There are many different powerlifting programs and variations. People tend to lean towards the most reputable programs out there, Westside, Cube Method, Russian Power, Bulgarian, Etc. The main question that keeps arising seems to be “What’s The Best Powerlifting Method?” Some people will argue Westside, some people will argue Cube Method so on and so forth. Really, what is the most effective powerlifting method?
Personally, I don’t believe that there is a “best method”. Everyone works differently and some methods will work for some that won’t work for others. The main thing you must determine is how your body functions and reacts to volume & intensity. This is determined through A LOT of trial and error in order to find out what works best for you.
I find that people become either lazy or simply don’t know what to do, so they follow what I like to call a “cookie cutter program”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure all of these programs are effective in some way and you will progress, but I guarantee if you put some thought into your programming you will make more progress than you would on a basic powerlifting program. My suggestion for a new lifer would be to try and finish the basic programs, see which one works best for you, take what worked and throw away what didn’t, make your own adjustments and make it your own program.
To effectively program yourself, you must know how your body functions and know that something that may have worked before won’t necessarily work forever. You must realize that as your lifting progresses, your weaknesses and abilities will change, positively and negatively. You will constantly run into hurdles, whether it is a plateau, injury, lack of motivation/ determination and the main thing to do when this happens is to trouble shoot, solve the problem and push forward.
You will never see any progression if you simply give up because something is too hard, you’re too tired, you’re not progressing, whatever the case may be, stop being a wimp, suck it up and solve the damn problem. There will be many times you will fail, but failure is essential if you want to learn and progress. The most important thing is to pick yourself back up off your ass and keep going.
Here are some tools and tips on how to effectively self-program and become a better lifter
- KEEP IT BASIC– It’s too often I hear of lifters doing some ridiculous, unnecessary exercise like a safety bar, reverse band, with chains box squat. REALLY?! For someone just starting out in lifting or who is more advanced this isn’t necessary. Keep it simply, and master the movements before you decide to get all fancy.
- INCLUDE VOLUME & INTENSITY- The most common flaws I usually see are either too much intensity, too low volume, too high intensity and not enough volume. This is where things get more complicated. Everyone works differently; some people respond better to higher volume, lower intensity and some people respond better to higher intensity and lower volume. It’s important to include both to gain density from volume and intensity to become accustomed to heavier weight.
- DON’T IGNORE YOUR WEAKNESSES- I don’t care who you are everyone has a weakness, whether it be physical or mental. Physically if you have a weakness such as poor glute activation, shitty upper back, poor conditioning, shitty bench, whatever the case may be it’s important to get stronger in these areas in order to improve your overall strength and athleticism. Mentally if you have a weakness it’s important to overcome this weakness by training slightly heavier than you’re used to in order to get over that mental block.
- IF SOMETHING IS WORKING, DON’T CHANGE IT– It’s too often I see people “program hopping” when what they are currently doing is working and their progressing just fine. Why are you changing something that is working for you? Stick with it until you’re not longer seeing results from what you’re doing and then switch it up.
- RECOGNIZE WHEN YOU’VE HIT A PLATEAU– When something has always worked for you, know that one day it may no longer work for you; this is when you hit a wall. This usually happens when you’ve been doing the same thing for too long, you’re over training or under training and not focusing on your weaknesses. It’s important to be able to recognize this so you’re able to make tweaks and re-adjust your training regime in order to continue progressing forward.
- TROUBLE SHOOTING & CONTINUOUSLY MOVING FORWARD– There will be times where your body breaks down and shit just doesn’t work the same as it did; whether you’ve been injured, there’s been a change in your movement patterns, over training etc.… When shit happens it’s key to be able to determine what the problem is, fix it and re-adjust what you’re doing. If you keep ignoring the problem, you’ll find yourself being constantly stuck and in a never ending plateau, your motivation will decrease and you’ll feel a lack of self-worth. Recognize when changes are needed, throw your ego aside, listen to your body and fix the problem; this is key if you want to be successful not just in lifting but life in general.
The greatest powerlifting method is to be determined by you and only you. If you’re failing over and over and you’re still grinding forward, you’re doing something right. It’s been five years now and I think I’m finally beginning to learn and understand how I function and react to different styles of training to be able to effectively self-program. It’s a never ending learning cycle, keep your head up and keep going, eventually you will get to where you want to be.
This is my opinion through my own experiences. Although I’ve only been lifting for a relatively short time, the experience and knowledge I’ve gained through tremendous coaching, my own failures/struggles, trial/error and most significantly my ability to push forward when shit gets hard has not only made me into the lifter I am today but has taught me life lessons which have shaped me into the person I am today.