Powerlifting Power – Dynamic Training Program

team stronger powerlifter squat
Josh Drake @tarantutank

Stronger Powerlifting

Power Focus Using Dynamic Speed Work

By Ryan Mathias, CPT

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Powerlifting is a competitive sport that takes years of hard work and consistent dedication to become proficient at. Lifters must constantly be working on their technique and maintain that technique the best they can through the high intensity workouts they endure. These workouts can often last hours depending on your strength level. As you get STRONGer it takes more time to warm up to your working weights and you have to constantly be adding more work through increasing the weight, sets and/or reps performed. Your workouts will often be 6-10 sets of few reps with the same weight to accumulate volume and strength over time. Numerous sets with few reps is the best way to gain maximal strength, because you are practicing your setup and technique with intense weights numerous times within a workout. Your set-up, how you perform each lift, along with everything else in this 12 week program, is focused upon obtaining the most strength for week 12. Week 12 is your competition week and there should be no lifting done during the last 2-3 days leading up. Do your training work early in the week with little accessory work so that you are fully recovered before the meet. This 12 week training program will guide you through the exact work you need to do leading up to your next competition.

For heavy training days you will switch between a squat versus deadlift focus. One week you will do most of your work with the squat and then use a deadlift variation (block pulls, deficit, bands, chains, etc.) as an accessory lift. The next week you will do the opposite with deadlift being the focus and have a squat variation (box squats, pause squats, bands, chains, etc.) as your accessory lift. This will allow you to focus on one lift at a time while allowing the other to recover before the next heavy session. Heavy bench days will go heavy each week that is not a deload. The deload weeks should be used for bench press variations (closegrip, floor press, bands, chains, etc.) utilizing repetition work to build up all parts of the lift. Be sure to practice your lifts exactly how they are supposed to be performed in competition. That means practicing holding deadlifts at the top and pausing bench presses as you get closer to the competition. Also, on heavy training days you will utilize an overload set to better prepare yourself for the competition. This is one set that is either an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) done with the same working weight or a daily max. For the daily max, work up to a weight that is difficult to do for that day, but you are still able to maintain reasonable technique. Your intensity set should never be done to failure because this teaches improper technique which will decrease your maximal strength potential.

Heavy training days work on building brute strength to increase your max as lighter training days are used each week to increase training volume while decreasing the overall stress placed upon your body. By going heavy too often our bodies may not be able to recover and therefore are at a higher risk of injury. By training with sub-maximal weights we can utilize dynamic speed training, with the use of bands or chains, to increase our training volume and power; or utilize repetition work to build more size. Both are effective ways of decreasing the overall stress placed upon your body while adding to your strength potential. By utilizing lighter and heavier training days each week they will build upon each other to further increase your maximal strength.

Every 4th week is a deload and recover week. This is a week where you will still get a good amount of training volume in but it will allow your body to recover from the high intensity work, and decrease your risk of injury. There will be no deadlifts done on this week, but you should utilize an exercise variation that will help build up your lower back such as good mornings or reverse hyperextensions. For your heavy squat and bench press exercises, utilize a variation that builds up your weaknesses in those lifts. Stay focused, train hard and get stronger!

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Powerlifting Program Dynamic Lifting Chart

1Add ~10% of accommodating resistance (bands/chains) to dynamic/speed lifts plus the bar weight percentage.

2Use your competition opener for all 10 sets. Usually something you can do 3 reps with.

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Day 1- Heavy Squat/ Deadlift

Warm-Up & Technique Work:

Weighted Chin-Ups                                                             – x 25 total

Box Jump Variation                                                            3-5 x 3

Pause Squat/ Deficit Deadlift (<50%)                               3 x 5

Main Lifts:

Squat/ Deadlift See Table

*Overload Set                                                                        1 x AMRAP/ Daily Max

Deadlift/ Squat Variation See Table

Accessory Work:

Dumbbell Rows                                                                       4 x 6-8

Bicep Curl Variation                                                               4 x 8-10

Side Plank/ **Grip Holds                                                       3 x 45 sec.

Mobility Work                                                                         10+ min.

*Done after your main work is complete, only on high intensity days, and never to failure.

**Hold the center (smooth part) of a deadlift barbell, or weighted bar, at your side for as long as you can to build up your grip. It is best to do this on days when you do lighter deadlifts.

Day 2- Heavy Bench Press

Warm-Up & Technique Work:

Closegrip Bench Press (<50%)                                               3 x 5-15

Abs Exercise                                                                              3 x 5-10

Main Lifts:

Bench Press See Table

*Overload Set                                                                            1 x AMRAP/ Daily Max

Accessory Work:

Dumbbell Press Variation                                                       4 x 6-8

Military Press Variation                                                          3-5 x 3-8

Triceps Extension Variation                                                   4-5 x 6-10

Face Pulls                                                                                   5 x 8-10

***Rotary Cuff Work                                                                – x 100 total

Side Bends                                                                                  3 x 10-20

Weighted Abdominal Exercise                                               5 x 10

Mobility                                                                                      10+ min.

*Done after your main work is complete, only on high intensity days, and never to failure.

***Do slow, controlled motions with a cable that work on the rotation of your humorous (upper arm bone). See examples HERE.

Day 3- Light Squat/ Deadlift

Warm-Up & Technique Work:

Pull-Ups/ Chin-Ups                                                                      – x 50

Pause Squat (<50%)                                                                    3 x 5

Main Lifts:

1Dynamic Box Squat/ Squat See Table

1Dynamic Deadlift See Table

Accessory Work:

Leg Curl/ Leg Press                                                                        3 x 10-15

Lat Exercise                                                                                    5 x 10-15

Curl Variation                                                                                 3 x 10-15

Weighted Plank                                                                              3 x 60-90 sec.

Mobility                                                                                           10+ min.

1Add ~10% of accommodating resistance (band tension or chain weight) to dynamic/speed lifts on top of the bar weight percentage.

Day 4- Light Bench Press

Warm-Up & Technique Work:

Shrug Variation                                                                               3 x 10

Closegrip Bench Press (<50%)                                                      3 x 5-15

Abs Exercises                                                                                   3 x 10

Main Lift:

1Dynamic Bench Press/ Bench Press See Table

Accessory Work:

Dumbbell Press Variation                                                               3 x 10-15

Military Press Variation                                                                  3 x 10-15

Push-Ups/ Dips                                                                                  3 x Failure

Triceps Extension Variation                                                           3 x 10-15

Reverse Flyes                                                                                     3 x 10-20

Lateral Raises                                                                                    3 x 10-15

Abs Exercise                                                                                       – x 100

Mobility                                                                                               10+ min.

1Add ~10% of accommodating resistance (band tension or chain weight) to dynamic/speed lifts on top of the bar weight percentage.

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