The Standard Template
There is a great story from Dave about how the Standard Template originated. I've heard it 435 different times and it never gets old. But that's because Dave signs my checks and I have to nod and laugh whenever he says anything. All kidding aside, the Standard Template was really first introduced in Dave's article, The Periodization Bible, Part I and is gone over extensively in The Periodization Bible, Part II. This was a two part series that made things easier for me and really broke things down. Remember, that I was in your shoes not too long ago, so I understand your frustration with some of this stuff. This is probably the most used template that people follow. Here is the general breakdown of the Standard Template. For many of you this is review, so bear with me.
Sunday - Dynamic Effort Bench
Dynamic Bench Press
Monday - Max Effort Squat/DL
Max Effort Exercise
Wednesday - Max Effort Bench Press
Max Effort Exercise
Friday - Dynamic Squat/DL
Review of the Standard Template
2 days devoted to the bench press
2 days devoted to the squat/deadlift
2 days devoted to dynamic training
2 days devoted to max effort training
4 days devoted to repetition training
Now let's review some of the training parameters within this template. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to leave out chains and bands. Everything is going to be done with straight weight so there will be no confusion about percentages. Plus, I am going to leave out stance, grip changes, rest periods, etc. In reality, most of this stuff is inconsequential once you grasp the big picture.
Bench Press Parameters for the Standard Template (dynamic, max effort and repetition)
Dynamic bench press - 8 sets of 3 repetitions; all sets done are done with 55% of raw 1RM. Rest periods are approximately 60 seconds, but have never really seen the purpose of this, personally. The whole goal of speed day is to move the bar quickly on the concentric. If you need to take an extra minute to accomplish the goal of the day, then by all means, do so. Also, don't get too hung up on changing your grips. The only reason why I changed my grip on this day was to keep track of the number of sets I was doing. Again, remember why you are doing what you are doing.
Max effort bench press - this includes a variety of exercises, but the most por are the floor press, 2 board press, 3 board press, incline press and close grip bench press. On max effort bench press day, you pick one of these exercises and work to a 1RM. Most will switch to a different exercise every 1-2 weeks and simply try to break their record. On this day, based on your 1RM for THAT day, you will try to do 3 lifts at or above 90%. You can take as much rest as you want, but I would probably say around 3-5 minutes between your heaviest sets.
Triceps - one day is devoted to high intensity/low volume triceps work, the other is devoted to low intensity/high volume triceps. For example, high intensity triceps training would consist of 4 or 5 board presses or rack lockouts. The low intensity training will be geared to triceps extensions and pushdowns. On what day to put each of these is entirely up to you. In my experience, I've always had good results putting the high intensity day on dynamic bench day.
Shoulders - this is similar to the triceps in that there is a high intensity and low intensity day. The high intensity day is technically not high intensity, but high stress. In this category, I would put dumbbell bench press, dumbbell incline presses, military presses (with dumbbells or a straight bar) and dumbbell floor presses. In the low stress category, front raises, side raises and rear raises are good choices. Again, you can choose which day to put them on, but I liked putting the high stress shoulder training on dynamic bench day.
Lats/Upper back - Both days are devoted to lats and upper back and both are done with low intensity, high volume. The way that I worked this is that on Sunday, I would do lat work (usually a row or a pull-up) and no upper back work. On Wednesday, I would do another lat workout (but with a different exercise) and my low stress shoulder work would consist of a rear raise, face pull or a seated dumbbell power clean. So essentially, on the low stress shoulder day, I would kill two birds with one stone: an upper back exercise with a low stress shoulder movement. I did this because I never did front raises or side raises and felt that I got enough stimulation from my other work. It's not gospel, but it's something to think about.
Squat and Deadlift Parameters for the Standard Template
Dynamic Squat ? All sets done on a parallel box. A three week wave is used using the following sets and reps.
Week 1 - 10x2 @ 50%
Week 2 - 10x2 @ 55%
Week 3 - 10x2 @ 60%
Upon completion of the 3rd week, you simply start the wave over again. All %'s are based on your best squat. Let's disregard equipment at this point and say it's based on your best 1RM of your box squat wearing whatever you usually wear on this day. Again, refer to my commentary on dynamic bench training regarding rest periods. This is not conditioning, this is speed work. Save your conditioning for another time.
Max Effort Squat and Deadlift - Similar to the max effort bench press, one exercise is used per week and worked up to a 1RM. Because most people have eliminated good mornings as a max effort exercise, I will choose the following for your exercises. I understand that many do not have these bars that I list, but this is the list, nonetheless:
Safety squat bar squat
Cambered bar squat
Manta Ray squat
(All squats are done on a low (1-2" below parallel), parallel or high (1-2" above parallel) box. As you can tell, there is a great many variations with these three exercises.
Rack deadlifts (or pin pulls)
Deadlifts while standing on elevated platform
Reverse band deadlifts
Again, you want to hit around 3 lifts at or above 90% of your 1RM for that day. Most people switch exercises every week or every 2 weeks. Try to break your PR from your previous effort. To make things easier, simply switch between a squat movement and a deadlift movement. Rest 3-5 minutes between your heaviest sets.
Hamstrings - now here is where things get tricky. Unlike the shoulders/triceps routine of high intensity/low intensity, many people are weak at such exercises as the glute ham raise that they simply need to do the exercise and not worry so much about sets/reps. If you don't fall into this category, you can do bodyweight glute ham raises on one day, and on the other day, you can add a band or a plate for resistance.
Low Back - Again, we cannot really isolate the lower back without hitting the glutes and hamstrings. But you can pick from exercises such as back raises, 45 degree back raises, Reverse Hyperextensions, pull-throughs and good mornings. Depending on how you do some of these exercises (i.e. with a great amount of intensity) you can use ONE of these for your hamstring and low back exercise. For example, good mornings can be done for both. If you were to pick reverse hyperextensions or pull-throughs, then you can get away with doing an extra hamstring exercise. Some people can train their lower back twice a week, others cannot. A good way to do this is to pick one "easy" exercise (R.H., pull-throughs, un-weighted back raises or band good mornings) on one day and pick a heavier exercise on the second lower body training day.
Abdominals - These are usually trained heavy twice a week in the standard template. Some good exercises to choose from weighted sit ups, Roman Chair sit-ups, stability ball, hanging leg raises, side bends. This is not very complicated but you just need to do them; that's usually the hardest part.