Many people ask me for advice on which training program they should start training with. With the rise in popularity of powerlifting in recent years, there has been a profusion of  routines that can clutter and overwhelm a beginner who just simply wants to get going on their path to superhuman strength.

What I advise is using the basics: lift incrementally heavier weights, practice good form, use muscle-building assistance work strategically, and don't rush into getting stronger.



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 treat your lifts as practice and commit to getting better over time, not overnight, you will make progress. 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.

Female athlete performing a deadlft.

"Low sets and low reps and not very much assistance work is normal with top-notch pro powerlifters."

So where do you start? I advocate a 5x5 routine for the beginner, but again, not because it's magic. That's simply a set and rep scheme that has shown itself, time and time again, to hit a sweet spot in both intensity and volume for the widest number of lifters. 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. 

Follow the full program, Powerlifting for Beginners, in BodyFit elite, and watch as you systematically get stronger week by week! 

Powerlifting for Beginners: The Program
Powerlifting for Beginners: The Program
Follow this full program in BodyFit Elite! You’ll get a customizable workout tracker and app, with demonstration videos for all movements. Earn free shipping and store discounts, plus access to 70+ additional programs!
Male athlete performing a squat in the rack.

"Start with a moderate weight 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 use things like partial lifts and dynamic effort work down the road. For now, just focus on hitting each and every rep! 

By using this routine you will also gain some muscle because there are no sets in which you do triples or singles. You're building a broad base of strength and muscularity that will serve you down the road. 



Signature Beginner Stack
Signature Beginner Stack
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About the Author

Ben Creicos

Ben Creicos

Ben Creicos is a health-and-fitness writer who is passionate about helping everyone discover the body's limitless potential.

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Beginner Powerlifting