Paul Wrenn’s 5×3 Powerlifting Routine

I mentioned meeting Paul Wrenn in a previous article.

I did get the opportunity to ask him for some training advice, and he recommended a routine.  Here it is:

1.  Take a weight you can do 5 sets of 3 repetitions with (this does not include your warmup sets).
2.  Build up to 5 sets of 5 repetitions with said weight.
3.  Once you can successfuly do 5×5, ad 10-20 lbs and go back to 5×3 (five sets, three repetitions).
4.  Work your way up to 5×5 again, and repeat.

So the first week you’ll do 5×3.  The next week you’ll try to ad some repetitions.  You may not do the same number of reps every set–you may get 3-4 reps per set instead of just 3.

But you keep using the same weight until you can successfully do 5×5, then ad weight and go back to 5×3.  This is kind of a variation of a 5×5 workout.

I’m using this program now, and I really love it.  It’s simple but effective, and the incremental strength gains keep me motivated. 

After I’ve done these five sets on bench or squat (depending on what bodyparts I’m working that session), I’ll follow up with some lighter weight and higher rep exercises.

So my squat day looks something like this:

Squat 5×3
Romanian Deadlift 4×7 (4 sets, 7 repetitions)
Calf Work (calf raises, seated calf raise, etc).

This is usually about all I can handle for one workout.  Squats take a lot out of me, and I’m lifting in a tropical climate with no air conditioning.

Note:  I’d highly recommend Minimalist Training if you want to find some simple but brutally effective routines.