View Full Version : new to powerlifting: my goals? my routine?

09-07-2010, 03:35 PM
Hi All,

First, I'd like to say that I've been browsing this forum for a couple weeks now and it seems that of all the powerlifting forums I've found this seems to be the most active with the most knowledgeble and friendly folks. Happy to have now joined as a poster.

About me: I am 26, 153lbs and have lifted recreationally (on and off, mostly on) for several years now. My routines are probably closer to bodybuilding routines, with a good number of isolation lifts and 3 sets of 7-10reps per exercise. I now want to switch my focus to strength training and start working toward B/S/D max improvements.

First question: my goal is >1000lbs combined big 3 within the next 4-6 months. Is this reasonable?

Current lifts (no idea what my maxes are, haven't done maxes in years):
Bench - 3 sets 225x6
Deadlift - 3 sets 235x10
Squat - NO idea (last squats were 3 sets 255x10 over a year ago)

I haven't done compound leg exercises in over a year - took time off to run in some races then injured my leg. I've only been doing deadlifts for 3 weeks so I think I can make big progress on that and squats in the coming months. My bench has been a consistent lift for me (although flat-backed) so probably won't increase at the same rate.

Second question: what's a good beginner powerlifting routine to accomplish my goals? Is there a "best" routine? I've read some about 5x5 routines, and some about Wendler's 5/3/1 routines, and variations on each. Should I do one of these or a different routine?

Thanks in advance for all the help!

09-07-2010, 04:01 PM
There are several options for programming, everything you mentioned is solid. I'd read through the stickies and pick a program that interests you and follow it as written for several months. You may want to consider something that will give you lots of practice on deadlift and squat and also take advantage of them being somewhat new for you.

May also want to look into bench press form articles and work on benching with an arch.

Just guess-timating but you'll probably need to add about a hundred pounds or so to your total and in the time frame you've given is certainly possible.

Good luck,

09-08-2010, 08:26 AM
First, unless you are under 5 ft tall or a woman, you should gain some weight.

Pick a program and stick to it. All it really comes down to is how hard you are willing to work, the programs don't matter that much in the end. 5/3/1 is great for anyon to use, but you will have to get the book and follow it the right way. It is also potentially very frustrating for impatient people because it is a slower progression (but it works).

If you can find other powerlifters, train with them.

Also, get a video camera and video all of your lifts. This will help you to see what you may be doing wrong (and right) and will also allow others to help you with your form.

Good luck.

09-08-2010, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the replies! StLRPh, when you say a program that gives me lots of practice on squats/deads, are you talking about more reps/sets for those lifts or more exercises designed to complement those lifts?

I was sorta hoping there was one "standard" most popular routine for folks like me who aren't new to the gym but haven't powerlifted, but it sounds like that's not the case. Honestly, the program that interests me the most is the one that has the best chance of giving me good results. I have no problem working hard, I don't care what I have to do, I'll be able to stick to something once I start it - I just wanted to know what to start!

I am pretty skinny dude (5'7", 153 in the morning) and could prob stand to gain some weight. Unfortunately I don't gain weight very easily. I normally eat ~3600 calories/day just to maintain body weight - any less and I start losing weight. Most I ever weighed was a couple years ago when I was lifting heavy and concentrating on bulking - I was eating around 5600-5800 calories/day then for over a year straight. Sadly, the highest I got was 165lbs. Don't mean to sound whiney, but I've found it gets kinda hard for me to eat much more than that without really putting a lot of crap foods in my body. If you think I should up the calories though, I'll definitely incorporate it into my schedule.

Great idea on the video camera - I'll see if I can borrow one from someone and do that asap. I'll probably learn a good deal just replaying the vids to myself, I've never done that before with any lifting.

Thanks again for the suggestions, and anything specific to how I should start progressing with squats/deads would be helpful!

09-08-2010, 08:10 PM
A pretty popular program is Wendler's 5/3/1. It has a day dedicated to four main lifts: OH Press, Deadlift, Bench Press and Squat. On those days you do a set progression for weight, reps and sets. You'll finish the workout with accessory lifts.

For accessory work you can do lighter, higher rep squats after deadlifts and also lighter, multiple sets of deadlifts after squatting. This gives you a lot more practice with these lifts.
For example a deadlift session w/ 5/3/1 could look like this:
Deadlift 5/3/1 protocol
pause squats
hamstring work

Another good option would be Starting Strength or the Texas Method, there are stickies detailing both. These have you use the main powerlifts frequently so that you really get the technique down.

09-08-2010, 08:53 PM
Another option for you, especially with those squat and deadlift numbers would be to research a 5x5, Bill Star or Madcows.

09-09-2010, 07:13 AM
Fadi - it's not that hard to gain weight. Just eat more. A few double cheeseburgers never hurt anyone.

09-09-2010, 11:56 AM
GMAD and half a tub of PB every day.
Run Madcows into the ground.
Find someone stronger than you and listen to them.
Get in a meet and meet other strong people.

09-10-2010, 02:05 AM
GMAD and half a tub of PB every day.
Run Madcows into the ground.
Find someone stronger than you and listen to them.
Get in a meet and meet other strong people.

I read through Madcows and I like it a lot, and it's not very time consuming being only 3x a week + fairly few total sets. I'm probably going to adjust my squats differently for the first few weeks since i'm getting back into them after a long hiatus, but otherwise going to follow the plan to the T for the next several months and see how it treats me.

And yes, I'll eat more.