Powerlifting is a test of maximum strength in the bench press, squat and deadlift. Training yourself to move heavy weight can be extremely taxing on your body and energy system. To prevent injury and promote progress, it’s important to create a training plan that allows for work, rest and recovery. To ensure you get the most out of your powerlifting, create a plan that includes phase of varied intensity, frequency and workload.
A powerlifting training program is organized based on periodization. Training phases and sessions are designed with a specific purpose in mind, allowing for the completion of a specific goal. Depending on your goal, exercise experience, and the training phase you could be trying to increase the weight lifted or the number of repetitions performed. By altering the amount of weight lifted or number of repetitions performed, it is possible to create a training program that encourages improvement throughout the year.
During the first one to two weeks of training in the transitional phase keep your training intensity and volume low. Allow your body to adapt to the training schedule and various movements to create a foundation of fitness. The transition phase can also be used to perform baseline testing, such as the one and three rep max tests, to measure ability and track progress over time.
The hypertrophy phase uses high volume, low intensity workouts to increase lean muscle mass. This is accomplished over four to eight weeks. Split workouts up throughout the week using body part splits, like chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs. Then, perform each exercise using 70 percent of your one rep max; perform four sets of eight to 15 repetitions.
Set up your training intensity and gains during the strength phase. Prepare to perform fewer repetitions, while using a heavier weight. Select a load that is 75 to 85 percent of your one rep maximum and perform three to five sets of four to six repetitions. Instead of performing body part splits, move to training sessions that focus on press, squatting, pulling, and hinging movements. For example, the overhead press, back squat, bent row and deadlift can be used to build totalk body strength.
The strength phase features high intensity, low volume strength workouts of five to eight sets of three to five repetitions. Increase resistance to more than 85 percent of your one repetition max. Using a heavier weight, you will be performing fewer repetitions and recovering longer between sets. Focus on performing the main powerlifting movements, bench, squat and deadlift, to increase your one rep maximum.
- Elite FTS: Block Periodization in the Sport of Powerlifting
- "Periodization Breakthrough: The Ultimate Training System"; Steven Fleck et al.; 1996
Combining an extensive knowledge of innovative training methods with a background in athletics and an engaging personality, Joe Vennare serves as the lead presenter for fitness certification seminars, a writer for various websites and publications and an ambassador for various fitness brands. He is a sponsored multi-sport athlete training for or competing in triathlons, ultra-marathons and obstacle course races.