Want Bigger Muscles? Powerlift Your Way Here With This 3-Day Training Programme


Men's Health |

There’s no better feeling than pumping some iron to get the testosterone going. Try this weight-lifting routine and boost your strength levels

Directions: Follow this three-day programme (with rest days in between). With each session there is an abs, biceps or triceps component where you choose your own exercises.

Day 1:

  • Power Squat: 8 sets of 6 reps
  • Hang Power Snatch: 6 sets 3 reps
  • Chest-to-Bar Pull- Ups: 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Biceps: your choice
  • Abs: your choice

Day 2: 

  • Snatch-Grip Deadlift: 6 sets of 6 reps
  • Behind-the-Neck Push Press: 5 sets of 8 reps
  • Deficit Dead Stop Rows: 5 sets 10 reps
  • Triceps/abs: your choice

Day 3:

  • Front Box Squat: 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Conventional Deadlift: 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Hammer Grip Dumbbell Press: 5 sets of 8 reps
  • Shrugs: 4 sets of 20 reps
  • Abs: your choice

The Benefits:“When you become stronger, your body shows it: your legs gain mass, you develop erectors and traps (the true signs of strength) and your forearms look as if you could crush a jam jar instead of just opening it. And the psychological benefits always outweigh the physical benefits.”

1/Power Squat – “This is my favourite squat, because more muscles are recruited to execute the lift than any other squat. Plus, you can handle more weight in this position – which, in my opinion, should be everyone’s long-term goal.” Let’s do it. Use a normal squat stance, but focus on positioning the bar lower down on the traps and your feet outside of hip-width apart. The squat starts with the hips pushing back and knees driving out, chest staying up and back kept tight. Make sure you drop below parallel in the squat.

Technical Difficulty: 6 out of 10

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2/Hang Power Snatch – Grip the barbell in a wide snatch-grip position, and lift it up so that you start with the bar positioned over your knees. Then pull the bar upwards while driving your hips forward, and after you have completed the pull, drop under the bar into a squat position around 10cm above parallel as you stop the bar in the overhead squat position. “I use this exercise to increase hip extension and force production via the hips. These are often neglected, which means a lot of guys aren’t able to do the move correctly.”

Technical Difficulty: 8 out of 10

3/Deficit Dead Stop Rows: – “Need a stronger, bigger back? Row.” Simple: stand on a 5-inch plate and pull the bar from the floor up into your stomach, then put the bar back down without losing tension in your core or back. Don’t let it bounce, and repeat each rep with as little momentum as possible. “These rows recruit the majority of the back, allowing the erectors to develop correctly. You need to keep a flat back to execute a full row.”

Technical Difficulty: 6 out of 10

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4/Snatch-Grip Deadlift – Your grip must be wide enough that the bar is in line with your hips when standing. With this grip, drop your butt as low as possible and deadlift the bar up – but keeping a hollow back and an upright chest. This exercise must not be done with heavy weight unless you can hold the correct position. “This deadlift forces the shoulder blades to stay packed and keeps the lower lumber flat. It also brings more lats and legs into the deadlift than most other variations.”

Technical Difficulty: 5 out of 10

5/Conventional Deadlift – Start with your feet hip-width apart. To lift, drop your hips and pick up the bar at the same time. Squeeze your glutes at the top and lock your shoulders back, but don’t lean back at the top. Never lose tension and don’t bounce off the floor. “The king of compound movements, this keeps the central nervous system loaded for developing and handling other exercises. It simply must be in all programmes, even if you only do it every second week.”

Technical Difficulty: 7 out of 10

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6/Chest-to-Bar Pull-Up – “If you’re strong enough and have healthy shoulders, you should only do one kind of pull-up: this one.” Start in a dead hang position on the pull-up bar with a narrow grip to start. Progress to a wide grip as you get stronger. Pull your chest up to the bar while holding a hollow position.

Technical Difficulty: 7 out of 10

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7/Dumbbell Hammer-Grip Benchpress – These are like traditional dumbbell presses, except your palms face inwards and elbows stay tucked in on the way down. This can help you can improve your pressing abilities without creating shoulder problems, but if you have a coach or trainer watching you, I’d recommend including the traditional benchpress as well.”

Technical Difficulty: 6 out of 10

8/Behind-the- Neck Push Press – Hold the barbell across your trapezius muscles, grip just outside of shoulder-width. To start, do a small dip by bending your knees, then drive explosively back up while pressing the bar at the same time. “Training overhead is very important, but doing normal strict presses can get a bit stale. The push press allows you to handle more weight, which leads to greater overall strength and size.”

Technical Difficulty: 6 out of 10

9/Front Box Squat – Find a box that stands at just under the height of your 90-degree squat depth. Holding a barbell across your shoulders, slowly lower yourself down into a seated position on the box – then stand up as fast as possible. “This squat is great hip and glute developer alongside with developing thoracic stability under load, emphasis must be on descending slowly and keeping a upright chest. The goal is to create a great acceleration off the box after at least a 3-second pause.”

Technical Difficulty: 6 out of 10

10/Shrug – With your grip shoulder-width apart, shrug the bar upwards while aiming to touch your ears with your shoulders. Don’t bend your arms or roll your shoulders. Each shrug must be done as fast as possible with a squeeze at the top (with absolutely no arm flexion). “Your traps need your attention – the stronger they become, the better your weightlifting, deadlift and overhead work will be.”

Technical Difficulty: 5 out of 10

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