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.

Resistance Training Benefits

Resistance training is what its name states, training with resistance. Resistance is something that is opposite to the natural movement of object. Like lifting, the natural path of the weight is towards the ground, but we train by fighting the resistance. We lift the weight in the opposite direction of the natural motion. The idea with the resistance training is that the muscles will work the hardest under resistance. It is also called strength training or weight training. The muscles contract opposing the resistance and that helps build strength, endurance and muscle size. We will discuss some benefits of resistance training and some resistance training examples in this post further.

Resistance Training Benefits

Types of Resistance Training

Well there are basically two types of resistance training and 1 new addition to them done not very long ago. All these training types defines what the muscles are doing while they are under resistance.

  1. Isometric Resistance Training

    Isometric resistance training stands for the training where the actual muscle length does not change and there is no movement at the joints as well. These are basically exercises that makes us hold our position throughout the movement. Just like in plank, where we hold our position to strengthen core muscles. Wall sit for legs lets us hold the bend position to put emphasis on legs. The benefits here are that the longer you hold on the position, the harder the resistance will be. The overloading process is very easy.

  2. Isotonic Resistance Training

    It is the common training technique done with free weights. The normal exercises that involve dumbbells and barbells and other weights are part of isotonic resistance training. In this type of training, the resistance is created by shortening the length of the muscle aka squeezing the muscle. Continuous squeezing and lengthening the muscle will create microfiber tear in the muscle adding size an strength. You can progressively overload the muscle by adding weights.

  3. Isokinetic Resistance training

    This kind of resistance is created with machines. The harder you push against the machine, the harder it pushes back. You can create a constant resistance through weights. The machines are built to incorporate the full range of natural motion that beginners will find easier to perform.

Health Benefits of Resistance Training

Resistance training has whole lot of benefits to health. You are actually strengthening your weak muscles and preparing for longevity. The problem starts when we go against the way our body is meant to be. Some of the benefits of resistance training are as below.

  • Improved strength and appearance
  • Maintains flexibility and balance as you age
  • Maintain healthy body weight
  • Increased stamina and core strength
  • Corrects posture
  • Prevents chronic disease due to bad eating or posture
  • Improved bone density
  • Balanced sleep pattern
  • Increased mental focus and decision making capability
  • A happy and fresh mood

Also Read: Fat to Fit

Resistance Training Examples

There are many examples of resistance training. You don’t necessarily need to visit gym to training your muscles. You can perform exercises even at home to strengthen and add size to your frame.

  • Free weights: All the classic training styles with dumbbells, barbells and kettle bells.
  • Medicine balls or sand bags: Weighted balls or sand bags to perform different moves can increase your strength.
  • Exercise machines: The machines that can help you perform the exercises targeting certain muscle groups. They have adjusting seats and handles.
  • Resistance Bands: These bands help your work with increasing tension when you pull the ends apart . They are portable and will provide resistance throughout the range of motion.
  • Suspension exercise: You suspend on a rope or similar setup where you are suspended and need to stabilize your muscle.
  • Body Weight: Squats, push ups, pull ups etc. are pretty good body weight exercises. You can perform these anywhere at anytime.

Basic Principles

There are few basic terms that you need to take care of in resistance training.

  • Program: The routine that enlists the exercises that you will be doing for each body part.
  • Repetition: Number of times you will be performing the exercise from the moment you lift the weight to putting it back.
  • Sets: How many times you will be performing each set of repetitions.
  • Rest: Time between sets.
  • Variety: different ways you can target your same muscle.
  • Progressive overload: Increasing the volume of workout either by increased weight or by increasing repetitions.
  • Recovery: Time required for the muscle to heal after an intense session of workout.


Your health is the first priority. Resistance training benefits you to work harder to achieve a healthier mind and body. These are few of the benefits of resistance training. No matter what type of training you perform, be sure to put health on the first priority.