A few years ago I started implementing a technique called powerbuilding. The bottom line was that I was tired of the back and forth of bulking and cutting phases. Often times when you go through a bulking phase you end up gaining more body fat than expected. And when you start cutting up you end up sacrificing size and strength.
Of course these concepts may be necessary to some degree if you’re competing in bodybuilding. But me personally, I prefer to stay somewhere in the middle whereas I may not get super ripped but I still want to see some striations and definition, and obviously not carry too much body fat. On the other hand I also want to keep getting bigger and stronger. it’s the best of both worlds kind of thing.
What is Powerbuilidng?
Powerbuilding may not be a popular concept to some but there are those who incorporate this technique into their training. Powerbuilding is basically a mixture of both bodybuilding and powerlifting styles of training. There are some that even compete in bodybuilding and powerlifting.
On a professional level most athletes focus on either bodybuilding or powerlifting, but rarely both (IFBB pro bodybuilder Johnnie Jackson is one of the few that has been successful at both although it’s evident his primary focus is bodybuilding).
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What you’ll find with the mass monsters of professional bodybuilding is most of them claim to have got their dense muscle mass from powerlifting in their early days. However you won’t find many powerlifters that compete in bodybuilding due to the calorie restrictions when prepping for a bodybuilding contest may compromise strength and power.
Most recreational gym rats (myself included) aspire to be big and strong which doesn’t work on a calorie restricted diet. But at the same time we don’t want layers of fat covering up our hard earned muscle. In a sense we want more muscle definition than what the average powerlifter has. For people like me that have never had much interest in competing at either, the training concept of powerbuilding has granted me the best of both worlds on a nonprofessional level.
You can get a solid balance of strength, mass, and definition mixing both bodybuilding and powerlifting training methods. I often start my workouts with a heavy compound movement using heavy weights and lower reps, usually in the 4-6 rep range. I’ll follow that up with more reps (usually around the 8-12 rep range) on my remaining exercises for that body part and will focus more on muscle contractions.
You can overload the muscle really well with heavier weights and then go to feeling the muscle work with a little higher rep range (this doesn’t mean wuss out with light weight!). Below is an example of a powerbuilding chest workout.
Sample Powerbuilding Chest Workout
Bench Press – 5 stes x 4-6 reps
Heavy weight with a focus is on power.
Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets x 8-12 reps
You’re still going pretty heavy but make sure you feel the muscle working on each rep.
Cable Crossovers – 4 sets x 12 reps
Your last exercise is usually a more isolated exercise so you want to really hone in of muscle contractions on every rep.
You can add in more or less exercises, change the number of sets or even the number of reps. But the basic concept is implementing heavy compound powerlifting movements up front followed by more of a bodybuilding training style.
This type of weight training allows you to utilize heavy weights for building strength yet you’ll also focus on the pump on the concentrated exercises. The latter is what builds the muscle tissue. Try this powerbuilding style for a few weeks.
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