Simple Powerlifting?

Hope you can help me, i train at home in a low ceiling cellar with squat stands, bench and a platform with a bar and weights (db handles too)

I’m wanting to move into powerlifting after a long stint in bodybuilding which led to alot of cranky joints from overuse which means overhead work is out and heavy direct tricep isolation work (ulnar nerve issue) so I wanted to dip my toe into powerlifting.

Just abit of background, I train abbreviated, so I tend to focus on the meat and potatoes, so adding in auxiliary lifts with the basics is new territory for me which is why I’m asking if they are good for the lifts in question?

Or would focusing on the 3 lifts only, kinda like a one lift a day routine but for the big 3 lifts be alot better for someone new to PL?

Me thoughts:

Pushing powerlifting training can cause u some niggles throughout the body so in principle I’d err on the side on conservative to start and increase from there if things feel good/sustainable.

Meat and potatoes is good. Usually every movement in a powerlifting program has a purpose and when u work hard enough (but not too hard) on it u get benefits. Sometimes that means pushing the non competition lifts, “accessories”, as hard as the comp lifts e.g. train leg press hard = bigger legs = potential for bigger squat over time.

Given your bodybuilding background where you would’ve accumulated plenty of work and muscle already, one of the main points of auxillary work, so I’d emphasise the comp lifts if I was you. That being said some strategic bang for buck accessory work would be beneficial.

Training frequency (how many times per week you do each lift) is highly individual and context based.

For example many lifters bench press 2-5 times a week because it is usually a movement u can recover from quickly (relative to heavy squats and deadlifts).

High frequency can give u faster gains: more opportunity to practice technique and more exposures to a strength stimulus. Can also make it much easier to overtrain/overreach

1x per week for each lift will be sufficient to progress if you are relatively new to powerlifting. You can always increase frequency next program if you find u are recovering well. If you are worried about developing or flaring up niggles/injuries I’d err on the side of once a week (maybe twice a week for bench training)

For the program summary you have up… I’m not a big fan overall. It might not have sufficient volume in the comp lifts to continue to progress long term and the intensity (% 1RM) is pretty high on average. I’d rather see a conservative single (85-90% depending on how you feel on the way day) followed by moderate rep work to build a base of strength e.g.

Work up to 1x1 with some in the tank ~ 85-90% (on days u are fatigued it’ll be closer to 85%)

2-4 sets of 3-6 reps ~60-80% (again it depends) with a few reps in the tank (so not easy but failing or hitting super grinder reps).

Lemme know if any questions. In the end you can’t go wrong with consistently applying effort and working hard (but not too hard lol).


I dont think many people can do singles with over 90% for a long time and not get destroyed.
I am also a noob at strenght training but when i was doing heavy shit, i got burried. And people on here also said that most good lifters train with lower intensity 90% of the time.
I think you should go over 85% maybe once in a few months. But thats me.

Also, you seem to have lots of quad work(front sq, leg extension) and very little hamstring work. Powerlifters rarely train quads and quad weakness is super rare. Posterior chain is what has to be train the most, for everyone.

Also - rack pull is very specific. Unless you know your cant pull from that point, why focus on such specifics if that might even not be what you need. Maybe your problem could be pull from the ground, in which case deficit deadlift or paused deadlift is what you need.

I am a Wendler fanboy, but i think you could just do 531 percentages and add FSL protocol for your main lifts. It would have enough intensity and also enough volume for all the main lifts(you can skip the overheadpress day).

I can tell my routine is rubbish haha, what would you recommend based on my circumstances?

Moreover, training in that range all the time just isn’t optimal for progress even if your body can withstand it. Over past few decades evidence has accumulated that 70% to about 85% is the optimal range for getting stronger, most of the time, for most people. Most Olympic-style lifting is done in this range, and most powerlifters who are high-intermediate seem to be using these sorts of poundages most of the year in order to keep making incremental gains. It seems like most D1 football programs spend most of their time in this range as well, which is telling, since they place a premium on avoiding weightroom injuries.


Although it isn’t strictly a powerlifting program, 531 has an excellent track record of getting people stronger at the big lifts with minimal pain/injury. Beyond 531 is arguably the most useful book, and isn’t expensive at all (< $20 IIRC). It has lots of different templates/layouts to suit your needs.

Given your low ceiling and goals, you may choose to swap overhead press with close-grip bench press, floor press, or incline press

Squat, bench. deadlift once a week. Have a 4th day for bench assistance movement like board work (stronger triceps=stronger bench).

An easy program I came up with for others starting out that puts in work and you don’t need to think about percentage every set.

Week 1 (5 reps) - warmup. Begin worksets at 50%. Depending on your strength level make smart jumps. Use smaller jumps if you’re weak or want a lot of volume. Bigger jumps if you want more of a strength day or have a higher strength level. Week 1 you start at 50% of your max and do 5 reps. Move up in weight and do another 5. Keep moving up until the next jump in weight you are confident you won’t get 5. STOP THERE!

Week 2 (3 reps) Same progression rules apply.

Week 3 (2 reps) Same as above.

Here’s a sample of Week 1: 300lb bencher
155/175/185/205/225/245x5. Let’s say 265x5 is asking too much. No problem. Save that weight for week 2 or 3 as you progress up.

I typically just use 45/25/10lb plates just to keep it simple. If you wanna break a rep PR, put on the 2.5s and break it.

At the end of 3 weeks, repeat 2 more times. That will give you an opportunity at week 10 to test yourself with a single in each lift.

I would recommend any bodybuilding stuff be kept isolation movements and kept fairly light and lower volume. The volume of this training will be plenty!

Don’t do this forever. But it works a very long time and works very well!

Always stop at a jump in weight you don’t think you’ll get. The goal is completing the rep requirement per set. The following weeks will allow you to lift the weight you couldn’t get the previous week.

Good luck crazy simple and HIGHLY effective. Stick to it and you’ll be rewarded.