Here's what you need to know...

  1. Physiques that exude power are made of massive lats, traps, and delts. And they don't just look powerful, they are powerful.
  2. To achieve the power look, you'll need to get strong overall and improve your 3RM.
  3. Focus on four main lifts with added accessory lifts. The purpose of the accessory lifts is to increase your 3RM on the main lifts.
  4. There are three phases of this 10-week program. It's periodized so that your main lifts increase in load while your assistance work decreases in volume.

Defining The Power Look

Few people have a physique that looks powerful and intimidating. And I want what few people have. Don't you?

Picture this: Strong traps that slope down to rounded shoulders, a thick upper back, a lower back you can lose your forearm in, and tree-trunk legs. Now couple that look with strength - being able to move the equivalent of a small car on the big basics.

This is the physique most lifters want. I designed this program for them.

When you're striving to achieve the power look, strength has to be the foundation of your training. Not necessarily 1RM strong, but overall strong.

Train toward achieving a new 3RM. The ultimate goal is to get 3 solid sets of 3 reps with your pre-cycle 1RM. That alone will guarantee a 10-15% gain in strength.

This program is built for a "big athlete" look. Think fullback or linebacker bodies. It will build muscle in all the right places and build the strength to back up the look.

Making the Program Work

The purpose of this program is to turn you into one powerful-looking human being. This is not the time to start a fat-loss diet!

We don't want to get fat in our quest for looking like a tank, but it would be a huge mistake not to consume enough nutrients to fuel the workouts, recover, and then grow from them.

Plazma

You want at least a 10% caloric surplus when doing this program. For supplements, I had my greatest improvements when I was consuming a high amount of Plazma™ pre and during training as well as Mag-10® post-training.

The Workouts

I'll provide a week-by-week breakdown of the program below, but let's start with an overview of each section.

Focus on four main lifts. These exercises are selected for their capacity to give you the power look. By themselves they'll give you the body you want. Getting significantly stronger at these movements will earn you the power look.

But you'll also use assistance exercises, which will increase the rate of progress in the main movements. Everything you do is designed to push the big four as high as possible, because getting the big-four higher is what will get you looking like a beast.

The Power 4

  1. Front squat
  2. Deadlift
  3. Bench press
  4. Push press

Each workout contains three total exercises: One main movement (from the Power 4) and two assistance exercises to improve the main lift.

The program has three distinct phases: The main movements stay the same for the duration of the cycle (10 weeks) but the assistance exercises will change depending on the purpose they serve.

The main movements are periodized: The load is planned in advance for the whole cycle and based on testing your 1RM just prior to starting the training cycle.

The periodization scheme for the main movements:
Week 1: 80%, 5 x 3
Week 2: 80%, 5 x 4
Week 3: 80%, 5 x 5
Week 4: 80%, 5 x 6
Week 5: 85%, 3 x 3
Week 6: 85%, 5 x 3
Week 7: 90%, 3 x 3
Week 8: 95%, 3 x 2
Week 9: 100%, 3 x 2
Week 10: 100%, 3 x 3

After week 10, take three easy days and then test your new 1RM.

Bent Over Barbell Row

The Assistance Work

The program below has two assistance movements for each main lift during each training phase.

At the beginning of the program, the purpose of the assistance exercises will be to strengthen weak links in the main lifts. As the program progresses you'll shift your focus more on getting ready to handle bigger weights.

This means emphasizing the stronger links in the main lifts so that you're able to reach peak performance at the end of the cycle.

Note: For the assistance work you won't use pre-planned loads like you will for the main lifts. Shoot for the heaviest load you can handle with proper form for all the work sets. Don't hit failure on purpose, but if it happens once in a while don't worry about it.

Phase 1 – Assistance Exercises

Phase 1 Notes: The two assistance exercises are selected to fix generally weak areas in the main lifts and build the key muscles involved.

Front squat assistance exercises
Paused front squat
Split squat

Deadlift assistance exercises
Deficit deadlift
Bent over barbell row (torso parallel to the floor)

Bench press assistance exercises
Full range dumbbell press (flat, lowering the dumbbells so that the handles are lower than a bench press bar would be)
Floor press, close-grip

Push press assistance exercises
Military press
High incline (60 degrees) dumbbell press

Sets and reps for the phase 1 assistance exercises
Week 1: 4 x 8
Week 2: 2 x 8, 2 x 6 (heavier)
Week 3: 4 x 6
Week 4: 2 x 6

Phase 2 – Assistance Exercises

Phase 2 Notes: One exercise will continue working on a weak link for the main lift, but the second exercise will be an overload movement for the pattern to get used to handling heavier weights.

Front squat assistance exercises
1 and 1/4th front squat (Go all the way down, then up halfway, back down, stand up. This is one rep.)
1/2 front squat (Going down only until the knee is at 100 degrees.)

Deadlift assistance exercises
Deficit sumo deadlift
Deadlift from pins just below knees

Bench press assistance exercises
Wide-grip bench press
1/2 bench press (Normal bench press, lowering until elbows are 90 degrees.)

Push press assistance exercises
Top-half press from pins (Shoulder press from pins just above forehead.)
1/2 push press (From rack position to just above forehead.)

Sets and reps for the phase 2 assistance exercises
Week 5: 4 x 6
Week 6: 2 x 6, 2 x 4 (heavier)
Week 7: 4 x 4

Phase 3 – Assistance Exercises

Phase-3 Notes: The goal of the assistance movements is no longer about correcting weak links. Use them instead to emphasize strong links.

Use only assistance movements where you can use more weight than on the main lifts themselves. The volume of assistance work will be dropped to allow maximum recovery to peak for the main lifts.

Front squat assistance exercise
Back squat, narrow stance (hip width), high bar position

Deadlift assistance exercise
Deadlift from pins just above knees

Bench press assistance exercise
Decline bench press

Push press assistance exercise
Power jerk

Sets and reps for the phase 3 assistance exercises
Week 8: 4 x 2
Week 9: 2 x 2
Week 10: None

Back

The Complete Power Look Program

Week 1 – Day 1

Front squat 80%, 5 x 3
Paused front squat (2 second pause in the bottom position) 4 x 8
Split squat (bar held like in a front squat) 4 x 8
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. You can pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 1 – Day 2

Bench press 80%, 5 x 3
Full range dumbbell press 4 x 8
Close-grip floor press (1 second stop on floor) 4 x 8
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 1 – Day 3

Deadlift 80%, 5 x 3
Deficit deadlift (standing on 2" plate) 4 x 8
Bent over barbell row (torso parallel to floor) 4 x 8
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 1 – Day 4

Push press 80%, 5 x 3
Military press 4 x 8
High incline (60 degrees) dumbbell press 4 x 8
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 2 – Day 1

Front squat 80%, 5 x 4
Paused front squat 2 x 8, 2 x 6
Split squat 2 x 8, 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 2 – Day 2

Bench press 80%, 5 x 4
Full range dumbbell press 2 x 8, 2 x 6
Close-grip floor press 2 x 8, 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 2 – Day 3

Deadlift 80%, 5 x 4
Deficit deadlift 2 x 8, 2 x 6
Bent over barbell row 2 x 8, 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 2 – Day 4

Push press 80%, 5 x 4
Military press 2 x 8, 2 x 6
High incline (60 degrees) dumbbell press 2 x 8, 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 3 – Day 1

Front squat 80%, 5 x 5
Paused front squat 4 x 6
Split squat 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 3 – Day 2

Bench press 80%, 5 x 5
Full range dumbbell press 4 x 6
Close-grip floor press 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 3 – Day 3

Deadlift 80%, 5 x 5
Deficit deadlift 4 x 6
Bent over barbell row 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 3 – Day 4

Push press 80%, 5 x 5
Military press 4 x 6
High incline (60 degrees) dumbbell press 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 4 – Day 1

Front squat 80%, 5 x 6
Paused front squat 2 x 6
Split squat 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 4 – Day 2

Bench press 80%, 5 x 6
Full range dumbbell press 2 x 6
Close-grip floor press 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 4 – Day 3

Deadlift 80%, 5 x 6
Deficit deadlift 2 x 6
Bent over barbell row 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 4 – Day 4

Push press 80%, 5 x 6
Military press 2 x 6
High incline (60 degrees) dumbbell press 2 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Week 5 – Day 1

Front squat 85%, 3 x 3
1 and 1/4 front squat 4 x 6
1/2 front squat 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 5 – Day 2

Bench press 85%, 3 x 3
Wide grip bench press 4 x 6
1/2 bench press 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 5 – Day 3

Deadlift 85%, 3 x 3
Deficit sumo deadlift (standing on 2" plates) 4 x 6
Deadlift from pins (just below knees) 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 5 – Day 4

Push press 85%, 3 x 3
Top half press from pins (bar starting on pins just above forehead) 4 x 6
1/2 push press (from rack position to just above forehead) 4 x 6
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 6 – Day 1

Front squat 85%, 5 x 3
1 and 1/4 front squat 4 x 6
1/2 front squat 2 x 6, 2 x 4
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 6 – Day 2

Bench press 85%, 5 x 3
Wide grip bench press 2 x 6, 2 x 4
1/2 bench press 2 x 6, 2 x 4
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 6 – Day 3

Deadlift 85%, 5 x 3
Deficit sumo deadlift 2 x 6, 2 x 4
Deadlift from pins 2 x 6, 2 x 4
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 6 – Day 4

Push press 85%, 5 x 3
Top half press from pins 2 x 6, 2 x 4
1/2 push press 2 x 6, 2 x 4
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 7 – Day 1

Front squat 90%, 3 x 3
1 and 1/4 front squat 4 x 6
1/2 front squat 4 x 4
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 7 – Day 2

Bench press 90%, 3 x 3
Wide grip bench press 4 x 4
1/2 bench press 4 x 4
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Choose one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 7 – Day 3

Deadlift 90%, 3 x 3
Deficit sumo deadlift 4 x 4
Deadlift from pins 4 x 4
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 7 – Day 4

Push press 90%, 3 x 3
Top half press from pins 4 x 4
1/2 push press 4 x 4
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Pick one or two for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 8 – Day 1

Front squat 95%, 3 x 2
Back squat, narrow stance, high bar placement 4 x 2
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Choose one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 8 – Day 2

Bench press 95%, 3 x 2
Decline bench press 4 x 2
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Pick one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 8 – Day 3

Deadlift 95%, 3 x 2
Deadlift from pins 4 x 2
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Pick one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 8 – Day 4

Push press 95%, 3 x 2
Power jerk 4 x 2
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Choose one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 9 – Day 1

Front squat 100%, 3 x 2
Back squat, narrow stance, high bar placement 2 x 2
Optional bonus work: Leg press, leg extension, hack squat. Pick one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 9 – Day 2

Bench press 100%, 3 x 2
Decline bench press 2 x 2
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell triceps extension, EZ-bar triceps extension, rope triceps extension. Choose one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 9 – Day 3

Deadlift 100%, 3 x 2
Deadlift from pins 2 x 2
Optional bonus work: Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, chin-ups/pull-ups, leg curl. Pick one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 9 – Day 4

Push press 100%, 3 x 2
Power jerk 2 x 2
Optional bonus work: Dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, barbell curl. Pick one for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Week 10 – Day 1

Front squat 100%, 3 x 3

Week 10 – Day 2

Bench press 100%, 3 x 3

Week 10 – Day 3

Deadlift 100%, 3 x 3

Week 10 – Day 4

Push press 100%, 3 x 3

Related:  Growth Factor Shoulder Training

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