T Nation

Beginning Powerlifter Help


I am 19 years old, and currently a college student in the Northeast. I was introduced to a weight bench around the 6th grade, but have only been lifting seriously for about the past 4 years. Up until now I’ve basically done bodybuilding programs, pyramiding and the like, however in the gym the other day I met a guy who I followed through a powerlifting workout, and continued to do so for about a week after.

I absolutely loved the program, however I admit it was far too much for a beginner. Basically what i’m looking for is a beginners training program, ideally comprised of 4 lifting days a week (this makes the most sense due to my class schedule). I usually cardio 2 times a week, and eat pretty clean considering its mostly cafeteria food.

I am currently 6 feet tall, weigh 265, i guess about 20 percent body fat (give or take 5, i’ve never been able to use the caliper method). My max bench is currently 345, squat 375, and deadlift 350.

I appreciate any and all help I can get, and am open to any suggestions.


I would get the beginners training manual at elitefts.com. It lays out a 12 week training program for you to follow. For powerlifting the westside training methods are the best out there. I would also do a search for westside on this site and read all articles by Dave Tate. I hope this helps.


try the Beginner Training Manual from EliteFTS.com. it maps out your program completely for 12 weeks, 4 days a week. it tell you every rep and set to do. check it out.

I highly recommend the book “Starting Strength.” Seeing as you bench almost as much as you squat and deadlift this book will remind you what proper form on both these lifts is and introduce simple but effective programming.

I would find a seminar put on by Dave Tate or any of the Elite Fitness guys, because you’ll learn more about training and tech. then you could ever learn from a training course. Proper powerlifting technique is very tough without someone to teach you.


I would obtain all the articles Jim Wendler & Dave Tate writes. Look for “the eight keys” by Dave Tate.Also, look at the westside barbell website and just learn from the man himself LOUIE SIMMONS.

Yeah- that Dave Tate beginners template would probably work well for you. However, keep an open mind to other training prototcols. While I have never seen you squat or pull, my hunch is that at your size, you have more in you right now than a sub-400 squat and pull. I am guessing there are some technique issues you need to address in order to put your size to work.

However, a college rec center ain’t a place where you are likely to get much good technique advice. Chances are that you are already outlifting most guys there. So, I would try to find a hardcore gym where you can train with some more seasoned lifters. Even, if you can only make it out there a couple times a month, I think it would do you a lot of good.

Westside is good and that’s what I use, but a lot of those templates are just that…templates. Lots of people use them rigidly and end up not making any progress…because they don’t tailor it to their own weaknesses or needs. Are you a geared lifter? RAW lifter? That will dictate how you will train, as well. If you are RAW, throw in more shoulder work and add in full range movements for BP/SQ/DL ME days.

You still need to do your own research and figure out what works for YOU. Even the guys on Elitefts.com will tell you that. Check out the training logs on that site…they all train a little differently.

Like Wendler says: Lift heavy shit, put it down, eat, sleep. Repeat as necessary.

Good luck.

train with the guy who showed you the powerlifting routine.

Thanks for all the help guys. I’ve purchased the elitefts.com beginner manual and will soon be hammering out a program for myself. I also wanted to note that the reason my squat and deadlift totals aren’t that high is because I have been afraid to go too heavy in the past since I’ve never had someone truly show me how to perform the movements, I just know what i’ve read. so for fear of hurting myself I’ve never gone too high on those, however with bench i’ve had a few guys show me correct movements and body positioning and such. Also, I was wondering if you guys had any tips on how I can eat clean at college on a budjet. I’ve got a few ideas now, but i’m interested as to what others have done before–cafe food isn’t going to cut it I don’t think.

Thanks again for all the input guys.


Read all hundreds of articles at elite fitness for free. Also, there are some here as well.

Also the best thing would be if you are serious would be to find a powerlifting gym and train with powerlifters. My progess as a PLer didn’t really begin to take off until I starting training with people that were alot stronger than me.