The Ultimate Guide to Powerbuilding (Strength & Size)

September 4, 2017 Published by

The foundational elements of training routine creation are paramount to success for everyone who ever plans on building an appreciable amount of strength and muscular size. This article is going to teach you on how to just that through a unique type of training called ‘powerbuilding’.

Powerbuilding is becoming a prominent way of training for many gym goers because it gives you the best of both worlds in terms of bodybuilding and powerlifting. 

Best of all, powerbuilding is simple to follow and will help you make consistent progress week-in and week-out. Give it a read and get ready for some gains!

Constant Progression Is Key

Progression is ultimately what drives muscle tissue to grow. If you’re not constantly challenging your body with higher weight, more volume, and other intensity techniques, there’s simply no reason for your muscles to grow (i.e. adapt). 

However, it gets a little trickier for intermediate and advanced trainees than just simply adding weight to the bar because, as you progress, progress gets tougher. 

Basically, you need to employ other tactics to keep progressing. This can include things like slower rep cadences (to increase time under tension), using bands/chains, drop sets, rest-pause sets, and forced reps.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t make much sense to train if you’re not trying to improve your capabilities. Who wants to put in hours upon hours of effort into their gym routine just to remain the same? Not us (and hopefully not you).

Just think about the last time you saw a massive guy in the gym who wasn’t able to move some impressive amount of weights? Or the last time you saw a scrawny kid benching 405lbs? Odds are it’s a rare sighting.

This is why powerbuilding makes the most sense in the long run.

Progressing and adding more weight each week will be challenging, that’s the point. Adding both Nitrosurge & Pumpsurge as your pre-gym ritual stack will provide you with the kick start you need from ingredients backed by science at effective dosages to ensure you will absolutely crush each training session.

Explaining the Variables of Training

The concepts found below are integral to understand how to create an optimal training routine :

  • Volume (i.e. total ‘work’ completed) = Sets x Reps
  • Research demonstrates training volume, not intensity, is what dictates the muscle protein synthetic response in response to training (assuming each exercise is taken to failure/near failure) 
  • Intensity = How much weight you’re using in comparison to your one-rep maximum (e.g. heavier weights are more ‘intense’)
  • Frequency = How many times you train a muscle/muscle group in a given timeframe
  • Time under tension = Time the muscle is spent under load (tension)

Powerbuilding = Powerlifting + Bodybuilding

Powerlifting and resistance training for pure strength is primarily neurological; in simpler terms, being able to lift your absolute max for one repetition requires different motor recruitment patterns than lifting a lighter weight for multiple repetitions. 

Moreover, force output revolves your capacity to recruit motor units. When you activate a motor unit, a cascade of chemical events cause the linked muscle fibers to forcefully contract. Therefore, the more you practice heavy resistance training, the more adapted your neuromuscular system will be.

Bodybuilding, on the contrary, is mainly about placing as much stress on target muscles as possible. This is simply done by using sufficient weight and volume, repeatedly.

So in many ways, bodybuilding is kind of a brainless process, since all you really need to do is use a modest amount of weight and move it around time and time again. 

Obviously, bodybuilders aren’t immediately concerned about being strong. However, if you increase your strength, you ultimately create a greater potential to grow in the long run. Otherwise, you will be stuck lifting the same weights and your body won’t have much reason to grow.

Nevertheless, prioritizing heavy resistance training can hinder hypertrophy training due to large amounts of stress it places on the nervous system.

Multiple Rep Ranges for Elite Results

As noted earlier, training volume is the main determinant of muscle growth. Yet, training your neuromuscular system with heavy weights (low reps) is necessary to increase strength.

Hence, you must incorporate multiple workouts each week that focus on differing intensities and rep ranges for optimal progress.

This is the beauty of powerbuilding, because it does just that.

Powerbuilding Training Frequency

Traditional bodybuilding wisdom will have you believe that you should train each muscle once a week with loads of volume. However, this is far from efficient. 

After an intense training bout, muscle protein synthesis increases for upwards of three days and then returns to baseline values.

Essentially, if you only train each group once per week, you’re greatly inhibiting growth potential. It’s analogous to only eating one massive meal per day and then fasting the rest of the day. It might ‘work’ for a while, but you could be getting so much more out of your diet. Training is no different.

Keep in mind, also, that size and strength are far from mutually exclusive. If anything, they go hand-in-hand. Powerbuilding accommodates that principle by allowing to dedicate days each week to building strength and size.

Powerbuilding Training Split Explained

Training splits are your structure for the week and exactly how you program sessions and plan out over the course of the seven days. So people may tell you they have a 5-day split, training a muscle group once per week. That means they train five days in a calendar week; usually, each session targets one muscle group (which is a generally inferior way of setting up your training).

At Jacked Factory, we do things differently. If you want slow results, train like the example above (that’s the way the majority of people train, sadly.) As a beginner, you’ll get results with almost anything you do; but as a regular (novice) gym goer, you can start mixing it up.

Powerbuilding training splits focus on training each muscle group at least twice per week.  More frequency is ideal for novices as there is still plenty of room for growth and improvement.

Our recommended powerbuilding split involves five weight training sessions per week. You may be asking why not six or seven? Put simply, more is not always better.

This training routine is split into two power days and three hypertrophy days. This will ensure your entire muscular system gets sufficient volume, intensity, and frequency throughout the week. It also ensures you will have enough recovery time; that’s where the magic of muscle growth happens.

Power Days Explained

Both Monday and Tuesday are heavy days which will focus mostly on the rep range of 8 or less. Your focus on these days is lifting heavy, but never to failure.

You should not sacrifice performance or load across these days just to train to failure. Keep your performance levels and recovery high. These are high performance and high skill days, not days to obliterate yourself.

  • Warming up: It’s important to prevent injuries on power days by warming up your muscles and nervous system. It is best to perform 2-3 light sets on your first exercise by slowly incrementing the weight up to the working weight you will be using for the first ‘true’ set. This will give your body the chance to prepare itself for moving some heavy-ass weights. Yea buddy!


  • Picking your weights: Pick an approximate weight for each set that you can perform the number of repetitions required while still leaving 1-2 repetitions “in the tank.” Write down weights used and aim to add 5-10% more weight to each set or 1-2 extra repetitions on the weight used previously. You should be progressing week-to-week.


  • Rest: On heavy days, rest as long as required to keep your strength high. 3-5 minutes between heavy sets should be plenty of time for your central nervous system (CNS) to recover.

Hypertrophy Days Explained

After a good rest on Wednesday, you will dedicate Thursday, Friday and Saturday to using lower intensity but increasing your volume! So in other words, lighter weights but you lift them a whole lot more!

  • Warming up: The same principles apply as on heavy days; make sure you get some blood flowing and joints warmed up for the volume ahead. One training day won’t make you, but it can break you. So take your time getting the blood flowing; an injury is the last thing we want to deal with at this point.


  • Picking your weights: For the light days leave a few more in the tank. Pick a weight where you can complete the repetitions required with 3-4 hard repetitions left in the tank. We want you lifting more weight, for as many times as you can throughout these days. Obliterating your muscles early on won’t help keep your volume high. More advanced protocols can be used later when progress stalls and you are ready to upgrade to a hardened-level program.


  • Rest: The lighter weights will be more taxing on your actual muscles and cardiovascular system because the amount of repetitions you are doing, not so much the intensity of the weight lifted. You shouldn’t need as much rest as those bodily systems recover faster. 60-120 seconds rest should suffice.

Powerbuilding Summary

This powerbuilding routine is one of the infinitely many ways you can set up a program. The key is to consistently progress whenever possible (ideally each week).

Remember, without constant progression, your muscles will have no reason to adapt (grow). Being strong isn’t inherently requisite for muscle growth, but it expands your capacity to grow in the long run.

Optimize your recovery and perform better with Growth Surge by Jacked Factory. Scientifically-dosed and formulated with premium, quality ingredients designed to maximize recovery, growth, and enhance performance to help achieve those Powerbuilding gains in no time!

Therefore, powerbuilding bridges the gap between bodybuilding and powerlifting so you can build a physique that isn’t all show and no go.

Related: The Ultimate Bulking Guide – How to Build Muscle Fast

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About the author

Elliot Reimers

  • Josh Bev

    Hey I was curious, how come there isn’t any regular deadlifts in this routine? I mean it’s half powerlifting and isn’t a dead lift a powerlift exercise?

    • Eric Chipman

      i guess you could implement your own deadlift scheme on lower body hypertrophy days? Maybe just reduce the sets of DB Stiff-Legged Deadlifts to 3 sets instead of 4.

    • Dan

      Id say on the lower body power day alternate weeks. Week 1 squat and stifflegs. Week 2 Deadlift and front squat.

  • Abraham

    So you can do heavy deadlifts first on lower body Hypertrophy day and what rep range do you recommend? Thanks

  • Jose Corona

    Hi, this is an amazing program, I will start it tomorrow with no doubt.
    Just one question, on rest days a light run or a baseball game (I play sunday league baseball) can be accepted? of course to not decrease the next day performance.

    Thank you,

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