I'm going to approach this from a chronological perspective today, and give you an overview…
As you may be able to tell by now, I’m very jealous of beginners mainly due to the enormous potential they have.
I think the journey and the process of improving is the most enjoyable part of weight training, and this is significantly reduced the more advanced you become. I HATE IT! 🙁
But anyway, the main difference is the speed of progression. True beginners can progress every workout, and slightly more advanced beginners (after about 6 months of training for most) can progress on a weekly basis.
For Intermediates, their working weights will progress every month or every 2 months. You need to start building work capacity as an Intermediate and incorporate some weakpoint work. This means bringing in some assistance movements.
Whereas as a beginner, it doesn’t matter what the hell you do. Just lift weights, add progressive overload and eat.
Beginners are weak everywhere so there’s no need for specialisation. Just get stronger. Learn the correct technique, eat plenty of food and add weight in the gym. Stick to compound movements mainly.
Intermediates may struggle to progress at a decent rate if they have severe weaknesses in a particular area. Some specialisation may be required. This could be Stiff-Legged Deadlifts to increase hamstring strength without the same level of neural stress from doing normal Deadlifts.
It could be focusing on Close Grip Bench Press instead of normal Bench Press in order to improve shoulder development, whilst still practising the technique for Bench Press (which you wouldn’t get doing Military Press).
Beginners also need frequency of practise on the main movements to build neural efficiency (which is horrible to start with) and confidence. Due to the frequency of practise, and the fact that they are starting from 0 volume, they don’t really need a great deal of volume per session to progress.
Intermediates on the other hand will need greater volume per session in order to stimulate enough of an adaptation to improve. This volume will need to be cycled on a weekly basis in order for it to be sustainable and prevent burnout.
As always with anything in life, including diet and training, the body & mind have an amazing ability to adapt to new stimuli. Therefore, small consistent change is the key to progression. This also ensures injuries are prevented and they’re completely unnecessary unless you’re training to potentially become a world champion.