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Powerlifting Training For The Beginner!

Powerlifting Training For The Beginner!

What I advise is using the basics. Even the most hardcore training methods revolve around simple principles, the main one being; lift heavier weights, get stronger...

Many people ask me for advice on which training program they should start training with. After all, there is a lot of information on every training method out there. Metal Militia, Westside, 2x2, 3x3, hybrid routines are all examples of the routines that can clutter and overwhelm a beginner that just simply wants to get going on their path to superhuman strength.

What I advise is using the basics. Even the most hardcore training methods revolve around simple principles, the main one being; lift heavier weights, get stronger. Obviously that is very vague so let me explain. When you look at a well designed program, you make advances every microcycle (usually every 1-2 weeks.) This is done by either adding weight or reps to the work set(s) that you did the week or two before.

I am astounded by the number of people that are looking for a magical number of sets or reps. I inform these people that there is no magic number, but that there is, however, a magic attitude. If you go balls to the wall mentally, and you do everything humanly possible to make gains, you will succeed. This is true for not only powerlifting or bodybuilding, but any sport or business or activity where you either make it or you don't.

The best examples I can think of when talking about basic principles are Ryan Kennelly and Scot Mendelson. If you think these crazy-strong guys do anything special training-wise, you're sadly mistaken. While they do have their tips that they would tell you if they were training you, they are nothing that would improve long term gains.

Low sets and low reps and not very much assistance work is normal with top-notch pro powerlifters. I do not know of one pro that does anything crazy and profound. They all use old methods and ideas, and they have a top notch winning attitude and the drive to succeed. This is what makes champions. I cannot emphasize this enough. Dedication equals success. If you like to half-Ass things, powerlifting is neither the sport nor the lifestyle for you.

I advocate a 5x5 routine for the beginner. If one were to jump into Westside, for example, they would be performing partial lifts and dynamic lifts with no idea what proper form is. If one tried to jump into Metal Militia with no prior training, they would end up with horrible joint pains and tendonitis. Probably a torn pec or rotator cuff as well simply because there are many bits and pieces of technique of the powerlifts to learn.

Instead of doing something foolish like jumping into a high-volume, high intensity routine that can lead to injury and wasting your time, learn the core lifts first. Work hard and practice, practice, practice.

5x5 Program

Below is the 5x5 program. This is what I advise for beginners as far as their training routine goes.

Monday

  • Barbell Squat Barbell Squat

    Barbell Squat

    5 sets of 5 with the same weight
    Start with a moderate weigth and add 5-10 pounds every week.
  • Front Squat (Clean Grip) Front Squat (Clean Grip)

    Front Squat (Clean Grip)

    3 sets of 8-10
    Add 5-10 pounds every week for all sets.
  • Butt Lift (Bridge) Butt Lift (Bridge)

    Butt Lift (Bridge)

    3 sets of 8-10
    If you can not do 8 reps, do as many full reps as you can then do partials to finish.
  • Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

    Seated Calf Raise

    3-4 sets to failure
    Use slow reps. Add 5 pounds per week for all sets.

Wednesday


Friday

  • Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift

    Barbell Deadlift

    5 sets of 5 with the same weight
    Start with a moderate weigth and add 5-10 pounds every week.
  • Upright Barbell Row Upright Barbell Row

    Upright Barbell Row

    3 sets of 6-8 reps
    Try to add weight every week though it wont always be possible. Strive to make personal records.
  • Hyperextensions (Back Extensions) Hyperextensions (Back Extensions)

    Hyperextensions (Back Extensions)

    3 sets of 10-15 reps
    These are for rehab and preventitive strengthening of the lower back (use a lighter weight for this exercise).
  • Barbell Curl Barbell Curl

    Barbell Curl

    5 sets of 5 reps
    Start with a moderate weigth and add 5 pounds every week.

Take Home Message

This routine is very simple. It is intended to be that way. You will understand and learn basic form of the main three power lifts and your Central Nervous System will be used to fire and move the weights in the ranges of motion specific to the core lifts.

This will allow you to be familiar enough with each lift to understand and possibly implicate the use of partial movements to your training routine, which is what makes Westside and Metal Militia work.

By using this routine you will also gain some hypertrophy because there are no sets in which you do triples or singles (sets of 3 or 1 reps, respectively). This will also not cause joint pain or tendonitis unless you're doing something horribly wrong.


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Homanator

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Homanator

You got the right idea, but the wrong employment of it. A beginner can handle high frequency, and thus there is opportunity to increase the weight pretty much every session. That's why in the best beginner routines (Stronglifts 5x5, Mark Rippetoes Starting Strength) guys squat 3x a week. Again, you had the right idea, but the frequency is far too low for each muscle group.

Jan 2, 2012 2:41am | report
 
mgallagher1000

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mgallagher1000

I've been looking for a free version of that would you happen to know where to find one? or know of an article sumarizing it

Apr 23, 2012 9:41pm | report
gillyboy4000

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gillyboy4000

Homanator is right on. Look up Stronglifts and/or Ripptoe. I followed the 5x5 for an 8 week cycle and made huge strides.

Feb 26, 2013 1:11pm | report
Aj1979

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Aj1979

Hi in after so advise I like the look of the above program is this a good place to start ? And what kind of routine would I use to follow up from this? Thanks

Jan 11, 2013 2:10am | report
 
skiinian95

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skiinian95

If I wanted to test my one rep max while using this program, where in the program should I do it? Thanks.

Jan 25, 2013 7:19am | report
 
gillyboy4000

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gillyboy4000

I have an A week and B week. I start on a Monday with squats, which is a heavy lift day. Wednesday is a high rep day (50% or whatever allows for high reps), then Friday is where I do a 1 max rep to see where I'm at. However, I only count that rep if form is perfect. If the form is not perfect, then I drop my weight until near perfection.

Feb 26, 2013 1:05pm | report
borik144

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borik144

what is the rest period between each work out or you just go straight out and just knock the work oouts out.

Jan 30, 2013 4:08pm | report
 
gillyboy4000

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gillyboy4000

That depends on the level of intensity you're looking for. You can rest as little as 30 secs, but 60-90 seconds should be enough. However, I have taken up to 2mins.

Feb 26, 2013 1:08pm | report
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 Comments

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