OK, before I start, this is a powerlifting program, not a bodybuilding program. Of all the programs I've tried, this boosted my strength the most. I did this in preparation for when I used to compete in powerlifting contests. It is a 14-week cycle. Yeah, yeah, I know, "just shut up and tell me the program." Alright, here it is: First, you need to figure out what you ultimately want for your one rep maximum (ORM) for bench press, squat and deadlift. Write all three lifts down on a sheet of paper.

Killer Strength Program!

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The Workouts

Squat Workout
1
Barbell Squat
3 sets, 8 reps (Week 1: 60% of ORM)
3 sets, 6 reps (Week 2: 65% of ORM)
3 sets, 5 reps (Week 3: 70% of ORM)
3 sets, 4 reps (Week 4: 75% of ORM)
3 sets, 3 reps (Week 5: 80% of ORM)
2 sets, 2 reps (Week 6: 85% of ORM)
1 set, 1 rep (Week 7: 90% of ORM)
2
Barbell Shrug
4 sets, 10 reps
3
Leg Press
4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 6 reps
4
Smith Machine Squat
3 sets, 6 reps
5
Leg Extensions
3 sets, 10 reps
6
Lying Leg Curls
3 sets, 10 reps
Deadlift Workout
1
Barbell Deadlift
3 sets, 8 reps (Week 1: 60% of ORM)
3 sets, 6 reps (Week 2: 65% of ORM)
3 sets, 5 reps (Week 3: 70% of ORM)
3 sets, 4 reps (Week 4: 75% of ORM)
3 sets, 3 reps (Week 5: 80% of ORM)
2 sets, 2 reps (Week 6: 85% of ORM)
1 set, 1 reps (Week 7: 90% of ORM)
2
Barbell Shrug
4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 6 reps
3
Seated Cable Rows
3 sets, 8 reps
4
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
3 sets, 8 reps
5
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
3 sets, 8 reps
Bench Workout: Heavy Chest
1
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
3 sets, 8 reps (Week 1: 60% of ORM)
3 sets, 6 reps (Week 2: 65% of ORM)
3 sets, 5 reps (Week 3: 70% of ORM)
3 sets, 4 reps (Week 4: 75% of ORM)
3 sets, 3 reps (Week 5: 80% of ORM)
3 sets, 2 reps (Week 7: 85% of ORM)
1 set, 1 rep (Week 7: 90% of ORM)
2
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
4 sets, 10 reps
3
Barbell Incline Bench Press Medium-Grip
4 sets, 6 reps
4
Seated Dumbbell Press
4 sets, 8 reps
5
Triceps Pushdown
4 sets, 8 reps
Bench Workout 2: Light Chest
1
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
3 sets, 10 reps
2
Barbell Incline Bench Press Medium-Grip
3 sets, 10 reps
3
Standing Military Press
3 sets, 8 reps
4
Side Lateral Raise
3 sets, 8 reps
5
Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension
3 sets, 8 reps
6
Triceps Pushdown
3 sets, 8 reps

Now, you've just completed the first half of the 14-week cycle. You're ready for the second half. The only difference is the percentages on your three major lifts, all other exercises, sets and reps all remain the same.

second half percentages:
  • Week 1: 70% of ORM for 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Week 2: 75% of ORM for 3 sets of 6 reps
  • Week 3: 80% of ORM for 3 sets of 5 reps
  • Week 4: 85% of ORM for 3 sets of 4 reps
  • Week 5: 90% of ORM for 3 sets of 3 reps
  • Week 6: 95% of ORM for 2 sets of 2 reps
  • Week 7: 100% of ORM for 1 set of 1 rep
The days in which you train:
  • Sunday is squat day.
  • Tuesday is Bench #1 (heavy) day.
  • Thursday is Deadlift day.
  • Friday is Bench #2 (light) day.

The cycle starts over on Sunday.

Before starting the whole 14-week training cycle, you will need to take about 3-to-4 weeks in which you condition your muscles. To do this, train on the days which I have specified, and only do four exercises from each workout. The major lifts must be included in the four selected exercises.

What you select is up to you, however I recommend doing exercises that work as many muscles as possible. For example, on a bench day, you would not want to just do all chest work, choose exercises that will work the chest, shoulders and triceps.

Once you have started the 14-week cycle, you need to pyramid up in weight with every exercise except your major lifts once you reach the specified percentage. The first couple of weeks will feel like you can do more weight on your major lifts. This is natural, but do not increase the percentage for a given week even if you can go heavier.

As far as rest goes, rest about 5-8 minutes for your major lifts. Any other assistance work, you can rest however long you want. These are really long workouts, but remember, the workouts are powerlifting specific.

Powerlifting implies the avoidance cardio, and eating whatever you want.

About the Author

David Knowles

David Knowles

I began lifting when I was very young, around eight years old. My dad had always been a big guy, so I started going to the gym with him to watch him workout

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