isolating actions; they may have a hip day (bending), an upper body pushing day, a squat day, an upper body pulling day, a single leg day, and a core day that they do over and over. You can imagine, as people age in their resistance training, and they’ve got years of practice in and they can express these contractions, on the other side of the coin – because this story doesn’t end because you’re 42 and you decide to give it up – it goes on for another 50 years. After that next 20 years, you’ll actually go back (to intermediate) where you split body parts into a few per day. And then guess what you’ll do from 60-90 years of age? You’re going to be going back to full body resistance training. So, chronological age, training age, number of reps, and the person’s resilience largely dictates how much you need to do to begin progression from beginner to intermediate. I’d be lying if I made the generality that everybody just needed 2 years of training to progress. Some people can only exercise once/week. Some people exercise 4 times/week. There is so much measurement about what people are doing. Somebody may say “I’ve been following this plan for 4 years…” and then you get them into an assessment and they can’t do 1 push up. You can see that they’ve just been moving for 4 years, but they haven’t been doing any real resistance head to toe. I won’t leave you with just that, I’ll give you an example of this progression in practice. I worked with numerous people who were older who had never done fitness before. They were in their 40’s or 50’s, and they had 0 fitness experience. And these people couldn’t do a lunge. They would practice/train 2.5-3 times a week, which I found was the best cadence for them to be compliant in their fitness for decades. It would take them 4-5 years before they could effectively progress from bucket to bucket of training splits.. I can’t go without saying that because that’s the actual truth inside of a full lifecycle of a fitness program, and you’re not being told that out there. Everyone who is teaching these programs is teaching you methods of advanced resistance training, but they’re forgetting to talk about the 60 year plan for the individual. If you stretch it out, you’ll see that it’s going to take time, it’s a slow-game process, but it’ll eventually scaffold (compound) into them being able to effectively express that relative strength, and then if they wish to do it, those maximal contractions over a lifetime.