Where to Go From Here?

Hey guys.

I am 23 years old, and I weigh 185 lbs. My current best lifts are as follows:
Bench - 275 lbs
Squat - 425 lbs
Deadlift - 500 lbs

I was on a custom program made by the gym owner, but I unfortunately have to change gyms. I’m looking for a new program to run that will be best for my experience level and strength. As for future goals, I’m going to go on a bulk for the next 2 - 3 months. I want to get up around 195 lbs. After that, I would like to do a 3 or 4 month cut and get down to 181 and hopefully do my first powerlifting meet. Do you guys have any opinions on what program I should run for the next 6-7 months to reach my goals listed above? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The bulk/cut shit is stupid. Eat to recover and let your body grow slowly. If you’re like 5’2 and fat now then maybe that changes things a little.

As for programming, the most important thing by far is knowing what kind of training is psychologically appealing to you, and choosing or coming up with something that fits your personality. Successful training approaches run the gamut in terms of volume/intensity/frequency/variation.

Only specific advice I’d offer would be to avoid jumping into something ultra-specific/ultra-high frequency at this point, because while that kind of approach can yield significant short-term gains, my opinion is that training that way too early limits your long-term potential.

Don’t cut weight.

Get stronger.

Programming - move the weight you can move each session. Never go to failure. Sets/reps just don’t matter. Lift something heavy. Put in consistent work and challenge yourself from time to time in order to get stronger. There’s no magic program.

If you need a program, follow one you believe in. That’s the one you will do.

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Either of these are good for those strength levels…

This stuff is not rocket science. Squat twice a week (one heavy day, the other based on feel), Deadlift once a week (H), Bench twice a week. How you juggle the days is up to you and your recovery rate. Nothing ties you to a 7 day week. Keep reps from 3-8, sets 3-5. Perfect your technique. Limit assistance work to 2-3 movements based on what you suck at. Finally follow a Coan rule: NEVER max in the gym, NEVER train to failure in the gym, ALWAYS leave 1-2 reps in the bank at the end of a set. Be consistent - consistent hard work on a program you believe in will get you far.