T Nation

Powerlifting Program for Denser Muscle?


Wow. I’m satisfied with my size, but I’m an inch taller and weigh 100lbs more than you. And no, I’m not on anything more than creatine.

There is no point training like a powerlifter if you aren’t trying to become a powerlifter. If you just want to be big and muscular then most of your training should be higher reps (like 8-15). You can spend a month of two working with heavier weights and less volume to get stronger and prevent hitting a plateau on the high rep work, but doing 5x5 as the base of your training is not going to get you the results you want.


They have more sarcoplasmic fluid in the cell. Thats why many bodybuilders will lift less weight then Olympic lifters or powerlifters. When you train with heavier weight and less reps you will achieve more myofibrillar hypertrophy.


I am aware people say that.

Nevertheless I’m going to call mostly bullshit on that.


No, that is NOT why bodybuilders will lift less weight than those two groups of lifters. Assuming we’re talking about bodybuilders compared to weightlifters or powerlifters or the lifts of those sports, it’s insane to expect anything else. Of course the groups of lifters who specialized on 2 or 3 lifts are going to lift more than lifters who employ a variety of lifts in their training, because that is the point of their training. AND, more specifically, when we say “lift more”, we mean purely in the 1 rep range, because, again, that is what they specialize in. It’s a very unique skill to maximize weight moved for 1 rep in 2-3 lifts, and the folks who dedicate their training to that goal will of course be better than those who don’t.

But compare the classic Tom Platz vs Fred Hatfield squat competition, where Hatfield killed the 1 rep squat and Platz won the 500lb squat for reps portion and the lines blur. Platz was better at repetition squats because, again, that’s what HE spent more time doing.

This isn’t about myofibular cells vs sarcoplasm. Take a step back and look at the big picture.


I guess I want the muscularity that comes from powerlifting instead of bodybuilding cause I’m not trying to look that big, mostly a harder look with lower bodyfat. Strength is also much more important to me than looks which is why I am not trying to gain too much weight. Of course I don’t know how much weight I need to put on to get to what I want to look like cause I am still not that close. Also sorry for my poor description of what my goals are, I don’t think I should’ve said satisfied cause that is throwing people off as if i meant I am done getting bigger. I meant that I want to focus more on powerlifting now than bodybuilding.


How can you muscles tell when you’re powerlifting vs when you’re bodybuilding?

Leading up to my first powerlifting meet, I was running DoggCrapp. In that meet, I set my highest bench press ever. I could not match it for 2 other meets.

Was I powerlifting, or was I bodybuilding, prior to that meet?


That sounds like a good point but I doesn’t training with higher vs lower rep ranges affect how your muscles adapt/grow? I am not too sure that’s why I posted on this forum cause I very briefly read up on myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. I posted this with the idea that training in lower rep ranges will increase the myofibrillar hypertrophy (density) but I still want to get bigger to achieve a certain look and thus I wanted to know if there was a program that emphasized strength over volume cause I’ve never actually followed a program before. But if you’re trying to tell me that powerlifting vs bodybuilding doesn’t really make much of a difference in muscularity/physique then I might just go on a powerlifting program.


Watch your diet more than anything, that will influence body fat more than any training.

You’re not going to get very strong at your size.

If you told me that from the beginning then my first suggestion would be to gain weight. At your height a good weight for powerlifting is 200lbs at least.


I thought powerlifting just made you fat and angry while developing a taste for horrific music?


Are you of the belief that higher vs lower rep ranges is the difference between bodybuilding and powerlifting?

Your muscles can do 3 things. They can get bigger (hypertrophy), they can get smaller (atrophy), or they can remain the same size. Powerlifters (good ones at least) will use a variety of rep ranges in their training, and will undergo phases of training where hypertrophy is the goal (accumulation) and where ability to move maximal weight for a single rep is the goal (intensification/peaking). Bodybuilders won’t spend a great deal of time focusing on single rep maxes, but even still, they will use a variety of rep ranges in their training too.

The whole “powerlifters only doing 1-3 reps” thing is a meme.


Yeah… I think we have westside and Max effort to thank for that.


The only difference in training low reps is that you get better at low reps. Which is kinda the goal in powerlifting isn’t it?

It’s a matter of specificity more than anything else. If powerlifting meets had their competitors test their 12rm instead of 1rm, would you still believe powerlifting training makes your muscles denser?


Funny enough, if you actually LOOK at Westside training, 80-90% of it is in higher rep ranges. But people latch on the ME stuff like you noted and think that’s ALL of the program.


whoops I came across wrong and you are correct… People overlook at the other rep ranges they use at Westside for the rep method they use on assistance stuff


Louie STILL talks about the time he did 8x8 dumbbell Tricep Extensions back in '94.

Also he uses tons of machines.



From what I know Doug Young used a varied of rep ranges in his training.

I think allot of inexperienced people dont know the concept of peaking for a meet were emphases is place more on the lower rep ranges.
which I think has caused this myth of Powerlifters only doing low rep work exclusively.


While we’re posting photos of awesome powerlifters that used a variety of rep ranges, how about Kaz?


Especially mindblowing because, wait, CURLS? For a powerlifter?!

But yeah, going over his training, rep ranges were all over! And they were strong all over as well.


No pics of guys who strongly rep 1 rep range and small exercise selection?


Goddamnit, as a former trumpet player I can safely say that even Ripptoe’s form on trumpet is bizarre.

Must he keep his head down and eyes on the floor in EVERY activity? Play ABOVE the music stand!


yeah Kaz is also another one !!