Power Bodybuilding is a style of weight training that encompasses both strength training and bodybuilding. Hence the name. As far as I’m aware, the idea was created by Mike O’Hearn. He has both an incredible look, and incredible strength.
Who is Mike O’Hearn?
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Mike O’Hearn is an internationally acclaimed fitness model with over 500 covers published to his name.
Mike is 6’3, 250lbs and comes in at around 4% body fat. This makes him bigger and leaner than former Mr Olympia winners such as Arnold from the golden era.
But what is most striking about Mike, is that whilst he looks arguably as aesthetic as golden era bodybuilders. He’s much stronger.
Here are Mike’s lifting stats;
815 lbs/370 kg squat – about 3.3 times personal bodyweight;
505 lbs /230kg bench press – about 2 times personal bodyweight;
760 lbs /345 kg deadlift – about 3 times personal bodyweight;
But how does he do it?
Well, as Mike says himself. “You’ll have to excuse me for thinking I’m a superhero. But I rip it up in the gym, and have for years. I destroy the weights. It’s not the other way around.”
So let’s take a look at the training cycles that have made Mike bigger and leaner than Arnold and as strong as powerlifters.
The trick is to train based around heavy compound movements. These being your Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift. In these movements, you lift as heavy as possible, we’re talking superhuman lifts, pushing yourself to the absolute limit. After those movements, we then switch to hypertrophy sets and rep ranges for other exercises across a 5 day training split.
After training like this, as I have done personally, I can guarantee you’ll be stronger, fuller and more muscular than ever before.
The Power Bodybuilding training split
Core Lifts: Bench, Squat, Deadlift
- (Weeks) 1-4, 70%: 5 sets of 4 reps
- 5-8, 80%: 5 sets of 3 reps
- 9-12, 90%: 5 sets of 2 reps
Example Training Week 1
Monday – Chest
- Flat Bench Press – (1-3 warm up sets) – 5 sets – 4 reps – 70% of 1RM
- Incline Bench Press – 5 sets – 10 reps
- Incline Flies – 3 sets – 8 reps
Tuesday – Legs
- Squats – (1-3 warm up sets) – 5 sets – 4 reps – 70% of 1RM
- Leg Press – 5 sets – 10 reps
- Leg extensions – 3 sets – 8 reps
- Calf Press – 3 sets – reps to failure
Wednesday – Shoulders
- Standing Military Press – 4 sets – 6-8 reps
- Barbell Upright Row – 3 sets – 8-10 reps
- Lateral Raise – 4 sets – 8-10 reps
- Incline Bench Rear Deltoid Fly – 4 sets – 8-10 reps
Thursday – Arms
- Close Grip Bench Press – 4 sets – 6-8 reps
- Barbell Bicep Curl – 4 sets – 6-8 reps
- Seated Dip – 3 sets – 10 reps
- Hammer Curls – 3 sets – 10 reps
- Rope Tricep Extension – 3 sets – 10 reps
- Preacher Curl – 3 sets – 10 reps
Friday – Back
- Deadlifts – 5 sets – 4 reps – 70% of 1RM
- Barbell Row – 5 sets – 10 reps
- Wide grip lat pulldown – 3 sets – 8 reps
The important thing to consider, is to be consistent and to progressively add weight. It is key for you to push yourself to push more weight each week on those core lifts and to be consistent with your hypertrophy work. By doing this, you’ll ensure that you’re pushing yourself to the limit, allowing you to add strength and size.
By week 4, week 1’s weights will feel incredibly light, so keep adding weight, even if that’s between sets, to make sure you push yourself.
Also, if you begin to notice weaknesses or muscular imbalances, use the hypertrophy work to emphasise those muscle groups. I.e. switch leg extensions to a hamstring focused exercise etc.
You can also change the accessory work if you feel they’re not as effective. For instance, I don’t do the same arm exercises each week. I alternate between close grip and reverse grip for triceps to give variety and make sure I’m always pushing myself!
Finally, I urge you to ensure you are eating enough before undertaking this Power Bodybuilding 12 week programme, every heavy session, you will walk out of the gym feeling like you have no energy left. That is good, because you’ve put your heart, passion and rage into your training, however, if you’re not eating enough and resting well, you’ll struggle to recover and you definitely won’t grow!
Any questions you may have, pop an email across to my contact and I’ll be sure to get back to you!