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The Pat Reeves Power Page - Routines from the British Powerlifting champion

Beginners powerlifting programme - (assuming some previous bodybuilding training).

I am here accepting that trainees who attempt this routine are from a general weight-training background and have a sound knowledge of the necessary technique. Otherwise please, at least initially, work with a suitably qualified personal trainer until such time as these techniques are mastered.
With beginners the main objective will be the progressive development of power, although there is also some small skill element attached to the three power lifts. At this point, there is no particular requirement to practice specific skill exercises. The training objectives are strength, speed, power, courage and fitness - more about that later.

Monday and Wednesday

High Pull - 3 x 8,
Upright rowing 3 x 8
Squat 6 x 8
Bench press 6 x 8
Lat Pull to front of chest 3 x 8
Tricep pushdown 3 x 8
Abdominal work 3 x 10-15


Power cleans 3 x 8
Front squat 6 x 8
Dead Lift 6 x 8
Shrug 3 x 8
Seated incline D/B press 3 x 8
Hyperextension 3 x 8
Dumbbell side bend 3 x 10

Ensure good body positions are maintained throughout - never sacrifice technique for extra weight. Don't be too anxious to increase poundage's in the early stages and ensure that each repetition is performed in good style.

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Intermediate & Advanced

I don't consider it so necessary to divide intermediate and advanced lifters into different ability groups. Once the basics have been learnt, training for all powerlifters can go along similar lines. The only difference will be in the sporting calendar - e.g. some lifters will be making divisional championships their objective, whilst others may be aiming at national or even world championships. The training cycle for the powerlifter for each major competition may be broadly divided into two phases - Preparation phase and Competition phase:

PREPARATION PHASE - The length of this phase will ultimately depend upon the number of major competitions the lifter is preparing for. The national squad lifter, for example, will probably compete three times a year; at the divisional championships, the nationals and hopefully the worlds; whereas a lifter of lesser ability may only compete twice - at county and divisional levels. It is unlikely ever to exceed 12 weeks and in most cases will be 8-10 weeks.
Bodybuilding exercises play a major part at this stage, some fitness and endurance training should also be undertaken. There should be no emphasis on the competition lifts, but assistance exercises such as narrow stance squats, narrow grip presses and straight legged dead lift could be incorporated. This period would take up to within eight weeks of the competition and the body weight would be at approximately competition weight. Exercises should be performed fast and rest periods between sets should be cut to a minimum, to increase muscular endurance.

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upright rowing 3 x 8
lat pulldown 3 x 8
narrow stance squat 5 x 8
seated incline dumbbell press 5 x 8
shrug 3 x 8
screw curl 3 x 8
bent leg sit-ups 5 x 20


power clean 3 x 8
bent-over rowing 3 x 8
narrow grip bench press 5 x 8
front squat 5 x 8
good morning 3 x 8
triceps exercise 3 x 8
dumbbell side bend 3 x 10


high pull 3 x 8
bent-arm pullover 3 x 8
leg press 3 x 8
leg curl 3 x 8
straight leg deadlift 4 x 8
bench press 3 x 8
hyperextension 5 x 10

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Day one -

Squat (competition stance) 2 x 5 Knee wraps 2 x 3, Knee wraps 2 x 2
bench press (competition position 3 x 3, 2 x 2, 3 x 1
dead-lift 1 x 5, 1 x 3, 3 x 1 (wrist wraps), ab work and stretching.

Day two -

power clean 3 x 3,
triceps exercise 3 x 5,
good mornings 3 x 5,
seated incline d/b press, lat pull, 1 x 5, 2 x 3;
ab work.

Day three -

squat 1 x 5, 1 x 3, 2 x 2, 3 x 1,
bench press 1 x 5, 2 x 3,
2 x 2. Dead-lift 1 x 6, 1 x 4,
2 x 3, plus abs.

Day four -

This should be as day two, or alternatively it can be used for grip work and short-range power movements i.e. half squat, dead-lift from boxes and dead-lift from standing on blocks.

The intensity of workouts can now be stepped up and more emphasis be placed upon the competition power lifts, together with really heavy bodybuilding work. One would expect the bodyweight to increase 3-5% above competitive body weight, and remain that high until approximately seven days before the competition. Fitness training can be reduced and repetitions drastically cut. and particular attention paid to technique on the three lifts. The three power lifts must be the core of the programme. The final seven days before a competition can best be described as an active rest period. Some lifters like a full sevens days rest period. Others - like me (!) take less rest than the heavier lifters. Basically, I work right up to the day of the competition.

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