Background of a Powerlifter

By Ben Rollinson, creator of the Squat, Press, Lift Method

Powerlifting is great! I am living proof of the power of powerlifting: I was a 12 stone professional golfer of slightly above average strength, but by no means considered strong. I am now a 16 stone (and growing) ‘lump’ who no longer plays golf and concentrates solely on being bigger and stronger to be the best I can be.

I squat 660 lbs (300 kg) for reps, bench 470 (215 kg) and deadlift 725 (330 kg), and all of this within two years of starting a powerlifting programme.

Like many of you, I started lifting as a supplementary exercise to my main sport, I figured that being stronger meant I would be able to muscle the ball further, control my shots better, have more stamina, a stronger, sturdier base and that all of this combined would make one hell of a golfer. What I didn’t figure into the equation is how much I would enjoy lifting and how competitive I would be against my own personal bests.

I started on the 5x5 StrongLifts programme in January 2012 and saw a rapid development in my strength and ability; I cannot praise this programme enough: if you are starting out in strength sports, want to learn good technique, build muscle and stamina, become stronger and lose fat this is a fantastic starting point.

After around six months I was no longer improving at such a fast rate and I was becoming bored of the programme, I wanted to do more than what was suggested without going to failure and I wanted to work out more days per week.

After looking around the internet, talking to guys at the gym and attempting to implement varying programmes into my routine with little benefit, I decided to develop my own. That was September 2012. Now in September 2014 I have maintained my own programme, adjusting here and there to ensure the greatest gains. My workouts are hard and fulfilling, when I enter the gym, I am there to kill it; there is no point turning up if you are going to go half arsed and go home after 20 minutes squatting thinking you’ve done a workout: you haven’t. I have seen massive gains, my friends have seen massive gains, and my wife has noticed massive gains.

I no longer play golf; now I squat, bench and deadlift. I don’t think about things I cannot change, I squat, bench and deadlift. I don’t complain, I squat, bench and deadlift and when I’m angry I squat, bench and deadlift.

My programme is as follows:

Week 1

Monday – Squat day

Warmup
10 x 40% of your 1 rep max
10 x 55% 1RM
8 x 60% 1RM
8 x 70% 1RM
5 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 85% 1RM
5 x 85 % 1RM
3+ x 90% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM

Deadlift
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Tuesday – Bench Day

Warmup
10 x 40% 1RM
10 x 55% 1RM
8 x 60% 1RM
8 x 70% 1RM
5 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 85% 1RM
5 x 85 % 1RM
3+ x 90% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM

Overhead Press
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Thursday – Deadlift Day

Warmup
10 x 40% 1RM
10 x 55% 1RM
8 x 60% 1RM
8 x 70% 1RM
5 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 85% 1RM
5 x 85 % 1RM
3+ x 90% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM

Squat
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Friday/Saturday – Overhead Press Day

Warmup
10 x 40% 1RM
10 x 55% 1RM
8 x 60% 1RM
8 x 70% 1RM
5 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 85% 1RM
5 x 85 % 1RM
3+ x 90% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM
10 x 65% 1RM

Bench
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Week 2

Monday – Squat day

Warmup
10 x 40% 1RM
10 x 55% 1RM
10 x 60% 1RM
10 x 70% 1RM
10 x 75 % 1RM
10 x 75% 1RM
8 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 80% 1RM

Deadlift
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Tuesday – Bench Day

Warmup
10 x 40% 1RM
10 x 55% 1RM
10 x 60% 1RM
10 x 70% 1RM
10 x 75 % 1RM
10 x 75% 1RM
8 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 80% 1RM

Overhead Press
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Thursday – Deadlift Day

Warmup
10 x 40% 1RM
10 x 55% 1RM
10 x 60% 1RM
10 x 70% 1RM
10 x 75 % 1RM
10 x 75% 1RM
8 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 80% 1RM

Squat
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Friday/Saturday – Overhead Press Day

Warmup
10 x 40% 1RM
10 x 55% 1RM
10 x 60% 1RM
10 x 70% 1RM
10 x 75 % 1RM
10 x 75% 1RM
8 x 80 % 1RM
5 x 80% 1RM

Bench
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM
10 x 50% 1RM

Wash, rinse, repeat and add 5lbs every week to your 1 rep max. If you feel you will fail on any rep in any set stop your workout; attempt the same workout the following week on the correct day. If you feel you will fail a rep for two weeks running reduce your 1RM by 5%. DO NOT LET YOURSELF ACTUALLY FAIL ANY REP.