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Advice for Powerlifting w/ Small Frame


Iv looked through the forums but couln't really find much on this: I am 19y.o. 5'9/173lbs.

Bench: 315

I'm a pretty small guy as far as bone structure. My genetics pretty much suck. But I love lifting!! I enjoy powerlifting more so than BB because If i look strong, I wanna Be strong. I'v been lifting hard now for about 1 year. In high school I played football and wrestled so I didn't get near as much lifting time as I wanted. But I lifted hard every time I could. We mostley went 3 days a week.

Here Lately I been entering competitions and doing really well, But Iv seen to have hit a brick wall with my maxes. I switch from low reps to high reps/sets and got nothing. Im begining to think Iv reached my limits naturally.lol I would rather not take steroids due to my lack of money, but I need help.

My workout mainly consists of 5x5. And when I go high reps its usuallyy 4-6x10-15. The biggest thing I need help with is my legs, i work so hard on them but they are still small.

Please, any critasism is fine with me, and Help would be greatly appreciated.

hers some pics, if they work


Sorry guys, i cant get my other pics up for some reason,


Have you taken an extra of yourself, how do you know you have small bone structure, because you're skinny? How do you know your genetics suck, because your skinny? The reason you're skinny is because you don't eat enough. 173 is no one's genetic limit.

This is what you do, eat 150-250 grams of protein a day and then as much of the other stuff you can stuff in your face.

Stop doing 10-15 reps.

Follow these guidelines don't look at the internet except to buy supps and equipment and come back in a year:

* work up to a single, all out set in three or four key lifts
* only train that lift one time a week
* use primal periodization (preplanning)
* train in short, infrequent, manic training sessions

*  low rep sets predominated
* very few exercises
* most performed a single, all out top set
* some lifters might perform multiple top sets using a static poundage
* others might perform â??static weight back-off setsâ?? after the top set
* most performed some assistance exercises
* others avoided assistance work altogether
* perform each of the four core lifts once a week

Or, just get 5/3/1 from Jim Wendler


You are right about the protein probley, i usually only drink 2 shakes a day. But I eat a lot.. And I do not do 15-20 reps very often, Il jump from 5sets of 5 for a few months and then go 1 month with the high reps, but then jump right back to my lower reps. I may be doing something wrong, But idk




awesome advice


You're idea of what eating "a lot" is wrong. Not gaining weight? Not eating a lot. Simple as that. Eat more, grow more.

5x5 isn't exactly a program for building maximal strength. It'll give you a good basis for sure but if you're looking to compete you'll need to get heavier singles work in.


Thank you!! Oh, another question came to mind, Along with this 5,3,1 program, And eating more, Would it be in my best intrest to not swim/ride bikes?
THanks, Aaron


because you are already doing 5x5 as a main lift range, you could make a very smooth transition to 5/3/1, as 5x5 is already one of the training weeks. Take a look at it if you have not.


If your goal is maximal strength, than long aerobic work is counter-productive to your goal.


My advice for gaining weight is breakfast burritos. But the trick is to still eat a normal breakfast then get your burrito like an hour later. Should work with regular burritos as well.


Based on your weight and how much you lift (over 1.5x bw bench, 2x bw squat, 2x bw deadlift), assuming these are raw or belt/wraps totals, you're actually doing quite well for yourself. If anything, you have pretty decent genetics for powerlifting. I guess at this point you can decide whether to keep the bodyweight steady and compete in a certain weightclass (165/181 come to mind) or start moving up in weight. Either way, the focus will still be on getting stronger.

In both cases you will need good programming and diet. Whatever you choose, everyone's above advice is valid. But I don't think you have poor genetics or a "small frame". Just a dude with decent leverages and lighter bodyweight. Good luck.

p.s. try getting your hands on a sheiko template or looking up reactive training systems.

There are many feds (single or multi) where there are <200lb guys tearing it up total-wise


Thank you all for this great advice! I really do appreciate it beyond measures!!! So where I need to take in so many calories, do I pretty much eat/drink anything or what? I know a lot of mass gainers have a bunch of calories that ppl say arent good for you, but idk. Also Im sure I need to stay away from soada,candy, ect..? Correct?


This is where you use the search button. Lots of information regarding nutrition on the site. Do some of the work yourself and than if you have questions put together a detailed post asking your questions. Your current set of questions just shows you haven't read the wealth of information this site provides.

Best of luck. As a side note if you want to see what a routine more oriented towards powerlifting looks like take a look at my log or dixies log. Both are pretty detailed. And of course there is meat's over in the bb forum.


A nice trick Mike Ruggiera shared with me years ago was adding heavy/whipping cream (NOT COOL WHIP) to your protein shakes. The added fat is a nice, easy, dense caloric boost and it makes any protein taste like an orgasm in your mouth.

I also recently read something about overeating a few times a week, to the point of discomfort.


When you squat, is the crease in the hips going below your knees?


THank you, I will have to try that! As for when I squat, I go very deep, AtG. I can not stand when people say their max is whatever and all they do is go down 2or3 inches. My knees have not been very cooperative however. They usually give me pain, btw the squat max was with knee wraps, Idk if its mental with me wearing them or if they really do help, but they seem to take pain out of my knees.


Knee wraps help. I know I can squat about 40 lbs more with them than without.


Yeah, My knees just feel like the are just going to fall apart when I get up with heavier weight, so I wrap them cause it makes me feel safe :slightly_smiling: lol Iv seen too many squatting accidents on youtube I guess, but they had knee wraps and it didnt help but then again they have like 900lbs +-. lol

AH, also SHould I train with or without? I read one article saying its best without, because with them your muscles get stronger but your ligamnets/tendons or whatever around your knee stays way behind because they are supported and dont kneed to grow or whatever.IDK


I'd say that knee sleeves would be a good choice. They don't really affect your max the way wraps do, but they go a long way towards making your knees feel healthier when squatting.

Also, peanuts mixed with raisins (or almonds with dried cranberries) is what I usually do for gaining weight. It's really calorie dense, and tastes pretty good. Just have a couple handfuls between each meal.