Powerlifting for Beginners

powerlifting for beginners

Powerlifting and bodybuilding can go both hand in hand. They both follow the same principle, just way they exercise and the purpose is different. Bodybuilders do slow controlled reps while powerlifters perform explosive moves. The major focus in powerlifting is raw strength and weights on the bar. Powerlifting for beginners is no different than bodybuilding beginners program. Basics are always important is also merely same in all sports, gain strength and learn proper way of doing the moves.

Bodybuilding is about focusing on certain muscle and training them with different technique for muscle hypertrophy. Powerlifting is all about gaining the strength to lift heavy. Powerlifting basically is of three staple exercises in strength training, bench press, squat and deadlift. These all are the compound exercise that work multiple muscle in your body. Let’s learn some of the powerlifting exercises for beginners in this post.

Powerlifting Moves

Bench press, squat and deadlift are the main focus of the powerlifting training. Everything else is either directly related to these exercise or indirectly a supporting factor, else they are not performed. Powerlifting for beginners is similar to any of the beginners workout exercises in resistance training. You learn the basics first, then you add some variations to it and excel to advance.

powerlifting for beginners

Bench Press

Bench press is chest’s most important exercise. It is a compound movement and has direct involvement of triceps and shoulders. These 2 are the supporting muscles for bench press.

You can perform bench press with three bench setup, incline, flat and decline. Flat bench press is what powerlifters perform the most.


Squat is the king of all leg exercises. It involves highest number of muscles in the body including upper body for stabilization. Squat work all your muscle in the legs.

It has multiple variation to target different muscles like front squat, back squat, hack squat and so on. The main goal is to put on as much weight as you possibly can.


Deadlift is awesome compound exercise for overall back development. It triggers multiple muscles in the back, legs, glutes and so on. It can be done with both barbell and dumbbell. There are multiple barbells like elephant bar, which is longer barbell, ordinary barbell, fat grip barbell and many more.

1 Rep Max

1 rep max is the term for what maximum weight you can lift on your own not more than 1 repetition. It is the maximum weight that powerlifters train for all the time.

Start off with about 60% of your 1RM as warm up set. Increase weights till you reach your 1RM, now perform working set with that weight. Progressive overload is what enables you to break that plateau and excel in your 1RM.

Powerlifting Routine for Strength

Given below is the sample workout routine for the powerlifting for beginners. Perform these exercises until you feel like used to the workout and weights. These are the 5×5 workout plan, meaning you do 5 working sets of 5 repetitions for all the major workout.

Day 1

  • Barbell Back Squat
    Perform 5 sets of 5 reps with same weight. Progressively add weights every week.
  • Barbell Front Squat
    Front squat targets quads more. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
  • Hip-thrusts
    It is awesome exercise for glute development. Glute’s health and strength is very important to perform clean and effective squat and deadlift and other exercises. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
  • Calf raises
    Good and strong calf is very important to transfer the power from the ground up top. It provides the strength and stability to perform the exercise. Perform 3 sets to failure.

Day 2

  • Barbell Bench Press
    Perform 5 sets of 5 reps with enough warm up sets. Throughout 5 working sets, use same weight and progressively add on weights every week.
  • Dumbbell Bench Press 
    You build stability and improve co-ordination with dumbbell bench press as both hands move independently. Perform 3-4 sets with 8-12 reps.
  • Close grip bench press or triceps pushdown
    You can switch back and forth between these 2 exercises or just perform them both with moderate weight. Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions. These exercises work your triceps.
  • Shoulder press
    Shoulder press is important to keep the shoulder health in check. During bench press, your shoulders too participate in the movement. Strengthening the shoulders can help you lift more weight. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps for any shoulder press version.

Day 3

  • Barbell Deadlift
    Perform 5 working sets of 5 reps with ample warmup sets. Progressively overload every week to improve your 1RM. There are multiple variation to this deadlift like elephant bar deadlift, sumo deadlift, pause deadlift, etc.

Also Read: Barbell Deadlift

  • Hyperextension
    Hyperextensions are very good exercise to check your lower back health while done right. Don’t get crazily hyped while doing hyperextension as you might slip a disc. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps. Don’t jerk your way up while doing the moment, go slow and controlled.
  • Barbell Row
    Rowing exercises are very effective for lats development. Lats provide you strength to pick the bar up from the dead position. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Biceps curl
    Do any biceps curling exercises. Your biceps are the supporting muscles for the back exercises. Do 4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Things to Remember

There are few things you need to remember while choosing powerlifting as your strength training workout for beginners.

  • 500 lbs personal record isn’t achieved in a day, it needs years of practice and hard work.
  • Do as many warm up sets you require to prepare yourself for the workout.
  • Take advice from the experienced lifters and coaches about the correct form and technique.
  • Do your repetitions right and don’t just train as a result of your ego.
  • Get your basics right before going a step ahead.

It is advised to perform this workout 3 times a week in the beginning as your are just into the powerlifting and not used to the intensity. You can go higher when you get used to. Rest and recovery period is very important. Rest for at least 3-4 minutes between the heavy working sets to calm yourself down and prepare for next set.

In the end, powerlifting is awesome sport. It extracts the stronger version of you from within yourself. Bodybuilding and powerlifting can be done back and forth to achieve both aesthetics and strength. Basic are both similar for bodybuilding and powerlifting for beginners.

Author: Abhinit

I am who I am inside-out. Though being a computer engineer, I have interest in fitness, blogging and writing my heart out. I like providing the most needing one with most amount of help I can provide from my side.

One thought on “Powerlifting for Beginners”

  1. Pingback: Grip Training Exercises - Get Fitness and Lifestyle

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