T Nation

Making the Transition to Powerlifting


Hey everyone I am looking for advice for my training for this coming fall and winter. I have spent most of my time during the summer using a high volume bbing routine, and am going to switch come september to work on improving my strength. I have a little experience both with 5/3/1 and WS4SB and am confident I can make gains on either. I also recently just got the Westside barbell book of methods because of my interest in gaining as much strength as possible.

While skimming through the book I was interested when Louie talked about the DE method, saying something like some people are fast but not strong, but a fast person has the ability to get strong. I feel as though this is accurate to me, I have a 235 BP, 450 DL, and 385 Box Squat also I have an athletic background. Anyways, I was just wondering whether anyone had any recommendations for me or results or with 5/3/1, WS4SB, or any other type of powerlifting routine/split/template.


If you do Westside, I would focus on principles rather than details. Especially if you lift raw.


"but a fast person has the ability to get strong"

This is where I lose his (Louie's) chain of thought. Strength rules speed, not the other way round. If one gets faster, he is fulfilling more of his potential for speed at his current level of strength. If he gets stronger, he raises the ceiling of speed potential. Speed is rarely the limiting component in a powerlifter's performance. (?)
Still, the method obviously works, and Louie has a lot of knowledge on many aspects of strength training - definitely keep reading!
If WS4SB and 5/3/1 appeal to you, pick one and stick with it. Either should get good results.
Good luck, sorry for the half-rant.


It's all good it kinda confused me as well, would you recommend alternating the Dynamic Effort method with the repetition method every other week or something for WS4SB? Also I don't really have a way of doing board presses or using bands or chains, not sure if that will like slow down making progress.



      So I am not an expert by any means, but I have been lifting for many years. You said you have been doing a high volume bodybuilding routine..I don't know what the volume was but its probably a lot more than what any strength training program would call for. Anyway, I guess if I had any advice to give, it would be to resist the urge to do much. In strength training I've realized you have to find that sweet spot of volume...if you want continuous gains, mostly because your joints take a serious beating when it comes to the heavy low rep work involved.

I could go in on Monday and kill my chest with a huge volume of heavy reps and sure my muscles might be ready by next Monday but my joints will not. By no means am I saying be a wimp, just be mindful it's a different approach.

      The best thing I've discovered on the Internet (besides porn) is 5/3/1. I literally feel I've trained wrong until I found 5/3/1. West side barbell is great and all, I'm sure..but it didn't appeal to me personally. In my opinion anyone can get strong, fast or slow..obviously you are a "fast" person otherwise that statement wouldn't mean anything to you, and obviously it has some truth seeing your dead lift max...but a slow person can dead lift a lot too, so who knows...whatever.

5/3/1 to me is geared more to guy like me, who has zero time to be playing around in the gym..and I don't have 3 spotters at my disposal to perform super heavy sets of whatever with chains that are bigger than any chain Home Depot carries.

       Any who, now that I've realized I am bias to 5/3/1 and that apparently think I know it all, I will stop talking. Good luck.


DE work plays a big role in RFD and allowing the lifter to work on synchronizing the different muscle groups involved in the lift so that he will be able to lift more weight. the explanation that really stuck with me was that you cant lift a heavy weight slowly. Try it. DL 80+ percent of your max slowly and it will feel like crap. now rip that **** off the floor and it feels much easier. Another thing i remember seeing online was louie telling someone to jump onto a box in slow motion. they cant! you cant lift your body off of the ground and through the air slowly. You have to develop a greater RFD to accelerate yourself off of the ground.

Hope that helps!


To be honest, I've never lifted or seen anyone lift a near-maximal weight quickly. Even Benni Magnusson's pull takes a lot more time than any speed work and squats/bench take longer still.

I agree with Tiger_Fan that max lifting every week (especially with a reduced ROM) with the Conjugate method can be tough on the joints, especially, I'm sure, for older lifters - but high frequency training is great if cycled properly (Sheiko for example).

OP, just train consistently with any reasonable program and try to find what works for you. If strength hasn't been your focus before, progress should come quite quickly.


If you still want to do a lot of rep work, give the Juggernaut Method a try.



This is pretty much the name of the game, right here.


Fair play that's quite fast (though the elbow wraps might affect this) but I don't feel that such speed is necessary. He chooses to bench that way, but I'm not sure it makes him any better than those who bench more slowly.


Thanks for the reply! If you don't mind, how much have your lifts gone up since you've been running 5/3/1? And how long have you been running it?


Thanks! Will definitely consider!


Have to disagree. When you max out on any lift, are you attempting to lift it slow or as fast as possible? Even if it is moving slow, I am sure it is not deliberate, you are trying to get that weight up as fast as you can. Look at Brian Siders max lifts, he smokes them and says if it doesn't go up fast like that, it doesn't go up at all.

Force equals mass times acceleration. The more acceleration you can apply to that bar, with the weight being constant throughout the lift, the more force generated and hence weight you are pushing. I notice it a great deal when watching high level lifters, they either smoke it, or it doesn't go up.

Edit: What Louie is talking about some people being fast but not strong, but being able to make fast people strong, is that if you teach people to be quicker and quicker with a constant weight (sub maximal in the DE method) then you are increasing their acceleration, which increases force production, which increases max lifts.


While I'm sure there is carryover, remember that higher force production does not equal greater weight lifted; plyometrics such as depth jumps from height produce massive amounts of force, but that does not mean that an equal force could be applied to a squat bar or even leg press and the lift completed - a stretch/reflex produces more force every time. It is the same with speed or DE work - the level of acceleration means there is a higher level of force production than during a maximal lift... but that is just it: we are interested in maximal lifting, and as force production is clearly not the limiting factor here, we need to look elsewhere to maximise strength gains.
(Not saying that DE and plyometrics are not useful at times, but they are not vital to a program and are unlikely to yield massive gains)


I do not believe with any of my logicality that benching 245lbs really fast will help me bench 405lbs, I do believe that benching 405lbs really fast will help me bench 405lbs, and if i can bench 405lbs really fast than im sure i could bench more untill i cant bench fast anymore.

This was the best way I could write what I think about the BP fast vs slow debate.

I do think DE will however allow me to work the BP more often, and thats about it.


Well, it is a formula, by changing the mass lifted, you are affecting the acceleration, but not necessarily the force that is produced. Just altering the variables. Force can be the same it just matters upon the amount of mass and the acceleration applied to it.


This all sounds like a very complicated way to lift heavy shit.




Maybe, but all in all we are just producing an acceleration to a mass we are trying to lift which we hope produces enough force throughout the entire range of motion to lift it to a point of completion by a judge (or three.) :slightly_smiling:


I just want to add, that after a certain point, does anything you do at all yield massive gains? Every little bit counts.