T Nation

Beginnings of a Powerlifter


I will start with a short BIO. My names Powers, I'm 27, and I recently moved to Lexington, Kentucky. I've worked out off and on for the last 10 years, mostly off.. I was in the Navy for 6 years where running and circuit training was forced upon me. October 2013 I ran a marathon @ 175lbs, currently I am 5'6 212lbs in the AM. I dabbled with Wendlers 5/3/1 for a while, being my only real knowledge into Powerlifting, and enjoyed it but decided I wanted to change it up a little and work on aesthetics as well.

Through the next few posts I will go through my routine, any information and critiques will be greatly appreciated, I don't pretend to have all the answers or even half of them. Also if I can get pointed in the direction of the best route to become a Personal Trainer I would be very appreciative, I am also going to school to be a Dietician.


My philosophy behind my lifting program is based off of different methods I’ve read about, or tried. I train Bench and Squats on one day, then Military Press and Deadlifts on another. One is done heavy and the other is done dynamic. I don’t have access to bands or chains so I focus on making the weights shake at the top and accelerating throughout the whole movement. This is followed with accessory work that correlates with the dynamic lift. It gives me a chance to do each of the four lift twice a week, and to workout every body part.


*Deadlift [5x3] Heavy
10, 225
5) W/U
[315x3, 335x3, 365x3, 385x3, 405x2 1]
I started low, I was using straps for the first time because my grip has been weak as of late. The 405x2 1 was because I dropped it after two and took a few seconds to reset myself.

**Military Press [5x5] Speed
10) W/U
[125x5, 125x5,125x5, 125x5, 125x5]

***DB Shoulder Press [5x10]
[70x10, 75x10, 80x10, 80x10, 80x10]

***DB Lateral Raises [4x12]
[25x12, 25x12, 30x12, 30x12]

***Upright Rows [5x10]
[95x10, 115x10, 115x10, 115x10, 115x10]


Forced to take so many days off due to an increase in work at the little clinic I work in…

*Squat [5x5] Heavy
10, 225
5) W/U
[275x5, 275x5, 285x5, 295x5, 305x5]

**Bench Press [5x5] Speed - Took 10 minutes to complete the five sets
[185x5, 185x5, 185x5, 185x5, 185x5]

***Incline DB Press [5x10]
[80x10, 90x10, 95x10, 100x10, 100x10] My gym only goes up to 100lb dumbbells

***Flat DB Flyes [4x12]
[50x12, 55x12, 55x12, 55x12]



Military Press [5x5] Heavy
10, 95
8, 135
[155x5, 165x5, 165x5, 175x5, 175x5]
I focused on keeping strict form, keeping my ass clenched and my core tight and upright, none of that standing bench press crap.

***Deadlift [5x5] Speed
[245x5, 245x5, 265x5, 265x5, 265x5]
I had originally planned on doing these on a box but changed my mind. Experienced NO lower back pain though.

***Bentover BB Row [5x10]
[135x10, 155x10, 175x10, 175x10, 175x10]
175 will be the weight I start with next time, I perform these with my back as perfectly horizontal possible, minor kipping on last 2-3.

***Pulldowns [4x12]
[140x12, 150x12, 150x11, 150x8+4]

***Cable Pullovers [5x10]
[110x10, 120x10, 130x10, 140x10, 140x10]
130 is where I will start with next. I’ve just always enjoyed this lift and keep throwing it in.



This was just a cardio day and some body weight stuff done for fun

***Hand Stand Push Ups 3x10 with a 20 second hold at the end of each set

***Pullups 3x5
My pullups are very weak, I gained weight so quickly that my body weight is difficult for me at times…

***BB Curls
I didn’t keep track of all I did, just went for a pump, did about 7 sets with 70lbs around 15 reps.

***Sled Pushes (60 Yards)
Did 5 sets, my girlfriend convinced me it was a good idea… they work lol



Bench Press [5x3]
20, 225
[275x3, 275x3, 285x3, 295x3, 295x5
My bench has been shaky on the first rep, but the rest feel just fine… Not 100% sure the reason behind that.

***Squat [5x5]
[205x5, 205x5, 215x5, 225x5, 235x5]
These felt very easy, tried my best to pause at parallel on each rep then explode out the bottom.

***Leg Press [5x8]
(8 plates x 8)W/U
[12 plates x8, 12 plates x 8, 12 plates x 8, 12 plates x 8, 12 plates x 8]
12 plates is all the machine can hold, they don’t have the attachment on the top to add more weight.

***Leg Extensions [5x12]
[190x12, 210x12, 220x12, 230x12, 230x12]
On the last 5 reps of each set, my girlfriend was providing extra resistance while I held it at the top.

***Back Extensions [4x10]
[(Body Weight x 10)x4]

We did abs in the end instead of doing cardio… My legs were still burning from the sled pushes the night before.


This should be in the training logs forum:


Oh I apologize man, I had seen a few in the PL section, and wanted people who lifted in this fashion to primarily be the ones commenting on it


Well you sure got the name for it



Deadlift [5x3] Heavy
10, 225
10, 315
[335x3, 355x3, 355x3, 375x3, 405x3]
I messed up and did the math in the gym, got my percentages wrong so my weights were light. Didn’t use straps and first time with chalk.

***Military Press [5x5] Speed
[135x5, 135x5, 135x5, 135x5, 135x5]
Felt very light and was able to get great acceleration through the move.

***DB Shoulder Press [5x10]
[80x10, 85x10, 85x10, 90x10, 90x10]
90’s for 10 reps was 10lbs heavier than my last set on my previous workout, felt very strong, must have been the tank top.

***Lateral Raises [4x12]
[25x12, 30x12, 30x12, 30x12]

***Upright Row BB [5x10]
[95x10, 115x10, 105x10, 105x10, 105x10]
Felt very heavy, I was too gassed from the DB Shoulder Press I think…

Any help on my routine would be greatly appreciated, always looking for advice.

Side note, getting my information together to start IIFYM and take an even more hands on approach to my diet.


[quote]Sheed3K wrote:
Well you sure got the name for it [/quote]

haha thank you, I thought it would be a good idea to put my name to good use.


[quote]rbpowers wrote:

Through the next few posts I will go through my routine, any information and critiques will be greatly appreciated, I don’t pretend to have all the answers or even half of them. Also if I can get pointed in the direction of the best route to become a Personal Trainer I would be very appreciative, I am also going to school to be a Dietician. [/quote]

I’ve been running 5/3/1 for six months now, and have recently switched diet regiments to focus more on aesthetics/recomping. Some of your lifts are similar to mine, or not extremely far off. I have a running log here too.

For diet, I am already getting noticeable results with a modified carb backloading plan. I work out at 3 PM, so I eat some carbs at breakfast so that there is energy for the afternoon life, have a meal focused on protein + fat + low GI veggies for lunch, and try to get the majority of the remaining carbs post-workout in the evening. This has also helped my sleep, and performance in the gym is not sluggish like it was when carbs were <10-20% of daily intake.

This is what I am doing: MON, TUE, WED - calories set at maintenance (200/200/90 - P/C/F); THUR, SAT and SUN - calories set at 500 below maintenance (200/100/78 - P/C/F); and FRI - calories set at 500 above maintenance (200/300/100 - P/C/F). It’s working for recomping, along with 5/3/1, and I am going to try the BBB 3-month challenge next week. I will likely be tweaking this a bit based on how I feel in the gym and how I progress from week to week, both in terms of strength, PRs and noticeable fat loss or stalls.

You have to be willing to meticulously track your food intake, and I am doing 2-3 mile walks 4-5 days/week too, with some sprinting thrown in for good measure at times. Since the weather has gotten colder, I am mostly sticking to treadmill work. I think you can tweak the carb and fat macros one way or another based on your own sensitivity, performance goals, etc - perhaps going to 40-50% of calories from carbs on workout days, and dialing back calories from fats accordingly.


Ok, so you’re trying to recomp right now, then? And you’re following IIFYM? What are your current macros?

Also, I’m a personal trainer. Pick a test and get certified…that’s it, mang. Proof has a good setup for trainers and the dude who hires them is a big meathead, so he’d appreciate a fellow meathead so long as you have personality. At an upscale gym like that they care more about your personality and appeal than your knowledge, so try and network around there.


[quote]HeavyTriple wrote:
Ok, so you’re trying to recomp right now, then? And you’re following IIFYM? What are your current macros?


I responded but I don’t think it posted… I only started thinking IIFYM because it seemed to me that everyone was going by it and it seems to work. My MACROS are Calories:2339 Carbs:205.8 Protein:212 Fat:74.2. I meet protein easily but carbs and fats I run short on. I’ve eaten the same diet for a while, just meat, rice, potatoes. I want to get rid of my body fat so when I start my bulk I can remain very trim.

As far as Personal Training I didn’t know who was best to go through, I will ask Dan who they prefer and go that route. Any help you can give me on my diet though would be greatly appreciated, I’m going to school to be a Dietician but that will be a while before I get it.


74 would be pretty high for me, but that’s me. Maybe try and hit 60 regularly and see how that does. Carb cycling is a good recomp strategy as well. So aim for 300 one day and 100 the next, timing the high days to lifting days. Same weekly macros but will give you a better change. Also, iifym is a great strategy, but The idea is to stop considering food bad and just fit them in as you like. I eat what would be considered pretty clean, but I don’t fret when I eat a pop tart instead of a pear on my way to the gym. Getting lean and eating so-so food will do a lot more for your body than eating “clean” and staying fat. I’ve been there and done that.


As high as 300 in a day?! Dang… that’s going to be rough haha but you’re in better shape than I am so I will take your word on it and follow it. I am currently doing cardio 3-4 times a week, nothing too intense, just 20 minutes of hiit, should I increase that?


Haha, with diet you need to be as good a scientist as possible. Monitor your weight closely, assess progress pictures critically, pay heed to how you feel when you change types of food, etc. consistency is by far the most important thing you can do for yourself.

I’d be doing at least 2 days of LISS for heart health if you’re concerned with general wellness. HIIT doesn’t provide the same benefit for the heart.



*Squat [5x3] Heavy
7, 225
5)W/U - I never feel like I need to warm up too much with legs
[325x3, 335x3, 355x3, 355x3, 365x3]
I had been staying away from heavier squats since I hurt my back doing Cold Weather Medicine in 2012 but 365 felt very light and the reps were easy.

**Bench [5x5] Speed
[185x5,185x5, 205x5, 205x5, 225x5]
Bench was light, focused on rattling the weights. One day I will be in a real gym where I have access to chains and bands.

***Incline BB [4x10]
[135x10, 185x10, 185x10, 185x10]
Had a HUGE decrease in energy and couldn’t go nearly as heavy as usual

***Cable Flyes [4x12]
[70x12, 70x12, 80x12, 90x10]



Military Press [5x3] Heavy
10, 90
10, 135
[175x3, 185x3, 185x3, 195x2, 185x3]
My left shoulder was bothering me from Squats… My flexibility isn’t quite where it should be

**Deadlift [5x5] Speed
[265x5,265x5, 265x5, 265x5, 265x5]

No accessory work done today, my body felt run down from working until 12:30am…