The PRIME powerbuilding program is a 4 week training routine designed to increase the one rep max of the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press and build muscle mass. It is similar to 5/3/1 in that it follows a 4 week cycle and focuses on one compound lift per training session.
There are a lot of notes included in the spreadsheet. These are also reproduced on the source page for this program, which is way easier to read on a mobile device vs. the spreadsheet.
As I mentioned above, the layout of this program is quite similar to 5/3/1 with a bunch of bodybuilding accessories tacked on.
- Each cycle of the program lasts four weeks.
- The fourth week is a deload week.
- The program has four training sessions per week, with each session focusing on a major compound movement.
- The focus lift is programmed for 5+ reps @ 85% in week 1, 3+ reps @ 90% in week 2, and 1+ reps @ 95% during week 3.
- After the primary movement, a variation is performed. For example, incline bench press is performed after bench press, front squat is performed after squat, and so on.
- You can choose whichever lift variations you’d prefer to perform.
- Finally, 4 or 5 accessory movements are hit for high rep sets to help induce hypertrophy. This is where the “building” part of powerbuilding is achieved.
- All of your accessory work will utilize rate of perceived exertion (RPE). As a reminder, a framework for RPE is included below.
- If you’re not sure what powerbuilding is, I recommend checking out our post on What Is Powerbuilding?
Another way to think of RPE is to use reps in reserve (RIR). By subtracting the number of reps in reserve you have at the end of a set (i.e. how many additional reps you think you could have achieved in that set) you can calculate RPE. For example, an RPE of 6 is roughly equivalent to having 4 reps in reserve, an RPE of 7 correlates to having 3 reps in reserve, and so on.
If you’re not familiar with using RPE, don’t worry. It’s normal to use RPE for accessories; it can get trickier using RPE for the main lifts, though plenty of folks do that successfully too. You’ll get the hang of it quickly.
Should you use a Training Max? I think so.
It also doesn’t call for using a training max instead of a true one rep max. I still think using a training max would be useful, though.
This is a program that can be run repeatedly. It even includes a deload week to accommodate for this. Starting with a training max will help give you a little headroom to room to grow (no pun intended) so you don’t get burnt out straight away.
*Reminder: a training max is usually 85% to 90% of your “true” one rep max. 90% is used most often.