Barbell Medicine Powerbuilding II Template – Week 1 Review

For the next 10 weeks I will be documenting my training using one of the new waves of templates recently released by the good folks over at Barbell Medicine. I will be running the Powerbuilding II Template. This will cover the first week of training. I’ll include some more about the program towards the bottom of the page. The template does include General Physical Preparedness (GPP)/Cardio sessions over the week, but they’re not the main focus of the program, so I will omit their discussion in my training logs.

I will be breaking down the weights used with the following format:
Weight Used x Reps @ RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)
Subsequent sets will be listed below
**All weights used will be in pounds**

Week 1

Day 1


The first week of most templates shouldn’t be too taxing and are more useful to set benchmarks in performance the rest of the program will follow. Currently, my squat has been weaker than it has been in the past, so I had to dial down the weights used for the working sets, as my last warmup set of 325lbs should have been @6, however, felt like @7, so became my first working set.

Incline Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip felt super stable. Again I went with conservative weight choices, since I don’t have a one rep max for this exercise, 185lbs was going to be my indicator of what working sets to use, and instead became the first working set.

Split Squats

This is a new movement, since I recently learned the difference between a lunge and a split squat. Which is simple you want to feel 80+% of the load on the front leg for the split squat. A lunge would have you evenly distribute the weight across both legs. With this in mind, I started with dumbbells, I have pairs up to 30lbs so should be able to get a couple more weeks use out of dumbbells, before switching to a barbell.

Day 2

Competition Bench Press

The competition bench press refers to utilizing a slight -one second- pause on the chest, to replicate powerlifting competition, where a judge gives the lift command. No shoulder issues have effected my bench for the last year now. I’ve been focusing a lot on technique, this week I wanted to focus on leg drive. Which helped with the arch and maintaining a solid base to press off.

SSB Squats

No impressive weights were lifted today. DOMS from the previous day’s squat session lingered a bit and the end of these sets felt rough. Over the week I’m hoping my body will adapt to high frequency squatting and see these numbers drive up

Beltless Overhead Press
75 – MyoReps

This was performed using the myo-rep set structure. Which serves to activate more muscle fibers for hypertrophy purposes. I wasn’t always a fan of the myo-rep structure, however, I think it takes a little bit of practice and acclimatizing to the rep structure.

Day 3


Again, a slight overshoot with the load selection. No real issues here, other than tiredness. Possibly due to extra workload this week, or not enough sleep or calories.

Touch Bench Press

Touch bench is a style more people are familiar with, as there is no pause on the chest, simply touch the chest and press. I’ve been a bit better with the bench press load selection for the first week.

Pendlay Row
190×15@10 AMRAP

Another hypertrophy-centric rep scheme. The AMRAP for the movement felt good, I don’t think it was a timed thing, so I just cranked out as many as I could without letting go of the bar, my max ‘rest’ was one breath while the weight rested on the floor.

Day 4

Overhead Press

The OHP is feeling solid and stable. I am focusing on pushing the head forward once the barbell clears and this little movement is helping a lot. The extra ab work on GPP days I think is contributing well to the stability in the core.

Romanian Deadlifts

My grip felt good, so I didn’t use any lifting straps. There was some delayed fatigue in my back from the previous deadlift session, so I probably could have gone heavier. The lack of lifting strap was probably a good indicator of this.

Feet Up Bench Press
135 – MyoReps

Feet up bench, is simple placing the feet up on the end of the bench. This removes the leg drive and the arch to a big degree. I like to still pull the armpits towards the back pockets to maintain a good solid shoulder position. I could have picked a slightly heavier weight for these MyoRep burnout sets.


Week 1 was solid overall, none of the workouts exceeded the 80 minute mark. There was a fair amount of guess work regarding weight selection, however this should sort itself out within the next two weeks as I get acclimatized to the new program structure.

About Barbell Medicine

I highly recommend checking out the folks over at Barbell Medicine, for a wealth of free information, all backed by doctors and other subject matter experts! They have a very informative podcast & YouTube channel.

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About the Powerbuilding II Template

Trainees who want to focus on increasing muscular size while improving strength in the powerlifts, e.g. the squat, bench press, and deadlift. While we expect most to see improved muscle size and strength, this is not a template focused explicitly on powerlifting or bodybuilding. Rather, this serves as a blend of strength-training and body-building wrapped up into one template. Similar to the Hypertrophy templates, this is one of our preferred off-season templates for strength athletes for those who want to gain muscle mass- though we continue to focus training resources on the powerlifts in this template. Finally, the Powerbuilding II template is a more advanced template for those who are interested in losing body fat or who are looking to increase muscle size and strength in the powerlifts.

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