Barbell Medicine Powerbuilding II Template – Week 4

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, which is a hybrid program combining hypertrophy and powerlifting. 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 4

Day 1

345×6@8 x3

Increasing the working sets by five pounds across the sets at RPE8 was a great result. I am preferring to squat in the Romaleos 3’s over the Leistung 16.0s. From start to the final squat, took 50 minutes, which I think could be reduced by 5-10 minutes by keeping at eye on the rest periods.

Close Grip Incline Bench Press
185×10@8 x2

This is where some issues came up with my right shoulder, there was pain as such, more a weakness and tightness in the right pec. I widened the grip out a little bit to help compensate with this and was able to still achieve relatively heavy weights, in comparison to last week.

Split Squat w/SS Yoke Bar
80×12 x2

The form on this is getting better each week. As the weight increases, I am able to start feeling some engagement in the hamstring of the front leg, and am getting a good stretch in the rear leg, whilst keeping most of the weight balanced over the front leg.

Day 2

Competition Bench Press

Still accommodating the shoulder issue, with the weight selection here. Unable to use the same weights last week at the same RPE, and also unable to maintain intensity across sets this week. I am still satisfied with this week’s bench press results, given the injury circumstances, it was not a significant drop in intensity or volume

Squat w/SS Yoke Barbell
170×10@7 x2
190×10@8 x2

The higher volume with this accessory squat movement feels great on the legs without placing any significant stress on my back. The quads get a good pump, I’m becoming a fan of using an elevated heel shoe for these to get a little bit more quad activation and practice squat balance in a heeled shoe for my competition style squats.

Beltless Overhead Press
95 – MyoReps

Shoulder issue showing up again during the overhead presses, mainly at the midpoint of the press, there was a slight twinge and a weaker feeling at the top of the press. Ironically, pushing my head forward didn’t feel good, so I had to revert to a bit more layback than I would prefer.

Day 3

385×6@8 x3

Unaffected by the shoulder issues, and was able to increase the weights used for sets across, but 10 lbs over last week, which is a great result. Currently, my deadlift has been advancing better than my squat, both in terms of last measured one rep max and weights used across sets.

Touch n Go Bench
215×8@8 x2

This week, my shoulder wasn’t able to keep up with the weights used last week. So I had to dial the weight back, significantly (20 lbs).

Pendlay Row
185×12 x2

Horizontal pulling had to no effect on the shoulder pain, so I was able to bump up the weight used for the AMRAP set and then used the same weight for the volume sets.

Day 4

Overhead Press
157×5@8 x3

The biggest challenge, wasn’t the pain, but the discomfort that lead to sloppy form. I had to modify the range of motion to reduce the pain and also had slightly more layback than I would normally like. Interestingly enough, by the last set, my shoulder felt 90% back to normal.

Romanian Deadlifts
255×8@8 x3

These felt great and a significant increase over last week (20lbs), however I did have to use the lifting straps. After my first set of 255, I was losing grip of the barbell. Immediately upon using the straps, the weight felt less challenging, which I am attributing to the neural connection with grip.

Feet Up Bench Press
145: MyoReps

The shoulder stood up to a slight increase in weights for the MyoRep sets and the felt weakness in my right pec, didn’t seem as significant as in past weeks.


The biggest challenge I faced this week was dealing with a lingering shoulder that started around the start of week 3. There was pain sensation from the neck through the shoulder to the shoulder blade. I experienced pain during hanging (pullups), dips, as well as taking shirts off.

Although I think the pain/discomfort peaked around the end of week 3, I still held off doing pullups/chinups by the end of week 4. On a daily basis the pain isn’t the best after eack training session, however this week my shoulder definitely felt better than last week.

I made a couple of changes to help manage the pain:

  • Adding in two extra days rest over the course of the week, one of which I completed the GPP portion of the program.
  • Not completing pullups/chinups during this week. Instead opting for dumbbell rows.
  • Reducing the weights lifted on the upper body movements, but still staying within the 90% range of weights used in the previous week.

The pain had mostly subsided by the end of the week and interfered a little bit with day four. The morning after day four was a marked increase in shoulder discomfort than the previous days, but still relatively less pain than the previous week.

I think, this challenge to not ‘rest’ due to the pain was a huge mental win, since it showed me that I am able to work through certain discomfort and not lose too much ground in terms of strength gains.

Past Week’s Blogs:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

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.

Barbell Medicine Digital Training Templates

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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