5 Day Powerlifting Split Workout - 16 Week Peak
5 Day Powerlifting Split Workout - 16 Week Peak
This is a 16 week strength building and peaking cycle that I plan on testing out leading into my next powerlifting meet. I've been using a similar structure for a year, only with a four day split.

The percentages are additions to my current programming. I have a tendency to train too hard and heavy each week, especially on squats and deadlifts. By using percentages, I hope to keep my lower back in better shape while peaking and adding pounds to each lift.

Related:
  • Day 1 - Heavy Squats, Deadlifts and Hamstrings
  • Day 2 - Bench and Triceps
  • Day 3 - Off
  • Day 4 - Quads and Abs
  • Day 5 - Back and Traps
  • Day 6 - Shoulders and Biceps
  • Day 7 - Off
Steve ShawI normally don't do five splits, but in this case I wanted to dedicate a single day to squats and deadlifts. There is a second squat session mixed in with quad work, but that's far less intense.

Heavy Squats and Deadlifts

This is a two week rotation. During Week A you will perform heavy deadlifts and moderate squats. During Week B you will perform heavy squats and moderate deadlifts.

Here are your deadlift workouts for the next 16 weeks. It is recommended that you make these pulls from a 4" block or rack height. if you prefer to pull from the floor, drop percentages by about 2.5%, and up to 5% if your lower back fatigues easily from floor pulling (like mine does).
  • Week 1 - 77.5% x 2 sets x 5 reps, 65% 2 sets x 10 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 2 - 72.5% x 2 sets x 4 reps, 60% 2 sets x 9 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 3 - 80% x 2 sets x 4 reps, 67.5% 2 sets x 9 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 4 - 75% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 62.5% 2 sets x 8 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 5 - 82.5% x 2 sets x 4 reps, 70% 2 sets x 8 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 6 - 77.5% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 65% 2 sets x 7 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 7 - 85% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 72.5% 2 sets x 7 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 8 - 80% x 2 sets x 2 reps, 67.5% 2 sets x 6 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 9 - 87.5% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 75% 2 sets x 7 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 10 - 82.5% x 2 sets x 2 reps, 70% 2 sets x 6 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 11 - 90% x 1 sets x 3 reps, 77.5% 2 sets x 6 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 12 - 85% x 1 sets x 2 reps, 72.5% 2 sets x 5 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 13 - 92.5% x 1 sets x 2 reps, 80% 1 sets x 6 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 14 - 87.5% x 1 sets x 1 reps, 75% 1 sets x 5 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 15 - 95% x 1 sets x 2 reps, 82.5% 1 sets x 5 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 16 - 90% x 1 sets x 1 reps, 77.5% 1 sets x 4 reps (BACK-OFF)
Here are your squat workouts for the next 16 weeks.
  • Week 1 - 72.5% x 2 sets x 4 reps, 65% 2 sets x 6 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 2 - 80% x 2 sets x 4 reps, 72.5% 2 sets x 6 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 3 - 75% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 67.5% x 2 sets x 5 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 4 - 82.5% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 75% 2 sets x 5 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 5 - 77.5% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 70% x 2 sets x 4 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 6 - 85% x 2 sets x 3 reps, 77.5% x 2 sets x 4 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 7 - 80% x 2 sets x 2 reps, 72.5% x 2 sets x 3 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 8 - 87.5% x 2 sets x 2 reps, 80% x 2 sets x 3 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 9 - 82.5% x 2 sets x 2 reps, 75% x 2 sets x 3 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 10 - 90% x 2 sets x 2 reps, 82.5% x 2 sets x 3 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 11 - 85% x 1 set x 1 rep, 77.5% x 2 sets x 2 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 12 - 92.5% x 1 set x 1 rep, 85% x 2 sets x 2 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 13 - 87.5% x 1 set x 1 rep, 80% x 1 sets x 2 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 14 - 95% x 1 set x 1 rep, 87.5% x 1 sets x 2 reps (HEAVY)
  • Week 15 - 90% x 1 set x 1 rep, 82.5% x 1 set x 2 reps (BACK-OFF)
  • Week 16 - 97.5% x 1 set x 1 rep, 90% x 1 set x 2 reps (HEAVY)

Heavy Bench Press

No back-off weeks here. The focus will be on volume and ramping intensity. Sets will be pushed for as many reps as possible. Stop each set under only 2 conditions:
  1. You feel like you might fail on the next rep.
  2. Your form starts to dramatically slip. We don't want you getting inured.
  • Week 1 - 82.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 72.5% 1 sets x max reps, 62.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 2 - 85% x 2 sets x max reps, 75% 1 sets x max reps, 65% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 3 - 87.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 77.5% 1 sets x max reps, 67.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 4 - 90% x 2 sets x max reps, 80% 1 sets x max reps, 70% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 5 - 92.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 82.5% 1 sets x max reps, 72.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 6 - 85% x 2 sets x max reps, 75% 1 sets x max reps, 65% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 7 - 87.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 77.5% 1 sets x max reps, 67.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 8 - 90% x 2 sets x max reps, 80% 1 sets x max reps, 70% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 9 - 92.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 82.5% 1 sets x max reps, 72.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 10 - 95% x 2 sets x max reps, 85% 1 sets x max reps, 75% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 11 - 87.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 77.5% 1 sets x max reps, 67.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 12 - 90% x 2 sets x max reps, 80% 1 sets x max reps, 70% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 13 - 92.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 82.5% 1 sets x max reps, 72.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 14 - 95% x 2 sets x max reps, 85% 1 sets x max reps, 75% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 15 - 97.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 87.5% 1 sets x max reps, 77.5% 1 sets x max reps
  • Week 16 - 87.5% x 2 sets x max reps, 77.5% 1 sets x max reps, 67.5% 1 sets x max reps (BACK-OFF)
For all assistance exercises, add weight when you can. Remember, the point is to gain strength - not just to randomly knock out reps. Push your sets hard.
Squats and Deadlifts
Powerlifting Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Heavy - Squats or Deadlifts
 Moderate - Squats or Deadlifts
 Romanian Deadlifts or Reverse Hack Squats  2  10
 Leg Curls  4  12 to 15
 Planks  3  60 to 120 sec
Romanian deadlifts. Perform Romanian deadlifts during your heavy deadlift week and reverse hack squats on your heavy squat week.

Leg curls. Cat be standing or seated variations.
Bench and Triceps
Powerlifting Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  4
 Dumbbell Bench Press  3  15
 Push Ups  2  Max
 Machine Chest Press  2  15
 Close Grip Bench Press  3  12
 Cable Triceps Extensions  3  15
Machine Chest Press. Can be replaced with any non-compound chest exercise.
Quads and Abs
Powerlifting Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Squats  2  10
 Superset: Leg Extensions  4  15
 Superset: Box Jumps  4  10
 Single Leg Press  3  15
 Bodyweight Lunges  1  50-100
 Ab Wheel Rollouts  3  10-20
Box Jumps. If you don't feel comfortable performing high box jumps, substitute in jump squats or bodyweight lunges. If you use bodyweight lunges as a part of the superset, switch your 50 to 100 rep set to high rep leg presses.
Back and Traps
Powerlifting Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Dumbbell Rows  2  15
 Seated Cable Rows  4  15
 Lat Pull Downs  4  15
 T-Bar Rows  4  15
 Power Shrugs  3  15
Lifting Straps. Use lifting straps or Versa Gripps during your back work. The point isn't to challenge your grip strength, it's to build a brutally strong back. If your grip is weak, add some grip training during the week.
Shoulders and Biceps
Powerlifting Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Seated Dumbbell Press  3  10
 Superset: Bulldozer Laterals  3  10
 Superset: Dumbbell Upright Rows  3  10
 Machine Shoulder Press  2  15
 Reverse Dumbbell Flyes  2  15
 Preacher Dumbbell Curl  3  15
 Reverse Grip Lat Pull Downs  3  15
Biceps. You can really use any biceps exercise you prefer. Just use a mix of a straight bar and dumbbell movements, or a dumbbell/barbell exercise along with a machine movement.

Bulldozer Laterals. Watch thew video below to see the proper way to use this exercise, and how to perform this superset.