Advanced Heavy-Light-Medium Power Training
What follows is a program designed for intermediate to advanced powerlifters who would like to use the H-L-M program. This program is not for outright beginners. It's also best suited for those of you who are actually "built" for the three powerlifts. (Or at least built for two of them. This kind of training, for instance, is very effective in bringing up the numbers on my squat and deadlift. I have short legs, a fairly short torso, and long arms. Squats and deadlifts increase for me without my having to do much else other than squat and deadlift. For the bench press, I need a little something extra—but we'll get to that in due time.)
This workout program also tends to add muscle mass, so it might not be ideal for those of you who have trouble staying in one weight class.
Without further ado, here it is:
Monday: Heavy Day
Squats: Perform 3 to 4 progressively heavier sets of 5. Follow this with 5 work sets of 5 reps. An example series of sets might look like this:
Bench Presses: Perform 3 to 4 progressively heavier sets of 5. Follow this with 5 work sets of 5 reps.
Deadlifts: Same as the squats and bench presses; 3 to 4 progressively heavier 5s, 5 work sets of 5 reps.
Finish the workout session with a couple sets of overhead presses, dumbbell curls, skullcrushers, stiff-legged deadlifts, bent-over rows, or ab work. All of these sets should be fairly "light" and not all that taxing on your body's ability to recover. (More on what exercises you should choose in a little bit.)
Wednesday: Light Day
Squats: Perform 1 to 2 warm up sets of 5 reps, follow this with 5 sets of 5 reps with a lighter weight than on Monday. If you performed 375x5x5 on Monday's workouts, this session might look like this:
Dips or Incline Bench Presses: 2 to 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by 5 sets of 5 reps
Chins: 5 sets of 5 reps
Good Mornings: 5 sets of 5 reps (not counting warm-ups)
Friday: Medium Day
Even though this is a "medium" day, you are going to train heavier than on Monday. Don't worry, your total workload will be less.
Squats: Perform 3 to 5 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by 5 sets of 2 reps with a weight heavier than on Monday. If you squatted 375x5x5 on Monday, this workout might look like the following:
Bench Presses: Perform 3 to 5 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by 5 sets of 2 reps.
Deadlifts: Same as the squats and bench presses.
Finish the training session with some assistance work the same as on Monday, but rotate between different exercises each week.
When you come in to train on the following Monday, you will now try to use 5 sets of 5 reps with the same weight that you used 5 sets of 2 reps with on Friday. This goes for squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.
Make sure you begin the first week of training by not starting too heavy on all of your core exercises. This will give you some time to adjust to the volume and the intensity of the 5 sets of 5s on all of the Monday workouts.
This exercise program looks amazingly simple—which it is—but it's also tougher than you think... and effective.
If you are not built for a certain exercise, then this is where the majority of your "assistance" work should be focused. This means that if you have short legs, short arms, and are built like a "brick shithouse"—in other words, you ain't exactly built for deadlifting—then you need to make sure that you are doing plenty of rows, stiff-legged deadlifts, and other stuff of the like on your Monday and Friday workouts.
Okay, like I said, this program is really simple, but don't let that fool you (I mean, really don't let that fool you). After a few weeks of training, the "heavy" days should be pretty brutal to just make it through the squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. But the effort—if you can handle it—will be well worth it.