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 who 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.

Female athlete performing a deadlft.

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

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
Stick with 5x5 on the big lifts for at least 4 weeks (two cycles through this program), and up to 8 weeks, provided you're still making progress.
1
Barbell Squat
Start with a moderate weight and add 5-10 pounds every week.
5 sets, 5 reps (Same weight)
+ 5 more exercises

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$3.99/month
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  • Detailed workout instruction
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  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

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  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Wednesday
Stick with 5x5 on the big lifts for at least 4 weeks (two cycles through this program), and up to 8 weeks, provided you're still making progress.
1
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
Start with a moderate weight and add 5-10 pounds every week.
5 sets, 5 reps (Same weight)
+ 5 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Friday
Stick with 5x5 on the big lifts for at least 4 weeks (two cycles through this program), and up to 8 weeks, provided you're still making progress.
1
Barbell Deadlift
Start with a moderate weight and add 5-10 pounds every week.
5 sets, 5 reps (Same weight)
+ 5 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

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 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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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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