There are a lot of types of powerlifting programming out there, linear, periodised, DUP, conjugate, Bulgarian and many more. These are all ways to get stronger over time, but the routes are different.
A standard linear routine will have you adding weight to the bar every week or session until you can’t anymore, usually following the same set and rep scheme the whole time, e.g. Stronglifts 5×5. For the beginner powerlifter or strength trainer these can provide a solid foundation, being easy to follow and trying to potentially maximise your strength gains. Do I think a 5×5 linear programme is the best way to go? Not necessarily, but starting out on a template like that and playing with the exercises that you like can be beneficial.
This brings us on the next training methodology, periodisation. This is a type of training where you start with high volume and low intensity, and eventually get to a low volume and high intensity state. For example, you start off with 3×10 for 2 weeks, then 3×6, then 3×3. That would be a complete 6 week cycle. Some of the greatest American lifters have simply ran a programme like this for their whole careers for the compound lifts and it has worked.
Daily Undulating Periodisation programming involves changing your set/rep scheme from workout to workout. Say you squat 3 times per week, you could do 3×8, 5×5, 6×3, all in one week. This differs from liner periodisation because instead of using ‘blocks’ or ‘phases’, you have the whole cycle in one week. You can build muscle mass with your 3×8 on a Monday, then have a power day later on in the week with your 6×3 routine. Changing the monotony of doing the same reps when you enter can be beneficial mentally, making you more excited to lift weights which you haven’t lifted before.
Next we have the conjugate method. Originally a favourite of Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell, the conjugate method in a basic form will involve a maximum effort upper day, a maximum effort lower day and dynamic effort upper and lower days. The maximum effort days have you push yourself to the highest single double or triple you can manage on that day, then do dropback sets at around 80% of the weight you’ve just hit. This programme relies heavily on the idea of ‘weak point training’, ie practicing variations to work on the overall competition lift. The dynamic effort days will often involve speed sets, bands, chains and variations.
Finally, there is the ‘Bulgarian Method’. There are many ways to implement this but the skeleton of a Bulgarian programme would be to work up to a max on all lifts and then do dropback sets at a given percentage of the max you have just hit.
ains and variations.