What is Powerbuilding

What is Powerbuilding? - Coach John Porter Explains

Discover the hybrid training method that combines elements of both powerlifting and bodybuilding. 

By MuscleTech Strength Coach John Porter Jr.

There are a lot of hybrid workout programs out there. Coaches, trainers, athletes, and general fitness enthusiasts are constantly trying different programs together in hopes of cracking the code to achieving fantastic results. Unfortunately, just like using a flathead screwdriver on a Phillips head screw, a lot of the methodologies out there just don’t work perfectly together.

It’s important to consider the ramifications of combining certain methodologies—a lot of which has nothing to do with what the athlete is training for. For example, using an endurance-based program with the expectation of sprinting the 100-meter dash faster is futile, yet people try and wonder why the results aren’t coming.

Long story short: If we combine methodologies in hopes of achieving amazing results, the methodologies in question have to gel; they have to blend. The objective/rationale of each has to be similar, if not identical. Just as peanut butter complements jelly, so must the methods and principles in question.

What Is PowerBuilding?

Powerlifting essentially focuses on enhancing maximal strength and power production through the sport’s three core lifts: squat, deadlift, and bench press. Within competition, an athlete is tested on the three lifts and is given three attempts at each to attain the best/highest weight. The highest amount of weight lifted in each of the exercises are combined to create a total score to declare a winner.

Bodybuilding involves use of resistance exercises (including the “Big 3” within powerlifting) designed to target specific muscle groups with the goal of attaining muscle hypertrophy for aesthetic purposes. Whether your goal is fat loss, general performance, or to address functional imbalances, the nuances of bodybuilding can be used to address them.

PowerBuilding consists of the intelligent and purposeful combination of the best of powerlifting and bodybuilding into a methodology all its own. Done right, PowerBuilding can help you achieve both your strength, hypertrophy, and aesthetic goals in a way that surpasses pure powerlifting or bodybuilding protocols.

How Do I Piece It Together?

  1. The squat, bench press, and deadlift are the foundation of an efficient PowerBuilding program.
  • The best approach (based on availability) is to have max effort/low rep range days to focus on overall strength development of the muscles as well as the CNS and a dynamic effort/low to moderate rep range days to focus of rate of force production. Move the bar or implement as fast as you can within the prescribed range of motion.
  1. Create an accessory/axillary/assistive segment that encompasses the objectives and rationales within powerlifting and bodybuilding. The main objective of an accessory segment is to address one limiting factor or need that could inhibit the person’s progress, albeit functional or aesthetical. Within each sport, you will inevitably discover limiting factors that can inhibit your development. The limiting factor could be aesthetic, thus preventing you from realizing the body you want. It could be the function of a particular muscle that prevents you from lifting the amount of weight you know you could within the Big 3. The selection, intensity, and intent of each exercise is crucial and must not be taken lightly.

Sample PowerBuilding Program

Day 1:

  1. Back Squat: Find 5RM
  2. Press: 4 × 8

C1. Dumbbell Scaption: 3 × 12

C2. GHD Lower Back Extension: 3 × 12

D1. Seated Leg Extension: 3 × 10

D2. Romanian Deadlift: 3 × 10

Day 2:

  1. Deadlift: Find 5RM

  2. Pull-Up: 3 × max reps

C1. Dumbbell Shrug: 4 × 8

C2. Straight-Arm Pull-Down: 4 × 12

C3. Dumbbell Shrug on Incline Bench: 4 × max reps

Day 3: OFF

Day 4:

  1. Bench Press: Find 5RM

  2. Back Squat: 5 × 5 @ 80% of 5RM

C1. Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 × 10 (each leg)

C2. Chest-Elevated Push-Up: 3 × max reps

C3. Heels-Elevated Goblet Squat: 3 × 10

C4. Floor Chest Fly: 3 × max reps

Day 5:

A1. Barbell Biceps Curl

A2. Seated Overhead Triceps Extension

B1. Barbell Front Raise: 3 × 12

B2. Banded Lateral Raise: 3 × 12

B3. Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly on Incline Bench: 3 × 12

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