Powerlifting Workouts

9 Week Powerlifting Periodization Peaking Workout

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This is a 9 week strength building cycle meant for intermediate level powerlifters and strength training athletes. Starting numbers are based upon your current one rep max for squats, bench press and deadlifts, plus the amount of weight you are attempting to increase.

For example, if your current bench press is 270 pounds and you are aiming for a 285 pound bench press after 9 weeks, you would base your workout percentages off of 285 pounds.

Please use reasonable goals for each 9 week period. As an intermediate lifter it is highly unlikely that you will add more than 15 to 20 pounds per lift, per 9 week cycle. This is not to say you won’t but it will be difficult.

But have no fear, this cycle will not limit you if you exceed your goals. During week 8 you will be attempting a single using 95% of your goal weight. Use this single to judge what your approximate new one rep max is.

Continuing with our 270 pound bench press example. Let’s say during week 8 you attempt 95% of your new PR goal of 285 pounds. This will be 270 pounds.

You place 270 on the bar and the rep feels somewhat easy. You guestimate that you could have comfortably hit 280 pounds.

This “guess” becomes your new working one rep max. Understand that a “working max” will not necessarily be your true one rep max. We are using a working max to help you structure the next 9 week cycle.

So with a 280 pound working max, you decide that during the next 9 week cycle you want to hit a 295 bench press. Percentages for your second cycle will be based on 295 pounds.

9 Week Powerlifting Periodization Peaking Workout

Each 9 week cycle consists of:

  • Weeks 1-4: Ramping Volume Training
  • Weeks 5-8: Ramping Heavy Training
  • Week 9: Deload

During this 9 week cycle you will only perform the big 3 lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift. You may either work them in this order, or use the alternative setup of squat, deadlift and bench press.

Training consists of 3 workouts per week:

  • Monday – Workout #1
  • Wednesday – Workout #2
  • Friday – Workout #2

Volume Training Phase: Weeks 1-4

Here is the set and rep protocol you will use for each week of the volume training phase. Perform this protocol each day, for each lift.

  • Week 1 – 3×6 @ 60%
  • Week 2 – 3×5 @ 65%
  • Week 3 – 3×4 @ 70%
  • Week 4 – 3×3 @ 75%

Heavy Training Phase: Weeks 5-8

Here is the set and rep protocol you will use for each week of the volume training phase. You will notice that you are only performing one heavy workout per exercise, per week. The other 2 workouts for that lift will be mild.

Each lift will have its own heavy day. This way you will be performing only one heavy lift per training day. The structure is as follows:

  • Monday – Heavy Squat
  • Wednesday – Heavy Bench
  • Friday – Heavy Deadlift

The 4 week heavy cycle will look like this:

  • Week 5 – 2×1 @ 80%
  • Week 6 – 2×1 @ 85%
  • Week 7 – 1×1 @ 90%
  • Week 8 – 1×1 @ 95%

A full week for each lift will look like this:

Squats
  • Monday – Heavy
  • Wednesday – 4×4 @ 60%
  • Friday – 4×4 @ 60%
Bench Press
  • Monday – 4×4 @ 60%
  • Wednesday – Heavy
  • Friday – 4×4 @ 60%
Deadlift
  • Monday – 4×4 @ 60%
  • Wednesday – 4×4 @ 60%
  • Friday – Heavy

Workout Notes & FAQ

Weight Increases. Start the program by basing percentages on a 15 pound increase to squats and deadlifts, and a 10 pound increase to bench press. Remember that you may exceed these numbers, so they are merely conservative and reasonable starting points that are appropriate for intermediates.

Deload Week. I suggest taking a complete week off during the deload period. Sit, rest, relax and eat. If you want to lift, build up to only one working set of 6 @ 60% of your old one rep max.

Meet Peaking. If you are running this program into a powerlifting meet, take week 9 completely off.

Assistance Exercises. If you feel you need to add assistance work to this program, I suggest only adding 1-2 addition exercises each day during weeks 1-4. These exercises should not be taxing compound movements, nor high volume work that might tax recovery to a great degree.

Exercises you might add could include:

  • Ab work
  • Tricep Extensions or Dips
  • Bicep Curls
  • Calf Raises
  • Rows
  • Shrugs
  • Pull Ups or Chin Ups

Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw is the primary content manager for Muscle and Brawn.

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