The Primal Powerbuilding Workout is for experienced beginning lifters or intermediates who want to focus on adding both size and strength. To use this workout you must have a good understanding of exercise form and how to properly warm up.

Unlike the Primal 531 Strength Building Workout, this approach is not periodized. Periodization is generally not necessary until you have acquired a fair amount of base strength. With that said, taking a week off from training every 2-4 months can be beneficial.

Primal Powerbuilding Workout

The Primal Powerbuilding Workout utilizes 4 different workouts, and can be structured in two different ways:

  1. EOD. Workout every other day. Unlike fullbody workouts, this includes weekends. On the average you will be lifting 3.5 times per week.
  2. MWF. Workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Take the weekends off. Rotate between the 4 workouts. Using this approach, each week’s workouts will be structured differently. On some weeks you will squat on Monday, and on some weeks you will bench press on Monday. Etc.

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An every other day workout sequence would look something like this:

  • Monday Week 1 – Workout A
  • Wednesday Week 1 – Workout B
  • Friday Week 1 – Workout C
  • Sunday Week 1 – Workout D
  • Tuesday Week 2 – Workout A
  • Thursday Week 2 – Workout B
  • Saturday Week 2 – Workout C
  • Monday Week 3 – Workout D

A workout sequence for Monday, Wednesday and Friday would look something like this:

  • Monday Week 1 – Workout A
  • Wednesday Week 1 – Workout B
  • Friday Week 1 – Workout C
  • Monday Week 2 – Workout D
  • Wednesday Week 2 – Workout A
  • Friday Week 2 – Workout B
  • Monday Week 3 – Workout C
  • Wednesday Week 3 – Workout D

Workout Notes

Progression. Push for progression on every set without training to failure. When you can perform the maximum number of reps listed for a set, add weight the next time in the gym.

Warm up sets. Warm up sets are not listed. If you do not know how to warm up properly for each exercise, you should not be using this program.

Same Weight? Do you use the same weight for each set of an exercise? You can, but you don’t need to. Obviously it is easier to use the same weight. You could also pyramid down in weight with each set.

As fatigue sets in, you will not be able to perform the same amount of reps with the same weight. Therefore, dropping weight for your second and third sets will allow you to perform more reps per workout.

Either method is acceptable. Use the weight and progression approach that most appeals to you. For older lifters, or lifters who are using a relatively heavy weight, it might be easier on the body to pyramid down in weight. You may also “pyramid up”. This is an effective training approach as well, but requires a bit more mastery and experience to get right.

Don’t be afraid to play around and see which approach you like better. There isn’t a right or wrong method as long as you push yourself on every set for more reps.

Rep ranges. Rep ranges are generalized guidelines. It”s ok to go a bit over or under the stated rep ranges for each set. There is nothing magical about the rep ranges, and as always, progression and pushing yourself on every set is the most important aspect of training.

Power cleans. If you do not like using power cleans, you may use hang cleans, power shrugs or even another leg exercise such as leg extensions or lunges. If you favor more of a powerlifting approach you can also use good mornings, zerchers, glute/ham raises, etc.

Leg presses. If you favor more of a powerlifting approach you can also use good mornings, zerchers, front squats, glute/ham raises, or even speed squats if you’d like.

Romanian deadlifts. Romanian deadlifts use a slightly higher rep range so that you are not moving near maximal weight. Deadlifts are your heavy day. RDLs are more of a moderate deadlift day, providing a mini-form of periodization.

Calf raises. Use whichever calf exercise you prefer.

Abs. Use whichever abs exercise you prefer.

Biceps. Use whichever bicep exercise you prefer.

Pull ups. If you can’t do pull ups use rack chins, T-bar rows, seated rows or one arm dumbbell rows. Perform as many pull ups as possible on each set. If pull ups become too easy, meaning you can perform 12-20 pull ups on each set without effort, you may want to consider either adding resistance via a weight belt.

Overhead press. Use whichever barbell variation of the overhead press that you prefer.

Dumbbell bench press. You may also use incline bench press or incline dumbbell bench press.

Dips. Perform as many dips as possible on each set. If dips become too easy, meaning you can perform 12-20 dips on each set without effort, you may want to consider either adding resistance via a dipping belt.

Final Thoughts

Taking a week off from training every 8 to 16 weeks can be beneficial. Instead of scheduling time off from the iron, you may also want to consider allotting yourself a certain number of days off per year, and using these days when you are sick, fatigued, or when the stresses and obligations of life prevent you from training 100%.