Originally Posted by BendtheBar
I'm not sure if powerlifting followed the path of bodybuilding, not how much of it has to do with drug use.
I believe they both followed the drug path together. Training for either BB or PL doesn't have to be massively different in the off-season. Think of the "Original Arnold" routine for mass, the Park routines or for a PL example Hepburns constant weight routines, they all had these fundamental principles:
1) Stay injury free, which really is the big one. The longer you're in the game productively the more you'll lift.
2) Get stronger in the bigger exercises for reps.
Power guys like Doug Young would of course do low(er) reps with the bulk of their work in the power exercises. Physique guys would usually (not always) work with high(er) reps and would not neccessarily stick to the power exercises, Ross's Incline DB. Press comes to mind.
The marked differences are only in-season/pre-competition. Where one will specialise in strength or physique goals. These have traditionally been shorter 12-16 week cycles leading upto a competition. I have a book here called The Bench Press which details training cycles of many of the top Benchers ever from the 60's to the 90's and each one of them said they train with higher reps in the off-season and aim to get stronger for reps.
Maxing out in the gym seems to be a relatively new concept, even the original WSB crew back in the day never did that. They rotated exercises for sure and had lower weight/speed days but rarely were training maxes talked about. Lower reps were done for more volume.
I'm sure part of the reason is escalating drug-use. With anabolic hormones swimming around in the body throughout the week, the body would not need to be trained three times or even two times a week. Once is plenty. In that context hitting the lift as hard you can once a week makes sense.