Just about anyone who hits the gym has the same goals — build muscle, increase strength, look good. Each of these are admirable goals, and can all be attained. The problem lies in the approach people take when trying to build muscle and strength. They’re training is all over the place. By that, we mean people embrace on their fitness journey with the noblest of intentions, but they tend to get lost in all the noise surrounding their training.

You’ve probably experienced it yourself. You hit the ground hard and fast your first week or two in the gym and see some decent results, but then you notice one of your friends doing this “awesome” new program that they swear will give you better gains faster — something we all want from training.

Inevitably, you abandon your current program for the new one, and this same cycle repeats itself ad nauseum leaving you frustrated, confused, and no bigger or stronger than when you started training all those weeks ago.

Well, brush all that nonsense aside, as we’ve got just what you need to get on track (and stay there). We’ve crafted the ultimate 12-week program to get you big AND strong with a complete powerbuilding training program.

What is Powerbuilding?

Powerbuilding is the combination of powerlifting (strength training) and muscle building (hypertrophy training). While muscle and strength are often lumped together in the same discussion, they’re actually two very different beasts.

When focusing on pure strength, your aim is to lift your own personal absolute maximum weight for one rep. When muscle building is the goal, you’re focused on increased the size of your muscles, not necessarily how much weight you lift.

The typical approach to training is to focus purely on one of these attributes for a prolonged period of time (i.e. many, many months). However, why not get the best of both worlds and train for both strength and size, hence powerbuilding. The following 12-week powerbuilding cycle is broken into 3 “mini-blocks” to guide you on your journey towards successfully increasing muscle size and strength.

Each 4-week training block will focus primarily on either building strength or size. We’ve taken all the guesswork out of your programming, so all that you have to do is show up to the gym and push yourself each and every time you’re in there. There are no excuses anymore for lackluster results. We’ve given you the plan, you just need to put in the work!

Powerbuilding Tips

Progression is Key

Muscles only grow when they’re challenged. In other words, if you want to get bigger and stronger, you’re going to have to challenge your muscles by either lifting heavier weight or performing more reps. This is known as progressive overload, and it’s the key to ensuring the next 12 weeks are a success.

If you select a weight for an exercise and are to complete all reps with the given weight for the prescribed number of sets, the next time you perform that exercise, UP THE WEIGHT. Then, stay with that selected weight until you can complete all the reps for all the sets. Again, when this happens, it’s time to up the weight yet again. Doing so provides a new stimulus for your muscles and CNS, requiring them to adapt, and leading to greater strength, power, and performance.

EAT!

BPI Food PrepTo get bigger and stronger, you’re going to have to eat and eat a fairly sizeable amount. No one ever got bigger by running some calorie-cutting diet. To put on size and increase your strength, you’re going to have to eat MORE than you currently are, and for some of you A LOT more.

These next 12 weeks are not the time to embrace some crazy fad diet that has you consuming the same calorie amount as a 10-year-old schoolgirl. If you are looking to lose weight, check out one of our numerous cutting plans here. Then, when you are ready to get big and strong, this plan will be right here waiting for you.

If you’re not sure how much to eat, consult our easy-to-use TDEE calculator to figure out how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis to maintain your weight. Then, add 250-300 calories to that number, and that’s how much you should be eating (at a minimum) every day during these next 12 weeks.

Proper nutrition is essential to performance, growth, and recovery. All the training in the world won’t make a lick of difference if you’re not providing your body the vital nutrients it needs to repair, perform, and grow.

Track Everything

This applies to diet, training, and even your sleep.

Tracking your daily food intake tells you whether or not you’re eating enough (or too much) and whether or not you need to continue eating after you feel full or pass on that second helping of potatoes.

Tracking your training is paramount to progressing on your lifts. If you don’t record the weight used, repetitions completed, or rest intervals, you have no idea if you’re truly pushing yourself in the gym. This is reason #1 people fail in their training — they don’t track their sets, reps, and weights used. Recording your workouts will let you know when it’s time to increase the weight or reps and how long you should be resting between each set/exercise.

As silly as it seems, it’s important to track your sleep habits too. If you’re constantly walking around sore, lethargy, and grumpy, it’s probably due to those late-nighters you keep pulling. Make a concerted effort to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night and watch your recovery (and growth!) skyrocket to new heights.

Powerbuilding Training

The program will be broken down into three four week blocks, consisting of:

  • Weeks 1-4: Strength
  • Weeks 5-8: Hypertrophy
  • Weeks 9-12: Strength

This cycle can be repeated several times for constantly improving your performance and physique. Gains made in the previous phase will enhance your performance in subsequent phases enabling you to make gains continuously throughout the year.

Get ready, because here it comes!

Weeks 1-4: Strength Focused

Monday – Legs

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Low Bar Back Squat

6

4

3-5 min

Leg Press

4

6

2-3 min

Lunges

3

8-10

1 min

 

Wednesday – Push

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Flat Barbell Bench Press

6

4

3-5 min

Incline Dumbbell Press

4

6

2-3 min

Seated Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1 min

 

Friday – Pull

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Deadlift

3

3

3-5 min

Weighted Pull Ups

6

4

3-5 min

Barbell Rows

4

6

2-3 min

Seated Cable Rows

3

8-10

1 min

Weeks 5-8: Hypertrophy Focused

Monday – Chest & Triceps

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Flat Bench Press

4

6-8

90-120 sec

Incline Dumbbell Press

4

8-10

60-90 sec

Cable Crossover

4

12-15

60 sec

Cable Pushdowns

4

8-10

60 sec

EZ Bar Skullcrushers

 4

10-12

60 sec

 

Tuesday – Legs

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Barbell Back Squat

4

6-8

90-120 sec

Hack Squat

4

8-10

60-90 sec

Leg Curls

4

10-12

60 sec

Leg Extensions

4

10-12

60 sec

Seated Calf Raises

 4

12-15

60 sec

 

Thursday – Back & Biceps

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Weighted Chin Ups

4

6-8

90-120 sec

Dumbbell Rows

4

8-10

60-90 sec

Lat Pulldowns

4

10-12

60 sec

Seated Cable Rows

4

10-12

60 sec

Rope Hammer Curls

 4

8-10

60 sec

EZ Bar Curls

 4

10-12

60 sec

 

Saturday – Shoulders

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Military Press

4

6-8

90-120 sec

Seated Arnold Press

4

8-10

60-90 sec

Cable Side Laterals

4

10-12

0

Cable Rear Delt Raises

4

10-12

60 sec

Face Pulls

 4

12-15

60 sec

Weeks 9-12: Strength Focused

Monday – Lower Body A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Squat

5

3-5

3-5 min

Trap Bar Deadlift

3

6-8

2-3 min

Bulgarian Split Squat

4

6

2-3 min

Stiff Leg Deadlift

3

6-8

2 min

 

Tuesday – Upper Body A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Flat Bench Press

4

3-5

3-5 min

Barbell Row

4

5

2-3 min

Dumbbell Incline Bench

3

6-8

2-3 min

Weighted Pull Up

3

6-8

2 min

Military Press

3

6-8

2 min

 

Thursday – Lower Body B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Deadlift

3

3-5

3-5 min

Front Squat

4

6-8

2-3 min

Reverse Lunges

4

8

1-2 min

Hip Thrusts

4

6-8

2 min

 

Friday – Upper Body B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Dumbbell Flat Bench Press

4

6

3 min

Dumbbell Row

4

6

2-3 min

Floor Press

3

6-8

2-3 min

Weighted Chin Up

3

6-8

2 min

Seated Dumbbell Press

4

8-10

1-2 min

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