Thursday, December 4, 2014

No bullshit, no frills powerlifting split

I swear to Christ almighty, no matter how simplified you make a program now, people will still have questions about it.

No matter how much detail you lay out for them, they always seem to not understand something, or want to know if they can substitute one movement for another movement.

I can understand wanting to know if you can substitute a machine movement because your gym doesn't have one, or you don't have access to one.  But I've seen even the most basic routines and programs beat to shit over questions.

I think people like to ponder over training routines than actually use them.  Like a group of fancy pants at a interior design expo where they make remarkable comments over paintings and vases, but never buy a god damn thing or actually decorate a single room anywhere.

One of the reasons why people have so many questions is because there are so many options now.  Forgotten in all of those options are that they are called assistance or support movements for a reason.  Picking great support movements is important.  Let's be clear on that.  However worrying about weak points when you're squatting 3 wheels and benching two is flat out bullshit.  You just need to get stronger and stop worrying about making your training more complicated than it has to be.

Don't chase the 5% all the while ignoring the 95%.  And that 95% is just really basic shit.

I blame myself, partly.  I write quite a bit about offseason training, peaking, and other matters that can and do convolute and confuse the average bloke who just wants to push more weight.  I write about these things because they do pertain to my own training, and other advanced guys training.

However the be-all end-all in all of this bullshit is really simple.  Squat a lot, bench a lot, do some bodybuilding stuff that is simple, and repeat that each week for a very long fucking time.

If you want proof of that, look no further than Gillian.  She's a brute and absolute monster and all she does is squat all day, bench all day, climb monkey ropes, overhead presses, does chins, and dips.

All of this shit in bunches.

Then you have dudes that weigh more than her still benching less than her after 5 years of training because they have spent so much time fucking around with "weak points" and bands and chains and totally forget that there is no substitute for a LOT of hard work.

So let's cut through the bullshit and for one time make this really simple.

Day 1 - Squat
Squats - Base Building Model III
Abs - Sit ups - 5 sets of 25

Day 2 - Bench
Bench Press - Base Building Model III
Hammer Curls - 4 sets of 20

Day 3 - Squat assistance and deadlift
Front Squats - Base Building Model I
Deadlifts - Base Building Model based on your max

Day 4 - Bench Assistance 
Overhead Press of any sort - 4 sets of 6 working up to a top set
Chins - 5 sets of 5 (weighted if you're strong enough to do 20, bodyweight only if not)
Dips - 4 sets of as many as possible

Some overall notes about this.

  • No you can't change anything.
  • No you can't change anything.
  • No you can't substitute something for something else.  All of these movements should be able to be done pain free.  If something truly does hurt, just drop it.  
  • No you can't take out something 
  • No you can't change some rep and set ranges
  • Yes you can do it exactly as written
  • Yes you can run this program for months on end.
  • If you can't squat, bench, and deadlift pain free, then you're probably not powerlifting.
  • Yes you can run this in the offseason or for peaking.  I mean, all three lifts are included.  Peaking and offseason is more about your programming if all three lifts are included.
  • You can split up days between as you see fit.  So if you want to train three days a week, and do day 4 on the following week, that's cool.
  • Set a good everyday max (EDM).  And base your big three programming around that.  Focus on improving speed, and not missing reps.  Always leave one in the tank.  
  • For the support work, progress as needed.  Remember, it's assistance/support.  Treat it like a supplement.  Don't major in the minors.  Get stronger on your support work but don't fret over it.  Get the work in and call it a day.
  • With that said, it's still ok to have some goals on support/assistance work to keep you focused so that you're not just fucking around.
  • Use fatigue singles occasionally when you're having a +10% day.  If you're destroying your fatigue singles at each testing, bump your EDM by 5% and reprogram.  
  • No you don't need to squat 12,402 times a week or bench that many times a week to get stronger.  There's this fad going around now where apparently, you need to do the lifts a million times a week to improve.  The big three are not overly technical lifts.  It's not olympic lifting.  Yes they do need practice, but they have a bigger need for stimulation and then recovery than practice.  
  • Have fun.

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  1. This is all makes sense, but can I substitute the barbell squats with green and pink dumbbell squats? The colors keep me interested.

  2. How much chain should I add to the squats? Should I bench from a 2 board or use reverse bands?

    Kidding. Great article.