T Nation

Powerlook vs. 915


Hey there,

I could use some help chosing my next program to follow.

My goals are:

  • gaining lean muscle mass (without putting on fat)
  • getting stronger with the big lifts (back squat, deadlifts, bench press, and maybe also overhead press), particularly increasing 1 RM
  • looking better naked.

I've been running some variations of 5/3/1 for the last two years, but I feel that it might be time to try something different.

Your powerlook program and your 915 program caught my eye. So here are some questions:

  • which program would be better for my goals?
  • Can the powerlook program be done with back squats instead of front squats, because that's what I want to improve?
  • can these programs be combined with, say, your 5/2 diet?

To be honest, the powerlook program looks even more attractive to me, so I'm primarily looking for a way to make that work for my goals, if that's possible.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Thanks a lot in advance and greetings from Germany.


Do the Power look sets/reps progression with the 4 lifts you want to improve. really it's just a progression model you can fit in any exercise you want to improve BUT you will have to figure out which assistance exercises to use to work on your individual weaknesses in the lift you select.


Hey CT,

Thanks for your quick response. I was thinking about the following assistance exercises for the back squat:

Phase 1:
Paused back squat
Split squat (or maybe front squat)

Phase 2:
1 and 1/4 back squat
1/2 back squat

Phase 3 (here things get tricky):
Maybe again 1/2 back squat?

Do you have any comments or recommendations on this?


How can I make recommendations about assistance exercises designed to solve your weaknesses (for the first 2 phases) or emphasize your strengths (phase 3) if I have no idea what your weakness and strengths are and who your lifting looks like?


I understand!

So, here is one video I took a couple of weeks ago with about 95%. (I know it's not very deep; I didn't dare because I had no safety bars that day.)

My 1 RM are:

Squat: 135 kg
Deadlist 175 kg
Bench 108 kg
Push Press has never been tested before; I've only been doing the strict OHP, where my 1 RM is about 70 kg

My current body wheight is about 74 kg.

Does this enable you to give me a recommended assistance for the back squat in phase 3?

Thanks a lot in advance! I look forward to trying this program.


you do not overestimate your 1RM @ ???

on the video is difficult to 95% on your half squat.


Dude I can't tell ANYTHING from that squat. It's not even a half squat. Can't tell where is your sticking/weak point since you are only doing one part of the movement... to me this is actually just a squat lockout, not even a half squat. This looks like an overload exercise I would use for someone who is weak in the core or has trouble handling heavy weights.

If you want me to critique your squat, do a full one so that I'll have the opportunity to see every phase of the lift.

And don't give me the no safety pin excuse. I never used safety pins in my life for squats. You train using bumper plates and on a platform, learn to drop the weight if you get stuck in the bottom OR SIMPLY FILM A LIGHTER SQUAT WITH FULL RANGE OF MOTION. I don't need to see you max weights, I need to see your full range of motion to analyze what your technique looks like.

What can I do with a partial range of motion? Imagine what the rest of the squat would look like?


Thank you both for your comments! And sorry for the bad video; didn't have any other. I will shoot a new one with full ROM (which is in my case about parallel or slightly below... )


To me parallel is a half squat, unless you have a severe mobility issue. Leave your ego at the door.


Hey Coach,

What would you recommend to someone who has a but wink once he goes past parallel?

For me, this usually causes lower back pain regardless of the weight.



I'm not doing a perfect squat since I have my heel raising a bit when I'm ATG but lower back stays neutral/0 butt wink... Gotta work on mobility. Plain boring but true, stretch your whole posterior chain and hips so that you could basically sit between your knees like a gorilla

Or touch your heels with your fingers. Or do an overhead squat ATG with a neutral spine while holding your hands (also works shoulder mobility very well). Or do pancake good mornings.

Maintain for a few minutes, vary stances, work hard, you'll get there. You'll be tight as hell at first if you're used to sitting on a chair for the most part of the day


Hey Coach,

sorry for my delayed response. Had to wait until there was a chance to make new videos.

I hope these ones are deep enough to make some judgment. With my current mobility, I cannot really go deeper, although I am doing the Agile 8 before every workout, do foam rolls, etc.

So here is number 1.


I hope the upload in my previous post worked.

Here is number 2. Little bit heavier.


Not sure if uploading number 2 worked... here is number 3, with short pause at the bottom.


Could be deeper but many of the reps aren't too bad. If it's a mobility issue, fix it. I think that you should focus on front squat variations was your main assistance exercises.

Zombie squat (front squat without holding the bar, arms extended in front like Frankenstein)
Bulgarian split squat

Front squat
1/2 front squat (90 degrees)

Zercher squat


Thanks alot, that's great advice! Never tried some of those before.

Also, I'm constantly working on my mobility. It used to be even worse.