Powerlifting Workouts

9 Week Powerlifting Periodization Peaking Workout

  • 61

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:

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

Latest posts by Steve Shaw (see all)

  • Chase Nov 5,2014 at 2:50 am

    Confused about weeks 1-4. Are all 3 exercises performed each workout day, so 3 times a week or only once a week splitting up the exercises?

    For example would bench squat and deads be done mon wed fri. Or would it be mon squat day, wed dead day and Friday bench day.

  • Mike mac Sep 17,2014 at 4:44 am

    Hi can anyone tell me how you would structure this workout with assistance work, so for example: bench day, squat day, deadlift day?
    Thanks in advance fir replys

  • emax Sep 5,2014 at 4:13 pm

    Is that Franco Colombo doing that deadlift?? That brings back memories of the ’70’s!!

  • Lee Jun 11,2014 at 3:53 pm

    This is my third time doing this program and I have to say it is spot on for a beginner-early intermediated. I went from a 475 deadlift to a 585 deadlift in 6 months using this program as my peaking program. My total went from 1210-1460 using this program. This is my third time using this peaking cycle and I should lift well over 1500 in my next meet. This is no crap just hard work.

    I went from:
    Bench 365-400
    Squat 435-475
    Deadlift 475-585

    Thanks Steve

  • Jake May 30,2014 at 7:41 pm

    Just finished this 9 week program. 5 months of powerlifting/strength training prior to starting. My lifts going into the program were:
    405 squat
    350 bench
    410 deadlift
    I followed the program training mon, wed, and fri. I added in chin ups, dips and wide grip pull ups (1 exercise per day for 3 sets to failure) for assistance exercise, as well as some ab work on all 3 days post workout for the first 6 weeks of the program. Then I cut out the assistance work for the remainder of the program. I had no meet to attend I just did my own personal test day and all 3 lifts went as follows:
    Squat: 415
    Bench: 365
    Deadlift: 430

    Overall I liked the program it is a lot of volume, but as a relative newbie to powerlifting the repetitive pattern for all the exercises was good practice especially for form and technique. The last 4 weeks of training at 60% for 4 reps on non heavy days is a good chance for pause reps and/or explosive depending how I felt. Will definitely retry this program in another few months maybe with board press, pin squats and rack pulls added in for assistance.

  • Bapt Mar 18,2014 at 8:19 am

    I have finish the program now, i can tell you that this program work as fuck !

  • JOE DIAMOND Feb 3,2014 at 8:31 pm

    The heavy training weeks 5-8 can you go heavy for all 3 lifts.

  • Stephen Edwards Jan 26,2014 at 2:39 pm

    What about shoulder work in this program? Add it in as accessory work one day?

  • Ron Wilhelms Jan 21,2014 at 11:48 am

    One thing I would like clarification on if possible. During the first 4 weeks (Volume Training Phase), would I perform all three lifts on each day? Or would I break it down to Squats on Monday, Bench on Wednesday and Deadlift on Friday?

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Webpage