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|Workout Goal||Build Mass|
|Workout Type||Powerbuilding Split|
|Program Duration||12 Weeks|
|Days Per Week||3|
|Time Per Workout||45-75 Minutes|
|Equipment Required||Barbell, Dumbbell, Machines|
|Workout PDF||3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine Download|
What is Powerbuilding?
First off, powerbuilding programs are not new. The term powerbuilding is usually used to describe a certain workout program structure. These programs are tailored toward those who want strength and aesthetics. Really, these programs are best for a large majority of the average gym population.
We all want to get stronger and enjoy lifting, but we also want to improve our body composition. Competing is generally out of the question — but that isn’t always the case.
Many of these programs — including this one — starts with a compound movement trained in the lower rep range, and moves onto a bodybuilding focus on accessory lifts. There are many formats, but generally a powerbuilding workout routine will either be a push/pull, upper-lower split, or a powerlifting-style split.
The Difference Between Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding
I’ve noticed a trend of other strength athletes migrating to the wonderful sport of powerlifting. Whether they are tired of the culture, the subjective judging criteria of bodybuilding, or even the politics involved in the sport… athletes are turning to a powerbuilding way of training. Nothing beats breaking personal records, building muscle, and training with the intent of a bodybuilder.
Bodybuilders burn off any nonessential body fat, train for hypertrophy, and focus on creating a symmetrical aesthetic body.
Bodybuilding sculpts your body by keeping meticulous track of the caloric intake, performing a lot of conditioning, and lots of volume for hypertrophy. This allows the body to build muscle while keeping fat gain minimal.
Powerlifters tend to have more body fat than bodybuilders… but that isn’t always the case. Truth be told, food makes you stronger. Food is anabolic. Food builds muscle and improves your strength, but it will pack on the fat.
It’s a double edged sword.
Powerlifters train to lift the most weight possible in the squat, bench, and deadlift. Competition includes weight classes in which you have three attempts at the squat, bench, and deadlift to obtain your highest total. Your total is the combination of all three of your lifts.
Bodybuilding focuses on building muscle through high reps. Powerlifting focuses on your nervous system by improving your strength.
Powerbuilding is what the average gym goer is looking for — a better looking physique, to be able to carry all of the groceries in one trip, and to be able to bench three wheels per side.
They focus on eating nutritious foods, but they aren’t worried about gaining a small amount of fat in exchange for stronger lifts. They may slack on their cardio, but they also know the better their conditioning, the more weight they can lift.
Powerbuilding is fun because you can “chase the pump” like a bodybuilder, but you can bend bars and break PRs training like a powerlifter.
Goal Of This 3 Day Powerbuilding Workout
There aren’t any promises that this powerbuilding routine will make you a top-level athlete, but you will certainly become one of the strongest people in your gym with consistent training.
You are going to learn nutrition from a bodybuilder’s perspective, you’ll build a solid foundation of strength, and you’ll pack on mass while you improve in all of your lifts. Even if you do not have a desire to get on a stage or compete, a strong muscle is big and a big muscle can be strong.
Are you ready to start cracking sidewalks?
Diet and Nutrition for Powerbuilding
When it comes to dieting as a powerbuilder, you will get the most out of this workout if you slow bulk. That means instead of eating whatever you can fit in your mouth, you calculate your TDEE and eat a few hundred extra calories per day.
This is going to allow you to build strength and muscle without packing on too much fat. Since your goal is to get stronger and build muscle without wrecking your physique, you’ll need to start counting your calories and keeping on track if you want to see the most improvement.
That means you need to start logging your food — there’s no other way around this. Otherwise, you risk spending weeks trying to build muscle and fail because you simply aren’t eating enough. Or worse, you could gain a lot more fat than you bargained for.
Eating enough protein is important for building muscle. Aim to eat around one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Realistically, if you weigh 200+ pounds, aiming to get close to 170 grams of protein is a good start.
Great Protein Sources
- Eggs – whole or egg whites
- Fish – salmon, tilapia, tuna, cod
- Chicken – boneless skinless breasts and thighs
- Pork – loin
- Beef – ground beef, steak
- Dairy – cottage cheese, milk, yogurt
- Nuts, Nut Butters, and Seeds
Related: 11 Cheapest Good Protein Sources
Carbohydrates fuel our body and allow us to perform at optimal levels. Carbs caught a bad rap due to everything being full of sugars. Fuel your body with healthy, nutritious carbohydrates.
Great Carbohydrate Sources
- Potatoes – sweet, yellow
- Kidney Beans
- Chick Peas
- Rice – black, brown, white
- Cottage Cheese
Related: The Science Behind Low-Carb Diets for Fat People
Even more demonized than carbohydrates, high-fat foods can be nutritious and help to aid in hormone function, memory, and the absorption of many specific nutrients.
Healthy fats create a feeling of satiety — meaning you stay fuller for longer. They slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and add so many wonderful flavors to food. The most healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Great Fat Sources
- Dark Chocolate
- Chia Seeds
- Eggs – whole
- Fatty Fish – fresh tuna, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout
- Nut and Seed Butter
- Olive Oil
- Dairy – cheese, sour cream, milk, butter
Struggling to Gain Weight?
Do you eat a lot and still struggle to add weight? It’s time to add some flavor and fats to your meals. These will increase the flavor in your foods, won’t be voluminous, and I mean who doesn’t like some extra butter or sour cream?
If you keep your weight consistent and need some tips to add calories into your diet, here are some of the best and healthiest ways to do so:
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Whole milk
- Heavy cream
- Cheese on everything
- Protein shakes
- Peanut butter
- Olive oil
- Extra dressing
You really need to learn to cook. If you refuse to cook but eat a lot of prepared meals, adding a glob of sour cream to some mashed potatoes or using whole milk in your protein shakes are an easy way to boost your nutrition and calories.
Doing this is much healthier than running to your local fast food joint to get food. You’ll feel much better, have more energy, and you won’t have all of those upset stomachs.
Note: A little bit goes a long way, so be sure to know how many calories you are adding. Keep a set of measuring spoons and cups so you can get an accurate count of what you’re eating. Fats are calorie dense and it’s easy to get an extra 500 calories into your meal.
Cardio for Powerbuilding
Your level of conditioning is one of the most important things you can work on to improve your lifts, endurance, and stamina. Improving your conditioning will improve other areas of life outside of the gym. This particular routine focuses a bit on conditioning, core strength, and mobility.
Once you start lifting relatively heavier weights, your form will start to break down due to muscle weakness, lack of conditioning/muscle endurance and mobility issues. That’s what we are addressing.
For your pre-workout warm up, start by walking for 3 minutes and follow-up with a 30 second balls-to-the-walls high intensity sprint. Finish off with 90 seconds of walking. This “shock” is going to prime your body to train hard and helps get your core body temperature up.
Post Workout Conditioning
I’m not big on citing research materials and I sure as hell am not interested in doing the scientific leg work, but doing high intensity interval training will help improve your muscle and strength gains.
- 5 minutes brisk walking
- 30 seconds jogging
- 30 seconds walking
- 30 seconds sprinting
- 30 seconds walking
- 45 seconds sprinting
- 1 minute walking
- 1 minute jogging
- 1 minute walking
- 30 seconds full sprinting
- 1.5 minutes walking slowly tapering down to finish
Related: 4 Steps to Starting High Intensity Interval Training
Cardio and Conditioning Tips
This sounds like some special formula but it isn’t — this is just a template. If you don’t follow it exactly, or you modify it… that’s fine! What I want to make you aware of is warming up and priming your body for high intensity training.
Don’t get stuck on the numbers, if you have poor conditioning, add longer walk (resting) periods and strive to recover faster. I used to be winded simply going to get the mail — I know what it’s like to start from the bottom.
How to Program for Powerbuilding
Here is a sample schedule for this routine:
- Monday – Day 1
- Tuesday – Off
- Wednesday – Day 2
- Thursday – Off
- Friday – Day 3
- Saturday – Off
- Sunday – Off
The actual days you train do not matter, the time off does. For example, I personally train Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday.
Recovery is number 1 priority, so don’t try to make this a 6 day routine or never take days off.
3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine
|Stiff Leg Deadlifts||3||20|
|Lat Pull Downs||4||10|
|Cross Body Hammer Curls||5||15|
|Dumbbell Incline Bench||3||12|
|Rear Delt Lateral Raise||4||12|
|1 Arm Dumbbell Rows||4||8|
|Seated Close Grip Row||3||15|
Take care to perform your lifts with the best form you have. When lifting heavy, your form is going to break down. Train yourself to lift with as perfect of form as possible no matter what weight you lift. This ensures you keep your risk of injury minimal and improves the efficacy of your training.
Your goal here is to strive for progression. If you achieve every rep of every set at your desired weight, add five to ten pounds to the bar next week. Keep a training log so you have a record of what you’ve lifted, and always strive to improve whether it’s 5 pounds or one more rep.
Sharing is caring, and as always leave any comments or questions below!
51 thoughts on “3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine”
Hey cutty.. My gym doesn’t have reverse hyper machine.. What else can I put there?!
You could do some Romanian deadlifts, stiff leg deadlifts, or some good mornings. Let me know how it goes!
Hey I was wondering why so much high reps and different sets like 3 sets 4 and 5
Higher reps make for great muscular endurance. The lower rep sets are the big heavy compound lifts. Remember, powerbuilding is mixing bodybuilding with powerlifting. Your goal is to cause hypertrophy and priming your nervous system to get stronger with the heavy compound lifts.
Is this the best workout for skinny guys on the site or do you recommend another one?
Any workout will work. If you are skinny, aim to eat around 300 calories extra per day. This is going to help you build muscle without putting on a lot of fat.
You will build muscles in the kitchen, so going to the gym is only half of the equation. I’d recommend logging your food so you can see your baseline and then start eating more nutritious foods. You’ll be able to get the most nutrition out of your calories which will again build muscle but keep your fat gain to a minimum.
Finding a workout that you will enjoy and will actually commit to is more important than the actual workout. Pretty much any workout on the site is good for any goal — food is where you make the difference.
Hope this helps!
Hey man, would it be unnecessary to add front squat or squat lunges to Wednesday or Friday? My squat is my primary focus while still wanting to add strength and size. I’m just worried squatting once a week as opposed to 3x like I’ve been doing in strong lifts will regress my squat.
James, I’m so sorry for taking way too long to get back to your comment. The world we’re living in now is making it hard for me to get any free time to work on this website.
Yes, if you’re a trained lifter with any experience, that would be perfect. I try to write the articles for beginners or someone who needs to get back into the gym. I used to squat Monday and Friday, Wednesday used to be deadlift day. You vary up the exercise or the weight. So I typically would do some sort of medium weight medium rep squat or squat variation on Monday, Wednesday I would heavy deadlift, Friday I would do another variation. The next week I would do heavy squats, rep deadlifts, and Friday go off of feel but either do dynamic/light weight power reps, or go heavy again. Once you learn your body, you will know when and where to push yourself harder.
Hello, how long Should I aim to spend on the gym with this programme? And how long should I rest between sets?
Typically, that depends on the individual. Think of it kind of like a flight of stairs. Some people can run up them just fine, and others are out of breath after that flight. As soon as you “feel ready to go again,” go again. If you need a little bit in between sets, take them. This shouldn’t take more than 60 to 90 minutes.
Is it okay to throw in some extra chest exercises for all of the training days? I have lacking chest and I like to do some chest presses and pec dec additionally to bench.
Also I have tried all the variations for triceps but mechanically only pushdowns work well for me. No matter how light is the barbell on skullcrushers i fail to feel my triceps, also, it feels awkward when im doing them. Does that matter?
Throw in some more chest workouts if you’re killing the workout as is. For the triceps, I would recommend using exercises that feel like they are working your triceps most. You could also try standing tricep extensions with the rope on the cable machine. There could be a reason that you are not feeling it in your triceps. That could be a form issue or possibly posture issue. I struggle with certain movements due to tight wrists and rounded shoulders.