T Nation

Powerlifter Looking for a Bodybuilding Program


Basically this year my goal is to focus on building mass , especially in my arms. My chest , shoulders, and traps overpower my arms very badly. My biceps in particular are a huge weak point. I have very short inserts, there's nothing I can do about that. Anyways, my numbers right now are 435 DL, 225 Bench, 355 Squat at 5'4 135lbs 12% bf.

If you could recommend a program for an intermediate/advanced lifter for mass with emphasis on arms that would be much appreciated. I've been looking online and can't really find anything that's not a bodybuilding dot com article or something... Any suggestions would be great, feel free to message me also.




Edit: New routines on page 7, 17, 21

The amount of ridulous "critique my routine" threads is getting silly. Usually how it goes is I open up one of those threads, read it, smack my palm against my forehead and then sign off. I figure a thread with some good well designed preset BB routines should help a lot of these misguided individuals. I'll start with 1 routine for now and add to it as I see fit (diff frequencies/splits/etc) if people like it.

*All exercises are ramped
*Numbers at end in parentheses are how many sets to failure to do on that exercise
*Rest 90-120 secs between sets, 2-3 mins if you did a set to failure on a compound movement and are about to do another set to failure on the same movement
*Should be able to finish these workouts in an hour or less

5 day split, 1x a week frequency

Monday- Chest/Calves

Incline Dumbbell Press - 4x 6-10 (2)
Flat Barbell Press - 3x 6-10 (1)
Decline Dumbbell press - 3x 6-10 (2)
Standing calf raises - 4x 8-10 (2) (1-2 mins rest for calves)
Seated calf raises - 3x 8-10 (2)
Leg press Calf raises - 3 x 12-15 (2)

Tuesday- Back

Pull ups - 50 or as many as you can do in 10 minutes
Barbell Rows - (torso at 45ish degree angle) 4x 8-10 (1)
Close neutral grip pulldowns - 3x 8-10 (2) (really like 3 sec negatives on these)
Seated straight bar rows - 3x 8-10 (2)

Wednesday- Legs (2-3 second negatives recommended on all exercises)

Lying leg curls - 4x 6-8 (2)
RDL's - 4x 8-10 (1)
Leg press - 4x8-10 (I like doing these before squats to help loosen up the hips) (2)
Squats or Front squats - 3x 8-10 (1)
Hack Squats (close stance) - 3x 8-10 (2)

Thursday- Arms/Abs Supersets for arms

Pinwheel Curls - 4x 6-10 (1)
Decline Elbows flared CGBP - 4x 6-10 (1)

Preacher curls on vertical side (spider curls) - 3x 8-10 (2)
Lying Behind the head extensions - 3x 8-10 (2)

Alternating Dumbbell curls - 3x 8-10 (2)
French Presses - 3x 8-10 (2)

Cable rope crunches - 3x 12-15 (2) (1-2 mins rest for abs)
Weighted Leg Raises - 3x 12-15 (2)

Friday - Shoulders/Traps

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press - 4x 6-10 (2)
Cable lateral raises - 3x 8-12 (2)
Seated Dumbbell lateral raises - 3x 8-12 (2)
Incline Bench Rear delt raises - 3x 12-15 (2)
Standing cable X's - 3x 20-30 (3)
Shrugs - 4x 8-10 (2)

Sample workout for those not familiar with how ramping works. I'll use chest/calves:
* (f) indicates failure

Inc Dumb - Warmup (20x25's x2, 10x40's, 8x55's) 10x70's, 10x80's, 9x90's(f), 6x100's(f)
Flat Bar - 10x185, 10x205, 8x225(f)
Dec Dumb - 10x85's, 8x90's(f), 6x95's(f)
Standing - warmup (20x50 x2, 15x100) 10x150, 10x180, 10x210(f), 9x220(f)
Seated - 10x90, 10x135(f), 8x145(f)
LP calf - 15x270, 13x360(f), 12x400(f)

Edit: Eat a lot of freaking protein.


Why not look here? Hell, Kroc had an article not to long ago about your problem.

All you have to do is click on the "Articles" tab and voila.....


How have you been training and what kind of arm work are you doing now? Also, what timeframe are you working with and how much size are you looking to add?

If you've been training primarily for powerlifting, then I'd plan on having one day where you just train arms (bis and tris). You could also consider doing "some" bi work on back day and "some" tri work on chest day in addition to the separate arm day, but that's a detail to be sorted out when you figure your routine.

The rest of your plan would be split up pretty much however, but if remember the key is still to add total body muscle, so I'd split the body up over 3 or 4 other sessions (legs, chest, back, shoulders or legs, chest-shoulders, back).

There are tons of arm routines and bodybuilding programs on the site here, and almost any one should be fine. Matt Kroc, Dave Tate, and a few other powerlifters spent time "undoing" bodypart discrepancies from years of powerlifting, so you're in fine company.


I do an upper lower split as of now, I'm on a progressive overload program so all my numbers are predetermined. Usually after my upper body workout I'd spend extra time on Bi's doing 2-4 exercises of 3-4 sets on each. The reason I'm asking for a program is because if I don't have one I just end up doing random shit lol. But I was thinking I'd just take a bodybuilding program and use the splits, but keep my leg days separate and combine deadlifts to the back days. These next 6-8 months I'm looking to focus on just adding quality mass to my upper body, mainly arms because like i said, my torso and legs overpower my arms.. My triceps are in proportion with my body but my biceps make my arms look much smaller. But thanks for the tips, I'll look into those programs.


That's kind of a lot of work for bis on an upper/lower split, especially if you're doing upper day twice a week. So I'd definitely consider switching to a "bodybuilding"-type plan that gives arms a focus of their own.

That's a solid general plan, no prob.

Gotcha. Just don't forget to focus on increasing muscular bodyweight (with increased daily calories). If you body doesn't grow, your arms won't.

A few things to check out:
^ Henriques is a powerlifting coach who competes in the strict curl, so he knows a thing or two about training arms.

If there's a legit imbalance, that's one thing. But you do generally want to watch increasing the work on one side of a joint without making sure you don't flip the discrepancy in the other direction. So for elbow health at the very least, consider adjusting (not necessarily increasing) your tri work.

Also, there's a few schools of thought that like the idea of working bis/tris together to maximize the pump and any associated growth benefits.