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Pre-Bodybuilding Powerlifting Cycle

Q: I want to do a powerlifting cycle before I go back to bodybuilding, but I’m not sure how to structure my routine. My training partner remembers that you laid out how you jumped your weights each week for the squat, bench and deadlift. Can you explain it again?

A: No problem. Here’s how I figure my weekly weights for the powerlifts. I start week 1 with my 10-rep max; for my squats that’s 315 pounds. I know that my realistic goal for the meet is 500 pounds. I divide the difference—185—by 9, since the meet is in week 10. That equals 20.5.

I start week 1 using 315 pounds and add 20 pounds per week, which puts my work sets at 495 by week 10. On meet day I may attempt more than 500 if everything is feeling good. My bench starting weight will be 225, and my goal is 320. Here is how my weekly poundage schedule looks for the three lifts:

Squat/Deadlift                 Bench Press
Week 1 315 225
Week 2 335 235
Week 3 355 245
Week 4 375 255
Week 5 395 265
Week 6 415 275
Week 7 435 285
Week 8 455 295
Week 9 475 305
Week 10 495 315
Meet day 500 320

I usually do three progressively heavier warmup sets on the powerlifts, then three work sets, pushing close to failure on each. Then I decrease the weight and do a 12-rep burnout set to finish.

I train three days a week, leading off with one of the powerlifts each day. Here’s how I structured my last powerlifting phase:


Monday: Squats

Wednesday: Bench presses

Friday: Deadlifts

Of course, I do auxiliary exercises after the leadoff power exercise. For example, on Monday I do leg presses or hack squats plus hamstring and calf work. Wednesday, after bench presses, it’s incline presses plus some delt and biceps work. On Friday, after deadlifts, I do some partial deads in the rack, then additional back work, tri’s and a few sets for abs.

Your strategy of working in a powerlifting phase is a good one. I highly recommend powerlifting for competitive bodybuilders, as it will help add muscle all over your body and give a denser look to your musculature.

Also, after a good power phase you should be able to handle more weight in your bodybuilding training, which will lead to faster gains. The heavier poundages should transfer to other exercises when you go back to doing moderate to high reps.

Train hard and eat clean.

Note: Dave’s complete powerlifting program is in his new e-book, The Texas Shredder Mass Workout, now available at

Editor’s Note: See Dave Goodin’s blog at www.IronMan Click
on the blog selection in the top menu bar.
To contact Dave
directly, send e-mail to TXShredder IM


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