This is a powerlifting program designed by Empire Barbell that utilizes block periodization. Training is broken into three distinct blocks: intensification #1, volume, and intensification #2. These blocks can be run in order straight through, or can be repeated with some limitations (explained more below). Running each block once would represent 14 weeks of training in total.
Empire Barbell is also behind the popular Bullmastiff program. If you’re interested in Alex’s periodization theory, Bulmastiff is a great representation of it.
Table of Contents
Spreadsheet: Block Periodization Powerlifting Program (Empire Barbell)
Program written by Empire Barbell. Spreadsheet created by Lift Vault based on an interpretation of the program as shared on the Empire Barbell site.
Intensification Block #1 (4 Weeks)
This block starts off with low-ish volume and middling intensity during week 1, which acts as either a deload or an introductory week, depending on whether you’re running this block for the first time or repeating it. From there, intensity and volume increase in week 2 before volume dials back in weeks 3 and 4 as the intensity increases each week in a fairly traditional “linear” fashion.
Empire Barbell does not recommend running this block more than twice in a row before switching blocks or changing the main movements of the block.
Volume Block (6 Weeks)
The volume block, designed to be run after the intensification block, dials back intensity and significantly increases the number of working sets and rep ranges. Intensity doesn’t exceed 75% of 1RM throughout the block, while working sets increase each week, culminating in 10 working sets for the squat and bench press in week 6. There is a pretty significant amount of accessory volume in this stage as well, which should be helpful for triggering hypertrophy and aiding the main lifts.
Empire Barbell stresses the importance of hitting clean reps during this training block, taking a bit of weight off of the bar if necessary. A successful volume block is necessary for setting PRs in the following intensification block #2.
Intensification Block #2 (4 Weeks)
The second intensification block is structurally similar to the first, but includes many different lifts. Most notably: the competition deadlift, which does not appear in either of the previous blocks (as they’re currently written, at least – no one says you couldn’t make the competition deadlift a main lift for either of those blocks). As in intensification lock #1, volume gradually decreases each week as intensity ramps up after a somewhat tame week 1.
AMRAPs are employed again to help keep intensity high and to give you the opportunity to set rep PRs if you feel they’re there.
The block ends with attempting a one rep max that is hopefully a PR.