Powerbuilding continues to grow as a popular means of training for countless lifters and athletes. The powerbuilding ideology ebbs and flows through training blocks of dedicated strength and hypertrophy work. It is not just a programming style that utilizes powerlifting-focused lifts with accessory exercises slapped in arbitrarily (at least, it shouldn’t be!).
The problem with many powerbuilding programs is that they lack cohesiveness, and the term “powerbuilding” itself can sound gimmicky — meaning it’s a very marketable term, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, people see “powerbuilding routine” and default to, “Ah, a program with the squat, bench press, and deadlift with accessory exercises added — that’s it,” the term should be defined as more than that.
This is why simply following powerbuilding programs blindly that lack a cohesive ebb and flow between hypertrophy and strength blocks can only get you so far. At Pheasyque Lab, we love the powerbuilding programming ideology, but we’re firm believers in providing a much more thorough approach for progressing over time.
Powerbuilding Table of Contents
- What is powerbuilding?
- Where did powerbuilding come from?
- What are the benefits of powerbuilding programs?
- Is a powerbuilding program right for me?
- Can beginners use a powerbuilding program?
- What makes a good powerbuilding program?
- Can you add cardio to powerbuilding programs?
- How long can you do powerbuilding programs for?
- Why should I try Pheasyque Lab powerbuilding programs?
If you’ve landed on this page, then you’re clearly interested in powerbuilding programs. Below, we’re going to answer every question you could possibly have about powerbuilding programs.
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What Is Powerbuilding?
Powerbuilding is the combination of programming methodologies that are bridged together from both the powerlifting and bodybuilding worlds. A powerbuilding program will utilize strategic methods to progress strength in the compound movements regularly competed in powerlifting (squat, bench press, and deadlift), and include hypertrophy-focused methodologies to improve body composition.
We define powerbuilding as the summation of principles taken from programming styles from both strength sports and blending them together. The idea that powerbuilding programs are just templates with the powerlifts and additional accessory exercises is short-sided and sells this ideology short.
Where did powerbuilding come from?
It’s impossible to find the exact moment when powerbuilding-style programs became so popular, however, if we look at the growth of strength sports over the last few years, we can probably make some rational guesses as to why they were formed and where they came from.
This is where we should look at each strength sport individually and their respective timelines of popularity. Bodybuilding was arguably far more popular in the 1970s and 1980s compared to powerlifting. At this time and well into the early 2000s, when individuals followed dedicated free-weight resistance training programs it was often tied to the goal of improving body composition first.
This isn’t to say strength was never the goal during this time, however, strength in the powerlifts wasn’t as widely adopted as it is today, or at least as much of a focus.
Then, when we look to the early 2000s up until the present, and we see things like the boom of social media and sports like CrossFit, all of a sudden the bar for inclusivity in some of these predominately smaller circled sports gets lowered. We see more athletes and coaches adopting a powerlifting-style of training and sharing about it, which then spurs this sport in a rapid growth cycle.
When you have a rapidly growing industry and a hobby like resistance training where lifters usually have multiple goals at all times, it only makes sense to blend things together. More and more lifters want to strengthen their big three and improve their body in the process, thus the birth of powerbuilding. A type of training that promises the best of both training styles.
What Are the Benefits of Powerbuilding Programs?
The benefits of powerbuilding programs will be contextual based on multiple factors like who is running the program, how it’s constructed, and what someone’s main goals are.
However, we can provide a brief synopsis of powerbuilding program benefits that will generally stand true across the board for everyone.
- Benefit 1: Improved strength in barbell exercises like the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.
- Benefit 2: More exposure to the powerlifting competition lifts for both non-powerlifting athletes and competitors.
- Benefit 3: Increased lean body mass through progressive hypertrophy-focused training.
- Benefit 4: Usually higher adherence due to the varying nature of these training programs.
- Benefit 5: Enhanced mental tenacity for both strength and hypertrophy-focused training.
Obviously, like with most benefits linked to resistance training and programming, the devil’s in the details. Better programs will come along with more benefits and that brings us to our next topic.
Is a Powerbuilding Program Right for Me?
As your potential new coaches, we’d love to know what your goals are. If you want to improve your strength in compound barbell exercises, build more muscle, and follow a program that adapts powerlifting and bodybuilding methodologies, then yes, we’d recommend exploring powerbuilding programs.
A considerable amount of recreational lifters head to the gym every day with the main goals of getting stronger and building their body. Powerbuilding is for any lifter that likes to blend free-weight and machine exercises with the intent of progressively improving strength and hypertrophy over time.
Can Beginners Use a Powerbuilding Program?
Absolutely, but coaching is key early on and so is building one’s understanding of the various adaptations they’re working towards — strength, hypertrophy, and power.
We mentioned above that not all powerbuilding programs are equal. Outside of some programs being more effective than others, we also have to consider the audience each program is geared towards.
That being said, when looking for a more beginner-friendly powerbuilding program, we have to consider variables like:
- Training Age
- How long has a beginner been training?
- Autoregulation Competency
- How does a program progressively load and does the beginner have experience with the styles used?
- Movement Competency
- Can the beginner perform the exercises within?
This list could go on, but these are three keys we’d suggest every beginner keep in mind when exploring the idea of trying out powerbuilding programs.
What Makes a Good Powerbuilding Program?
Two words: strategized progressions.
In our opinion, a great powerbuilding program will have both micro and meso focused training block goals. This means that each training day has a specific focus, then each training block has a constant theme for adaptations that are trying to be achieved.
Micro progressions could be intent-focused loading, improving on a specific lift with assisting accessories, or improving’s work capacity for handling higher volume training for hypertrophy, and these are only naming a few.
Meso progressions would be the scope of each training block and what the grander theme is trying to accomplish. We often recommend following a powerbuilding program that has consecutive blocks that flow together versus hopping around from program-to-program.
Can You Add Cardio to Powerbuilding Programs?
Absolutely. However, we’d recommend establishing your goals before haphazardly adding cardio into a program.
Essentially, it can be useful to establish a performance-focused hierarchy with your goals, then breaking them into training ratios for how you want to accomplish them. Let’s say your main goal is strength, then hypertrophy, and you want to passively improve cardio.
In this event, your training could look something like 60:30:10, strength:hypertrophy:cardio work. Another aspect to consider is to be mindful of performance and fatigue levels. If your main goals are not cardio-focused, but you want to add it, then place after or around workouts where it won’t fatigue you and cause a dip in performance for consecutive training days.
How Long Can You Do Powerbuilding Programs For?
Technically as long as you’d like. As long as you’re running a powerbuilding program that accounts for fatigue levels, long-term progress, and contains some variability, you should be able to run a program for a long time.
Again though, and we’ve stressed this multiple times, we’d recommend getting on a plan that has a cohesive flow to it. This will promote long-term progress and set you up for success because this type of program is designed to ebb and flow between intensity and volume to mitigate fatigue levels.
If you can’t tell, we’re not really into things like month-long program hopping. In our opinion, that’s not enough time to truly adapt and grow.
Why Try Pheasyque Lab Powerbuilding Programs?
One of the main programming styles that we specialize in at Pheasyque Lab is powerbuilding.
Our powerbuilding programs are designed to mesh multiple training blocks together that flow with strength and hypertrophy focuses. This way we can prioritize micro and meso goals accordingly for each block to improve strength and muscular hypertrophy over longer periods of time without reaching levels of burnout.
The Pheasyque Lab Powerbuilding programs are based on both scientific evidence for best training approaches and also our experience from both an athlete and coaching standpoint. By creating this blend, we create powerbuilding programs that aim achieve evidence-based goals and providing lifters with a nice level of variability to help lifters f
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