Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Powerlifting training for bodybuilders. By John Bubb, former NABBA Pro bodybuilder

Old School Bodybuilding

Powerlifting-type training for bodybuilding
By John BUBB, former NABBA pro bodybuilder
John Bubb on the legendary NABBA Universe stage
Introduction by Vic Goyaram

This article is for those willing to use powerlifting-type training to improve their strength and physique. Most people imagine big butts and waists when thinking of a power lifter’s physique but that's incorrect! Improper diet is probably more to blame than powerlifting exercises and style of training. There are many great powerlifters who display envious physiques with virtually no bodybuilding training. One example is Vince Anello, the legendary US-based powerlifter. Likewise, most of us diehard fans know about bodybuilders with a powerlifting background and whose training borrows a lot from powerlifting. We all know about Johnny Jackson and Franco Columbu. The dangerous physique that John Bubb sported in his prime is also courtesy of his powerlifting background and his powerlifting-style of training. As usual, we are more than pleased to have John sharing his pearls of wisdom with us on Bodybuilding Mauritius. 
Powerlifting legend Vince Anello was built like a
bodybuilder. He even competed in bodybuilding shows like Mr. America
IFBB Pro Johnny Jackson is a competitive powerlifter in the offseason.
When Bob Cicherillo announced Johnny "O" Jackson at the Olympia
you'll always see the thickest muscle in the pro league.
John Bubb's suggested plan for BULKING up
(12-week program)
John holding his own next to Reg Park and Arnold
The main trouble with giving out this type of advice is that I have no idea how long you have been training or how advanced you are. Obviously the type of exercise schedule that I’m going to advise would be far too advanced for somebody who had only been training for a few months. I’m going to assume that you’ve done at least a year.

If you want to put on size and get much stronger, you’ve got to forget you are a bodybuilder for 6 months and pretend you are a POWERLIFTER. Train for size and strength and then when you go back to pure bodybuilding you will be able to perform the conventional exercises with a lot more weight and thus make them more effective. Before I became a professional I used to enter power lifting contests quite regularly and the preparation for these contests used to really help my bodybuilding training. In fact I found that I gained size all over (even my arms) when I was literally only doing Bench Press, Squats and Dead Lifts. It thickens your muscularity or, gives you more muscle density.

If you do decide to follow this plan you will probably feel that you are not doing enough, but trust me, you will be. And remember, most bodybuilders over train. Especially beginners because they are over anxious to make progress. You grow while you are resting, not when you are pumping. Talking of resting, when you are doing power training you need nice long rests between sets. If you rush you won’t make the poundages so you will be diluting the effect.

Always warm-up with a little Cardio before you start.

The training program

Mondays and Thursdays (Chest, triceps, calves and abs)

First exercise: Bench Press – FLAT
Execution of the bench press
  • 1 set of 15, really silly light
  • 1 set of 8 using a weight with which you could get 10 if you were really trying. 
  • Add weight and do 1 set of 5 using a weight with which you could get 8 if you were really trying.
  • Add a little weight and perform 1 set of 5.
  • Add a little weight. 1 set of five flat out. Make sure you do get five.
  • Add a little weight. 1 set of five to failure. On this set you might only get three or four to start with, but that’s fine.
  • 1 set of five using the same weight as you used for the third set of five. This time do as many as you can. You’ll probably surprise yourself and get seven or eight. If you manage eight you can finish. If not do:-
  • 1 set of eight or ten using the same weight as you used for the first set of five.
After you’ve done this four or five times you should be able to add a little extra weight on all the sets of five. It’s particularly satisfying when you suddenly find you are getting five on that fourth set and you can add even more weight. You’re on the move and this is the first day of the rest of your life!!

Second exercise: Triceps Extensions lying on a bench (Head Crushers)
Execution of the skull crushers
1 set of ten quite light.
4 sets of eight heavy

Third exercise: Your favourite Calf Raises.5 sets of 15 to 20.
Click for full article on calf training

Fourth exercise: Abdominals
Finish up with 3 or 4 sets of abdominal exercises, that is crunches or leg raises. Don’t go mad. These are just to make sure that no part of your body gets left out.

Tuesdays and Fridays (Legs, Back, Biceps, calves)
First exercise: Conventional Squats.
Squat execution
  • 1 set of 20 really silly light, then:-
  • 1 set of eight – easy, then:-
  • 5 x 5 performed exactly as the Bench Press.
  • 1 set of as many as you can manage using the same weight as you used for the first set of five. Finish.
Second exercise: T-Bar Rowing
T-bar row execution
  • 1 set of eight - quite light
  • 4 sets of six – heavy
  • Bend your knees slightly and make sure you keep your back really flat throughout the complete movement.
Third exercise: Conventional Barbell Curls

Barbell curl execution
  • 1 set of 8 or 10 - fairly light.
  • 5 sets of 6 – heavy. Do these in a fairly loose style with just a little bit of heave and swing. DON’T overdo it however. Just enough heave to get the heavy weight moving.

Fourth exercise: Choose another Calf Raise (different from Monday & Thursday)

5 sets of 15 to 20.

Every third work-out (on the legs and back days) leave out Squats and do DEAD LIFTS as follows:-

  • 1 set of ten really light and easy.
  • 1 set of six a bit heavier, but well within your capability.
  • 1 set of four fairly heavy, but still not flat out.
  • 1 single rep – heavy.
  • Add a little weight. 1 single rep. 
  • Add a little weight. 1 single rep. 
  • Add a little weight. 1 single rep. 
  • Take off a little weight. 1 single rep. 

Drop the weight way down and do four or six to finish off. 

If you follow this recipe to the letter you will be amazed and thrilled at how quickly your poundages shoot up after a few workouts. And remember, there is nothing like Dead Lifts to thicken your back. giving you that muscle density you are looking for.

Do all of this for twelve weeks.


John Bubb for Bodybuilding Mauritius

About the Author
John Bubb is a former NABBA professional bodybuilder with more than half a century of experience in the iron game. John has six top four finishes at the NABBA Pro Mr. Universe from 1967 to 1971, including a runner-up placing to Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1968. 

John has trained several bodybuilders from many countries and has remained very active in the bodybuilding arena decades after hanging his posing trunks. He is one of our most prized contributors at Bodybuilding Mauritius and we feel very honoured to have someone of the calibre of John dispensing advice to all of us with such enthusiasm. 

We at Bodybuilding Mauritius are very keen about old-school bodybuilding as we believe that in order for bodybuilding to have a future it must look back at its past. We couldn't ask for a better guru of Golden era bodybuilding than "Iron Grandpa Bubb". 


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