T Nation

Advice for Powerlifting Beginner?


A beginner in powerlifting needing advice on sets, reps and how long I should train for it would also be great if you could post a beginners routine


you need to do some research. do a search on beginning powerlifting. you have to have the drive to get some information on your own. once you have a working knowledge of the basics then you ask questions. I would suggest that you read everything you can about Westside but there are also other great training styles out there. I'm just a bit biased because i use the Westside template.

don't ever just follow a program blindly. learn everything you can about something before you try it.


you'll find a ton of good beginner info at Deepsquatter.com


I would take a very basic progressive overload approach. One day a week for each lift, training three times a week, progressing from sets of 8-10 reps down to 1-3 reps over the course of 8-16 weeks.

I would only do two work sets on the powerlifts, and I would make sure every rep was identical and I would get technique instruction from an experienced and successful lifter in your area. (Look around and you will find somebody who will be happy to help). Follow the powerlifts with basic assistance work at a fairly low volume.

That should hold you over for awhile and get you pretty strong. Don't make things complicated before you have to.


This thread has the potential to be very good. I would like to see what all the advanced PLers here have to say on this thread.

I hope many beginners can read this thread and learn how not to screw up their training and make basic progress. We should turn this thread into something many beginners who are looking to get into Powerlifting can read. Currently there isn't an equivalent of the 'Are you a Beginner' thread over here. Although this doesn't necessarily have to be, I think this would be a great opportunity for the advanced guys to share some ideas here.

Here's my take. OP, go to Elitefts and read the training articles there. Also, I know bodybuilding.com is frowned upon but there are some very knowledgeable PLers on the Powerlifting/Strongman section. Read the logs on the PLing Log forum there. Do the same thing at Elitefts.com.

If you can, find a powerlifter who trains at your gym and ask if you can train with him/if he can help you get started.

Here are a couple of good basic PLing templates:

WS4SB I - http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/westside_for_skinny_bastards

WS4SB II - http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/westside_for_skinny_bastards_ii

WS4SkinnyVikingBastards - http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=920894

Madcow 5x5 - http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1/table_of_contents_thread.htm

Getting Ready to Powerlift (A great program but I would suggest you cut down the volume a bit if you plan on doing it) - http://www.elitefts.com/documents/getting_ready.htm

Some good overall articles to read:

Powerlifting And ADD (VERY important article for beginners) - http://www.elitefts.com/documents/powerlifting_and_add.htm

A Beginner's Guide To EFS - http://www.elitefts.com/documents/a_beginners_guide.htm

Beginner Mistakes - http://www.elitefts.com/documents/beginner_mistakes_part3_jimw.htm

Beginner ME Training - http://www.elitefts.com/documents/modified_max_effort_training.htm

You don't have to follow Westside, although it is a very productive way of training.

You can follow a more classical template as well.

Monday - Heavy Bench Day
- where you do obviously max effort bench work
- bench supplemental exercise (like db benching or incline benching)
- light tricep work (like pushdowns or skullcrushers)
- bicep work

Wednesday - Squat Training
- Your max effort squat stuff
- Supplemental squat stuff (some different squat than what you did your heavy work with, or leg presses)
- hamstring work

Friday - Assistance Bench Day
- Lighter Bench 'repetition' work
- Heavy shoulder work
- heavy tricep work (dips, cg bench, etc)
- bicep work

Sunday - Deadlift
- Deadlift heavy etc
- Low Back/Hamstring work (Goodmornings, Romanian Deadlift, pullthroughs, GHR, you get the idea)
- Lat work (pulldowns, chins/pullups etc)
- Rows

This is just an example.


Buy 'Starting Strength' and read the SS wiki pages. Those have the best explanations/demonstrations of the squat, DL, and bench.


Learn to do single leg squats. Apparently if you cant do them, you arent strong.






thats what I did for the first year and a half . good way to learn form ; avoids too much heavy , low rep work . you may stall on this rather quickly though if you always start each cycle in the same high-rep range.

then I started Westside. thats when the fun starts . thats when you learn to lift heavy . way different from repping in the 8's to 5's range.

dont make the mistake of switching programs up constantly .

video cam . use it to watch your form/depth/technique


That would be good to see advanced powerlifters to share there ideas it would stop us beginners from messing up are training routine

At the moment im training at a gym not for powerlifters the only equipment thats useful to me is the dumbbells and the barbells only go up to 45kgs but there is a powerlifting gym caled GYM21 30minutes away from me and i should be training there soon hopefully

The routine looks good i will give it ago and get back to you on it



bulgarian squats then


If you see "/sarcasm" it means "end sarcasm" which means the preceeding statement was meant in jest.


cheers for the advice



edit* shit der candy you beat me to it...lot of good links you got there. OP READ


I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but DON'T read. Instead, have someone qualified to mentor you at GYM21, you will end up much better off.


Kinda goin off topic here, but hitting lats the day before heavy bench doesnt sound to good?


It doesnt need to be in that order on exactly those days.


I differ in that I think Sheiko is great for beginners since it has you doing the comp lifts and has everything set in stone. I'd cut the deadlifts to knees from it though, they're a bit hazardous.

If I had my time again, I'd do:
1 month doing comp lifts and trying to get as big as possible. Maybe WS4SB.
Max out
1 month of Sheiko
Max out
1 month of Sheiko with new max

Then do whatever you feel like, the main aim is to give you a good start.


looks good but whats sheiko?


Sheiko is an incredibly effective training regimen that has you doing mainly the competition lifts and not much accessory work for fairly high volume mostly in the 80-85% of 1RM range from what I've seen.

I know a couple of lifters who are seeing consistent gains on sheiko training. Sessions are typically 2+ hours and using aggressive recovery measures is almost mandatory.