The Power-Bodybuilding Method

What would you say is better for building solid muscle?

Lifting heavy weights or pumping the muscle full of blood?

My buddy Mike Westerdal from Critical Bench wrote an eye-opening article for us about an approach that uses both in order to build strength and size at the same time.

Check it out below…

The Power-Bodybuilding Method
by Mike Westerdal

There seems to be an accepted notion that aesthetic bodybuilding techniques can’t be integrated within the structure of an empirical powerlifting workout program. I firmly believe otherwise.

Powerlifter Deadlift Workout

It has been my observation upon viewing the iron game there are two types of people. First there are those who are pumpers and toners and secondly there are those who concentrate on the brute power of heavy lifting alone.

That is until recently when we have a metamorphosis of a third type of hybrid person who trains to combine the best of both worlds. It involves the nice blood choked pump of the bodybuilder yet it’s got the rugged and capable power of a strength athlete.

When you combine these two approaches you have what is called
power-building or power-bodybuilding.

Power-bodybuilding can be used by competitive bodybuilders as well. It’s great for the early cycle in which a bodybuilder is embarked on the critical muscle mass building phase. For the contest entering and winning bodybuilder it is important for him to be perceived as someone who doesn’t just have herculean size which is ALL SHOW and NO GO.

There’s a stereotype out there that bodybuilders are not very strong. Using a power-bodybuilding method at the beginning of their contest cycle they’ll be able to back up the great cosmetic physique with some real world strength and power.

Likewise a strength athlete or powerlifter would like for the public to perceive them as not just someone that lifts heavy iron, but also has the rugged, solid and capable look of a finely tuned athlete.

Skinny Strong Powerlifter

One of the saddest things I have observed especially in the powerlifting arena is that of the lifters who weight under 242 pounds.

Many of them possess tremendous tendon and ligament strength but yet as far as overall behemoth muscular bulk they just don’t have it. And when you throw a long sleeved shirt and tie on them they pretty much blend with the masses of the general public.

Personally, that bothers me. Granted, tendon and ligament strength is important I admit to that. But I’ve observed lifters with larger physiques than mine that move much less heavy iron that I do. I feel that they’re more into a pump phase of training, which is fine, but deep down I know they desperately want to possess more superhuman strength and power. Enter POWER-BODYBUILDING.

I am not the lone proponent of the POWER-BODYBUILDING movement (I am only seeking to introduce a renewed interest in this powerful training component), there have been others over the span of the last 60 years.

Some of the most notable luminaries of this movement that I can think of off hand includes and is not limited to: Malcom Brenner, Franco Columbu, Jeff Everson, Lou Ferrigno, John Carl Grimek, Donne Hale, Mike & Ray Mentzer, Sergio Oliva, Reg Park, Bill Pearl, Clancy Ross, Bill Seno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Sipes and Dorian Yates, just to name a few.

Mike Mentzer - Ray Mentzer - Lou Ferrigno

If I am not mistaken POWER-BODYBUILDING may have achieved its zenith when one of the criteria’s for entering an AAU sanctioned physique event required athletic events such as Olympic & Powerlifting to help secure additional points in the physique contest itself. Sad to say that’s not the case today.

All of the guys I have just mentioned have been great assets to the physique game because for them to get the size they possessed they had to do some heavy, heavy lifting and if you looked at their workout programs you could see that they combined heavy tendon and ligament building movements with the muscle sculpting movements of the cosmetic bodybuilder.

Franco Columbu Bench Pressing

It was not uncommon for Franco Columbu to bench in the high 400’s or deadlift over 700 pounds for a big triple. In tests of power, moving a huge weight in a short movement, deadlifts, squats, supports were all easy for John Carl Grimek. Clancy Ross was fully capable of getting 180-pound dumbbells in position self-assisted for some hefty incline work.

And who can forget Chuck Sipes who could squat 6 to 700 pounds and bench nearly 600 pounds, when nobody else near his bodyweight was even close. Plus he was an IFBB super-star bodybuilder to boot.

It’s not by accident that all of the names I have mentioned have ended up at the top in the iron game. They not only looked the part (cosmetic bodybuilder) but they all could push the heavy iron that the general public perceived of them.

Now some people still might not know the difference between muscle bulk training and pump training so let me elaborate.

When a bodybuilder or a powelifter bulk train they use heavy, heavy weights to tear down deep muscle tissue membranes. The muscle rebounds (recovers) and grows abundantly. This is what is called ultimate hypertrophy.

Now on the other hand if a bodybuilder or powerlifter subjects themselves to light pumping movements you’ll gorge the muscle with blood literally. I call this a flush pump. Granted this type of training will shape and bring up the muscularity of the muscle bellies but it lacks the integrity of bulk training.

If you want to retain the transitory muscle thickness that you experienced with the flush pump training then you will have to include the deep tearing down of the heavy weight training. This is one of the best ways to retain muscle thickness (density) where in the morning you wake up and you still look pretty big.

What I am trying to gear this article towards is for you bodybuilders and powerlifters who desire total development and total strength while being less concerned about specialization in one area. Your overall strength and muscular size will definitely increase using a POWER-BODYBUILDING program.

This is because the program is physiologically construed to provide heavy high intensity work (muscle bulk training) for size and strength and volume high rep work (flush pump training) and to add fullness and vascularity to the muscle.

It has been my aspiration for quite a while now to introduce a power-bodybuilding system of training that can be used by beginners, intermediates and advanced men.

Check out my brand new resource below for more information on exactly how to structure your training with a power-bodybuilding approach.

Power-Building Bench Mode Program

Keep training hard,
Mike Westerdal


These Are The Secret Training Methods That Transformed A Scrawny
Former Marathon Runner Into A Massive Power-Bodybuilder- Bench Pressing
515 Lbs & QUADRUPLING Overall Body Strength & Power.

Click here for the story…

About The Author


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you...


  • A nice post regarding power building program and an informative post for weightlifters too..

  • Zero

    Great article there Lee! I’ve always thought you could only do one or the other. Now I know you can combine both together. I’m very excited now!

  • Bill

    Nice article
    Anyone with enough steroids in their blood can achieve these results.

  • sb

    If you are suggesting that these guys are big simply because of steroids, you are uninformed and ridiculously biased. Yes, guys on roids CAN get bigger but not without AT LEAST as much effort if not more. If you are a couch potato that just wants to ridicule people who are doing something perfectly accepted in this sport then maybe watching women’s soccer would be better for you. The steroid debate is over and has been for a long time. We all know the pros are on juice and thats that. To imply that the steroids make people big is silly and uninformed. Those guys put in more effort in the gym in a day than most people in a week. Steroids only give them the ability to work a muscle harder. Stay on your couch, eat your garbage, and stay fat and weak.
    Powerbuilding is an amazing program. I am 5’8″ 165# and can bench 245, Squat over 300 and Deadlift 315 for reps. Am I on juice simply because I am stronger than most guys my size? No. Are most guys in the gym that look bigger than you think they can get, simply because you are too lazy to lift hard, on steroids? no. But nice work and troll on

  • Sam

    Hi Lee great article
    let’s face it, if it wasn’t for steroids none of the Olympia bodybuilders would be very big at all.