P4P Training - Powerbuilding for Powerlifting

Powerlifting Bench Pressing

This is a training program I created and used to get bigger, stronger and prepared for a more advanced powerlifting program. It's for lifters in the 'advanced' beginner to lower intermediate stages of development. It runs on a 3 week cycle with 3 training days a week. If you're looking for a 4 day a week program, click here.

Week 1

Day 1 - Bench Press
  • Barbell Flat Bench Press - Work up to a challenging 3-5 rep set. (Challenging means you shouldn't be able to complete another set at that same weight.)
  • Close-Grip Bench Press - Drop the weight to around 50% of what was done on the challenging set. 6 sets, 10-12 reps for hypertrophy. The last 2 sets should require a lot of mental and physical stamina to complete.

Day 2 - Rest & Recovery

Day 3 - Back & Biceps - Bodybuilding Day
Go for a pump on this day.
  • Barbell Rows - 4-6 sets, 8-10 reps. Some days I get a pump faster than others that's why the sets number can change.
  • Landmine Rows/One Arm Barbell Rows - 4 sets, 10 reps. Video of landmine rows here (1:03). (Alternative: Bent Over Dumbbell Rows)
  • Bicep Curls - 4-6 sets, 10-12 reps. Any type of bicep curl will do to build up some muscular balance between your biceps and massive triceps from benching.

Day 4 - Rest & Recovery

Day 5 - Squats
  • Barbell Back Squats - Work up to a challenging 3-5 rep set.
  • Stiff Leg Deadlifts or Good Mornings - 6 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Weighted Ab Work - Cable/Band Crunches or Weighted Sit-ups - 4 sets to failure

Day 6 & 7 - Rest & Recovery

Week 2

Repeat Week 1

Week 3

Day 1 - Shoulders & Triceps - Bodybuilding Day
  • Standing Overhead Press or Military Press - 6 sets, 10-12 reps. (Alternatives: Machine Presses, Dumbbell Presses)
  • Upright Row / Barbell Raise Cheat (video) - 3 sets, 10 reps. (Alternatives: Upright Rows, Front Raises)
  • Rear Delt Raises - 4 sets to failure. (Alternatives: Cable Face Pulls or Band Pull Aparts)
  • Tricep Pushdowns - 4 sets, 10-12 reps. Cable pushdowns with a rope or bar.

Day 2 - Rest & recovery

Day 3 - Deadlift
  • Conventional Deadlift - Work up to a max effort single or a good strain from the rep. Here's an example of a strained or max rep on video (1:42).
  • Hamstring Work - 6 sets, 10-12 reps. Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Pull-Throughs, and Hamstring Curls are good.
  • Weighted Ab Work - Cable/Band Crunches or Weighted Sit-ups - 4 sets to failure

Day 4 - Rest & Recovery

Day 5 - Back & Biceps - Same as Week 1 & 2.

Day 6 & 7 - Rest & Recovery

Start over again on Week 1.

Week 3 is different because it stops your body from becoming accustomed to the routine of week 1 and 2. This cycling allows you to keep progressing without hitting a plateau.

For a powerlifting diet to keep the strength gains coming, read this article.


Anonymous said...

Do you use a challenging set on all these exercises? As you can tell, I am pretty new to powerlifting but been staying in shape for about 4 years now. Ready to get it started!!!

Dan said...

Welcome to the ironhood!

The challenging sets are NOT done on all these exercises, just on the ones noted. So that means Barbell Flat Bench Press and Barbell Back Squats.

Jamal Joudeh said...

I deadlift 150 kg for 4-5 reps and squat 120 kg for 4-5 reps- do these figures make me a beginner, intermediate or a third category? I am at the moment completely lost as regards programs and all progress has halted for quiet some time! Thanks and I enjoy your work:)

Anonymous said...

Could you tailor this for a meet I've been running wendlers program just bored with it thanks for any tips I like the fact that you don't deadlift every week but still work the sane muscles to bring that lift up

Dan Profane said...

@Anonymous if Wendler's program still works for you, I'd stick with it thru the boredom.

But if you are planning to do a meet while doing the Powerbuilding for Powerlifting program, I would continue training regularly until 2 weeks out. At 2 weeks out just figure out openers on that week during training days. Then the week before a meet, no training at all, but still keeping up the same amount of food intake.

Michael Marcus said...

Dan. For your P4P training, you mention:
Day 5 - Squats
Barbell Back Squats - Work up to a challenging 3-5 rep set.
Can you define the 3-5 rep set?
Is it actually 3 to 5 repetitions only and for how many sets?


Dan Profane said...

Hey Mike, the final set of squats should be hard enough that you can only get around 3-5 reps. If you can still do more reps, add a little bit of weight for the next set. Keep on working up like this until you get to the "challenging set". Hope that clarifies.