Power Beast Program: 3 Stage Powerbuilding Workout
Power Beast Program: 3 Stage Powerbuilding Workout
I run into a lot of guys who want much more than a bodybuilding program. They aren't bodybuilders, and aren't necessarily powerlifters, but they want the ultimate combination of impressive muscle size and the strength to back it up.

While there is a lot of talk about aesthetics in the fitness realm, powerbuilding often has a different slant. The focus isn't so much on balance - not that balance is a bad thing - but rather on making every muscle group from head to toe as strong as humanly possible.

Related: Massive Freak 4 Day Powerbuilding Program

This is my obsession.

I don't worry about weaknesses. I don't worry about balance. I treat every body part as being weak and small, and work hard to make each one bigger and stronger.

The power beast program will do just that.  It's designed to get you strong, big, brutal, and bold.

It's not strictly a bodybuilding program. It's not strictly a powerlifting program. Power beast is a powerbuilding workout; it will help you to build an amazing strength and muscle base, and even prep you should you decide to venture into either competitive sport.

A video posted by Steve Shaw (@bendthebarman) on



Article author and Tiger Fitness Editorial Director Steve Shaw performing 375x10 on squats at the age of 49.

3 Stages of the Power Beast

There are three distinct stages to this program. The only one you need to do is stage two. The other components of this workout system are optional.
  • Stage 1 - Optional rank beginner stage. If you're weak and unsure of exercise form, this 8 week stage will help you gain confidence and momentum in the gym. This stage is for beginners who have poor exercise form and are extremely weak.
  • Stage 2 - This is the meat and potatoes stage. Rather, the steak and cheesecake stage - or bacon and beer stage. Call it what you will, stage 2 is the core of the power beast workout. It is a 4 week cycle that will help you to bring up strength on the big core lifts: squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press.
  • Stage 3 - This is a more advanced stage for powerbuilders. Major lifts are cycled over a 8 week period. This stage can be used for peaking towards a new one rep max attempt.

Stage 1 - 8 Week Power Beast Primer

If you are extremely weak, then use this stage. Also, if you feel your form is awful on the big lifts, or you feel very shaky and unsure of yourself, then start here.

Here's how it works...

Start with 95 pounds on the bench press, 65 pounds on the military press, and 135 pounds on squats and deadlifts. During week one perform 3 sets of 5 reps. The following week, add a rep to each set. Here's the structure:
  • Week 1 - 3 sets x 5 reps
  • Week 2 - 3 sets x 6 reps
  • Week 3 - 3 sets x 7 reps
  • Week 4 - 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Week 5 - 3 sets x 9 reps
  • Week 6 - 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Week 7 - 3 sets x 11 reps
  • Week 8 - 3 sets x 12 reps
This doesn't seem like much of a strength increase, but it is. You will slowly build strength and confidence without overloading weight. At the end of this eight week period jump into stage 2.

Here is the 4 day split:
  • Day 1 - Squat Focus
  • Day 2 - Bench Focus
  • Day 3 - Off
  • Day 4 - Deadlift Focus
  • Day 5 - Military Press Focus
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off
For the assistance exercises, use the same weight for each set of a given exercise. When you are able to perform all the reps for each set, add weight.

There is no need to rush into adding weight, especially at the expense of form. On the other hand, stagnation is a gains killer. Push yourself safely. But at weight at every reasonable opportunity.

Progressive overload is king.
sQUAT fOCUS
StAGE 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats  3  * See above
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts  3  10
Bodyweight Lunges  3  10-20/Leg
Ab Wheel Rollouts  2  10
Seated Calf Raises  2  10-15
Barbell Shrugs  2  10
bench Press fOCUS
StAGE 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press  3  * See above
Pull Ups or Lat Pull Downs  3  10
Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press  3  10
Lying Triceps Extensions  3  12
Dumbbell Curls  3  10
Deadlift fOCUS
StAGE 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlifts  3  * See above
Goblet Squats  3  10
Leg Curls  3  12
Planks  2  60 sec
Standing Calf Raises  2  10-15
Dumbbell Shrugs  2  10
Military Press fOCUS
StAGE 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press  3  * See above
Barbell Rows  3  10
Dumbbell Bench Press  3  10
Cable Triceps Extensions  3  12
EZ Bar Curls  3  10

Stage 2 - 4 Week Power Beast Cycle

This is the meat and potatoes cycle. You will cycle weight intensity relative to your one rep max over the course of a four week period.

If you just finished stage 1, use the approximate one rep max listed below for each major lift:
  • Bench Press - 135 pounds
  • Squats - 200 pounds
  • Deadlifts - 200 pounds
  • Military Press - 95 pounds
Otherwise, use the following calculator to estimate your one rep max for each lift:

Click here to calculator your estimated one rep max (1RM)

Here are the major lift breakdowns for each week:
  • Week 1 - 67.5% x max, 60% x max, 52.5% x max
  • Week 2 - 75% x max, 67.5% x max, 60% x max
  • Week 3 - 82.5% x max, 75% x max, 67.5% x max
  • Week 4 - 90% x max, 82.5% x max, 75% x max
"Max" equals max reps. Push these sets for as many reps as possible, only stopping the set when either your form starts to slip or you feel like you might fail on the next rep.

Play it safe. Don't perform reps with bad form. That's a good way to increase your risk of injury. And please, do not train to failure. The body breaks down during failed reps on the major movements. Avoid this. Occasionally you might accidentally hit failure, that's OK. Just don't train to do so.



Assistance exercises. Assistance exercises will use the Rep Goal System. For more information on this protocol, check out my book Massive Iron. The Rep Goal System is easy:
  • Set effort. Push each for as many reps as possible, stopping the set when either your form starts to slip or you feel like you might fail on the next rep.
  • Total reps. Add up the total reps performed for all the sets. This is your Rep Total.  So if you are performing three sets on the bench press using 185 pounds, and the reps performed on these sets are 12, 9, and 7, The total reps performed is 28.
  • Progression. Advance in weight when the total number of reps performed is equal to or greater than the listen Rep Goal Total.
Note: A lot of people get confused by the Rep Goal Total. I want to stress that this is NOT the total number of sets performed for EACH set. It's the total reps performed for all listed sets.

So a "Rep Goal Total" of 25 if NOT 25 reps per set. You want to reach a total of 25 reps for ALL sets performed. Get it? Got it? Good.

Now, here's the schedule:
  • Day 1 - Squat Focus
  • Day 2 - Bench Focus
  • Day 3 - Off
  • Day 4 - Deadlift Focus
  • Day 5 - Military Press Focus
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off
sQUAT fOCUS
StAGE 2
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squats  3  * See above
Power Shrugs  2  20
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts  2  25
Barbell Rows  3  30
Leg Extensions  3  40
Ab Wheel Rollouts  2  10-15
Seated Calf Raise  2  30
bench Press fOCUS
StAGE 2
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press  3  * See above
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press  4  40
Superset: Push Ups/Side Laterals (No Rep Goal - Perform 20 push ups and 10 reps on side laterals. Add weight to laterals when possible)  3  20/10
Close Grip Bench Press  3  30
Dumbbell Curls  3  35
Deadlift fOCUS
StAGE 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlifts  3  * See above
Leg Press  2  35
Lat Pull Downs  3  35
Leg Curls  3  40
Hack Squats  2  20
Planks  2  60-90 sec
Standing Calf Raise  2  30
Military Press fOCUS
StAGE 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press  3  * See above
Dumbbell Bench Press  4  40
Superset: Low Cable Crossovers/Bent Over Laterals (No Rep Goal - Perform 12-15 cable crossovers and 10 reps on bent over laterals. Add weight when possible)  3  12-15/10
Cable Triceps Extensions  3  40
EZ Bar Curls  3  35

Stage 3 - 8 Week Power Beast Cycle

Use the same assistance exercises as you used during stage 2.

Stage 3 can be used to peak for a powerlifting meet or a new PR attempt. During the last several weeks you can reduce the volume of assistance exercises if desired.
  • Week 1 - 77.5% x max, 70% x max, 62.5% x max
  • Week 2 - 80% x max, 72.5% x max, 65% x max
  • Week 3 - 82.5% x max, 75% x max, 67.5% x max
  • Week 4 - 85% x max, 77.5% x max, 70% x max
  • Week 5 - 87.5% x max, 80% x max, 72.5% x max
  • Week 6 - 90% x max, 82.5% x max, 75% x max
  • Week 7 - 92.5% x max, 85% x max, 77.5% x max
  • Week 8 - 95% x max, 87.5% x max, 80% x max
  • Week 9 - New PR attempt