3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine

3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine

Sometimes you want to train  like a powerlifter and a bodybuilder… This is called powerbuilding.

Goal Of This Workout

This routine will help you pack on some mass while increasing your big 3 lifts for the platform.

Diet and Nutrition Tips

I would recommend going on a slow bulk for this routine to get the most out of it. It is easier to cut some fat afterwards than trying to make strength gains on a calorie deficit.

If you keep your weight consistent and need some tips to add calories into your diet, here are some of the best and healthiest ways to do so:

  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Whole milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Cheese on everything
  • Protein shakes
  • Peanut butter
  • Olive oil
  • Extra dressing

These all add flavor and healthy fats to your diet. Personally, I prefer adding calories through this means instead of going to McDonalds and smashing a couple McDoubles.

You will feel better, have more energy, and your stomach will thank you.

Note: A little bit goes a long way, so be sure to know how many calories you are adding.

Recommended Supplements

Without a good diet, supplementation is mostly a waste of money. I will be the first to tell you to spend money on some good meats than a jug of protein.

For those who have their diets in check, here are the supplements I would use with this routine.


MTS Nutrition Clash

I personally like apple mango, but all flavors are good.

This is a great blend without too many stimulants.


MTS Machine Whey Protein: 5lbs

This is in my opinion the best tasting protein on the market. Period.

Great blend with no secrets, no amino spiking, and it is some of the best in the industry.

So far I’ve had Red Velvet, Cookies and Cream, and Key Lime. All are A+.

MTS Nutrition Protein


MTS Nutrition Machine Fuel

Marc Lobliner has his sweetening on point with these supplements.

I’ve used mixed berry and grape and I love them both.


Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine

I have a review of Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine and it’s a tried and true supplement. It will help with performance and recovery. I highly recommend this.

Cardio and Conditioning Schedule

Conditioning is one of the most important things you can work on to improve your lifts, endurance, and stamina. Improving conditioning also improves life out of the gym.

This particular routine focuses a bit on conditioning, core strength, and mobility.

Once you start lifting relatively heavier weights, you’re going to start breaking form because of muscle weaknesses, lack of conditioning/muscle endurance and mobility issues; so lets address them here.

Warming Up

For your pre-workout warm up, start by walking for 3 minutes and follow-up with a 30 second balls-to-the-walls high intensity sprint. Finish off with 90 seconds of walking.

This “shock” is going to prime your body to train hard and helps get your core body temperature up.

Post Workout Conditioning

I’m not big on citing research materials and I sure as hell am not interested in doing the scientific leg work, but doing high intensity interval training will help improve your muscle and strength gains.

The Plan:

  • 5 minutes brisk walking
  • 30 seconds jogging
  • 30 seconds walking
  • 30 seconds sprinting
  • 30 seconds walking
  • 45 seconds sprinting
  • 1 minute walking
  • 1 minute jogging
  • 1 minute walking
  • 30 seconds full sprinting
  • 1.5 minutes walking slowly tapering down to finish

Cardio and Conditioning Tips

This sounds like some special formula but it isn’t; this is a template, if you don’t follow it exactly, you’re fine.

What I want to make you aware of is warming up and priming your body for high intensity training.

Don’t get stuck on the numbers, if you have poor conditioning, add longer walk (resting) periods and strive to recover faster.

3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine Schedule

Here is a sample schedule for this routine:

  • Monday – Day 1
  • Tuesday – Off
  • Wednesday – Day 2
  • Thursday – Off
  • Friday – Day 3
  • Saturday – Off
  • Sunday – Off

The actual days you train do not matter, the time off does. For example, I go Friday, Sunday, Tuesday.

Recovery is number 1 priority, so don’t try to make this a 6 day routine or never take days off.

3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine

Day 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 8
Military Press 4 12
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 8
Lat Pull Downs 4 8+*
Reverse Hypers 4 10
Cross Body Hammer Curls 4 15


Day 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench 3 8
Dumbbell Incline Bench 3 8
Barbell Rows 3 8
Skull Crushers 4 15
Rear Delt Lateral Raise 4 8
Reverse Hypers 4 10


Day 3
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlifts 3 8
1 Arm Dumbbell Rows 5 5
Face Pulls 4 12
Dumbbell Shrugs 3 8
Seated Close Grip Row 4 12
Curls 4 15

Workout Tips

+* – Use these as burnout sets. Pick a weight that you can get 8 and push each set to near failure.

Form: I’m not a form nazi but I will tell you that if you go too heavy you are not going to get as much benefit as if you were doing a lighter weight with better form and stronger contractions. Make sure you are getting quality work in.

Progressively overload: Strive to get stronger each time you do an exercise. Make sure to keep a training log and strive to add 5 pounds to the bar each time you go.


Sharing is caring, and as always leave any comments or questions below!

39 thoughts on “3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine

  1. Hi Cutty,

    I’ve been doing the strength building routine that you have – successfully, if I do say so myself. The only problem I’ve had is that with me being me I’m consistently trying to push for more; more reps, or more weight; each week. Due to this, my attention swayed and I seemed to had lost form slightly on squats, and felt a twang in my right inner quad just over a week ago.

    Luckily, I had last week off as I was on Holiday anyway, and am currently taking a break from it all this week too, as I’m feeling exhausted after all those late nights and early mornings – hey, I was on holiday….you gotta have some fun right? 🙂

    Anyway, I’ll be getting back in to it again from Sunday onwards, and was thinking about taking a break from the strength training routine, and moving over to this one. This time I promise I’ll pay more attention to my form, and not get any twangs!!

    Would you consider this a good routine to move over to? I’m looking to be in and out of the gym in about 45 minutes max.

    Your mate Dave 😉

    1. Dave,

      I’m glad to hear your progress. This would be great to move over to. Some times you can’t move up or you just aren’t “feelin it” and that’s ok. Once you start getting more acclimated with your body, you’ll know when you pour on the progress vs maybe cutting it short before you pick up a slight injury. Or you could be bull-headed like me and just say to heck with it and keep going :).

      Taking a step back and focusing on form will help you out. Try to record your sets if possible so you can see everything that may be going wrong. 45 Minutes should be plenty of time to do this routine.

      Let me know how you progress,


  2. Greeting! I’m interested in the exercises which can substitute
    reverse hypers and face pulls? I train at home, I have a cage,
    bench, barbell and dumbbells.

    1. Try Romanian deadlifts for for the reverse hypers and just do bent over rear delt lateral raises like on day 2 and you should be alright.

      Lucky you to have a home gym… I’m jealous. 🙂

  3. thank you! and I’ve exchanged lat pull downs to pull ups, close grip seated row with T-bar row. cage and benches are a wife’s gift for wedding anniversary, because I had a crappy old bench that was no longer safe for exercise. and sorry for my bad english 😉

  4. I know, but I asked you wich exercise can replace reverse hypers and you replied that can be replaced by Romanian DL. I tried it and it was a little too much for hamstrings.

    1. Ah yes my apologies, that’s been a while ago hah. Try doing some walking lunges and see how that works for ya. It’ll help get you a bit more work on hammies without destroying them.

      Sorry about that,


  5. Hi there.

    I intend to take up this program. But wanted some guidance on choosing weights at the start. For example, I’ve seen some powerbuilding forums talk about starting with 60-70% of your one rep max and pile on with marginal weights as you get stronger.

    Please advice

    1. If you started at 70% of 1rm that would be a great place to start. You won’t be breaking any personal records for a couple of months but you will be able to bring up your weaknesses and recover quickly during the first couple of months. Strive to add 5 pounds every time you go in. So if you start at 225, go 230 next week, 235 next week, etc.

      Good luck Arun.

  6. Hey. Thank you for sharing this routine. I have a question – is it good routine for me?
    I’ve been working out for a year. My weight is 182 lbs
    bench 295
    squat 400
    deadlift 425
    If no, could you recommend something that will work for me?

    1. Franky, I would try her out and see how you progress. I imagine you’re getting close to needing to use some periodization… simply adding more weight will eventually stop.

      I would say run her and if you cannot progress linearly, switch up to some periodization.

  7. Hey Cutty, this program looks really good. A couple questions:1. what are cross body hammer curls?(are they just hammers to the chest?) 2.can I get some forearm and calf exercises in there?(maybe on off days?) 3. Is there anything you’d change in the program now? 4.this is full body right? 5. Do I need to do the exercises one after the other like they are written? Thank you Cutty!

    1. Yes on the hammer curl question. Instead of directly in front of you, swing in and up towards your chest. You’ll feel a huge differece.

      Calves and forearms are small muscles, add them in if you feel they need work. I’ve never had any clients need to add it in but it wouldn’t hurt.

      The routine is based off of basic lifts and progression, there’s no need to change what works. But as long as you focus on progression you can pretty much do whatever you’d like to.

      This routine is based off of a powerlifting setup – you have your squat day, bench day, and deadlift day with exercises that help build that lift.

      The only part of order you need to follow is get the big compound lifts done first. I would say always do at least the first exercise (squat, bench, deadlift) first and then do whatever after those. This ensures you are fresh and not fatigued and as injury prone than if you were to do them towards the end of the routine.

      Good luck and keep me updated!

    1. Remember that mindset is everything. Make lofty goals and obsess about them until you achieve them.

      I hit my (at the time) life goal of a 605 deadlift after invoking so much emotion and desire to achieve it. Visualize your goals and put in the work needed to get there.

      Good luck!

  8. Hey Cutty, me again 😀 sorry to bother you but do I need to do pause benching?(I won’t compete in powerlifting) (for hypotrophy).

    1. Pause benching is a great tool for sticking points and to build more strength off of the chest. I would recommend only using it when you start hitting sticking points of plateaus. It doesn’t hurt to do them whether you compete or not.

  9. Sorry I have so many questions but are the rows like bent over or like pendelay? Are the reverse hypers weighted?
    And can I replace the SLDL with good mornings?

    1. No worries about questions, sorry I have been busy and unable to answer them quicker.

      If you are comfortable doing Pendelay rows, they are great for building explosive power. The bent over rows I’m talking about are just regular bent over barbell rows. Do both, one week do one type and the next week another.

      If you can do good mornings, those are much better than SLDL for hamstrings. You could also do like the rows and switch them up as you go. As long as you note the weights used and strive for progression, either will work just fine.

  10. Hey Cutty, I’m very interested in starting this program, I had neck surgery years ago and had cancer about two years ago, I’m just getting back into the gym after a 2 year layoff. I’ve been going strong for about 6 months, and noticing I’ve gained a lot of my strength back ( muscle memory is real) but not where I used to be, BP was 600 now 505, DL was 700 now 550 and SQ was 685 now 500, do you think this program will help me get nearer to what I was lifting before, keep in mind I’m trying to lose about 75 pounds of the weight I’ve put on from my hiatus….. Would this program help

    1. I think the volume will help build the endurance and conditioning back up for sure.

      If you start running into being unable to progressively add weight, you’ll definitely have to switch up to periodization.

  11. Hi Cutty, I have just started using this workout plan last week. What are your reasons to making the 1 arm DB row to a 5×5 instead of for example a 3×10?

    1. If you’re not struggling to get the 5th rep on your set, you are using way too light of a weight.

      It’s meant for big, heavy dumbbell rows. Not 30 pound rows.

  12. Thank you Cutty for this powerbuilding program! Im on my 5th week with steady gains and many people are noticing i am becoming more muscular. Mind you ive been lifting for years and im in my upper 40’s. I love the pre and post workout conditioning. Also the popping in my right shoulder was fixed after about 2 to 3 weeks in. My squats and deads keep increasing 5lbs a week but my presses have stalled maybe getting a little weaker but im also getting more cut at the same time. Any advice on my presses stalling? Thanks, Dr. Lou

    1. Dr. Lou

      Thank you for the kind words and great job on the progress. Pressing has always been a weak point for me and there’s a few options you could try. One, I’d invite you to check out my Build a Bigger Bench article. It’ll give you a lot of information on fixing form and addressing weak points.

      After you’ve read that and you still are having issues, I would either drop the weight down some (say 90% of your working weight now) and start over. Maybe increase warm ups and try different tempos. Paused bench works well for me, even if I add in one or two paused reps (one in the beginning, one in the end) and really hammer down on form. The smallest rolling of your wrists can ruin your leverage.

      Let me know how this works for you!

  13. Thank you for the advice and the reminder about rolling the wrists. I used to pay attention to that more. I will keep it in mind when i do chest day this coming Tuesday. I did bench again before i got ur reply and i did a little better with the same weight I used the previous week. Thank you for your help!

  14. Hi Cutty, I am very keen on starting this programme but got a few questions. Can add like some cardio on my days off

  15. For the main lifts (bench, squat, dead) you list 3 x 8. Should I use same weight for all 3 sets and go for AMAP on last set?

    1. You could do the regular pyramid way like most people do, or you can use the same weight every working set. I prefer using the same weight due to being easier than having to load the bar, and you get a completely different feeling in set 3 than you would if you upped the weight every time. I feel it’s easier for me and definitely my favorite way.

      If you can rip out some extra reps on the AMAP part, that’s definitely good. You don’t have to go until you’re doing bad form just to get a half rep, but put some effort into it and you’ll notice a difference.

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