Hepburn Method Powerbuilding Program

For people who are regular gym-goers, it is quite obvious that they would be willing to choose training sessions that on one hand promote strength building and on the other hand support hypertrophy. So whether you are a skinny hard gainer wanting to put on muscle and strength or an obese individual in your early 20s wanting to get in shape for the prom night, chasing power and pump is the way to go. But can these two processes be combined in a single training protocol where one is concerned with powerlifting and the other with bodybuilding? Yes, certainly they can be combined so that you reap the benefits of both.

Here enters the concept of Powerbuilding. As its name only suggests, Powerbuilding refers to a workout routine that mixes up the concepts of powerlifting and bodybuilding in a single workout program. This training system allows you to gain both size and strength and that too in a much shorter span of time provided your nutrition is on point. Powerbuilding enables you to gain dense muscle mass and size. When you go to cutting after your gaining phase, it also aids in retaining your muscle mass and density. Ain’t the concept of Powerbuilding an apt example of killing two birds with one stone?

Hepburn Method Powerbuilding Program

The Hepburn method powerbuilding Program is named after Doug Hepburn. He was a renowned Canadian strongman famous for his feats of superhuman strength. He was not only strong as hell but also possessed enormous size and muscle density. He also holds the position of being the first natural lifter who was able to bench press 500 pounds, squat 600 pounds, and that too at an age of 54 years. Isn’t it amazing? Undoubtedly, the Hepburn method provided a solution to individuals who were in pursuit of gaining strength along with showing off their muscular gains. If you are one of those, keep reading.

Hepburn’s approach to naming his workout programs was simple and not too commercial. He named his first workout plan as “A program”. Any guesses….what he named his second program? Yes, you are right. His second program is called “B Program”. Although these programs are named in a simple manner, the results that you would get from following them would definitely make you look and feel extraordinary. What these programs were and how you would be approaching them is discussed hereafter.

Hepburn Method Powerbuilding Program

Hey there! We hope you love our fitness programs and the products we recommend. Just so you know, Dr Workout is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep the lights on. Thanks.

Hepburn’s A program

Hepburn strongly backed the effectiveness and efficiency of this program. At one point, Hepburn even claimed that following the A program can easily add up 120 pounds to any compound lift and 60 pounds to any isolation lift. Hepburn was of the opinion that a person would be able to see progressive changes for at least one year following the Hepburn’s A program. In some cases, it even extended to 2 or 3 years.

Under this program, the trainee is required to start with a powerlifting routine so that maximum strength gets developed. Afterward, the trainee goes through a pump routine which aids in the development of muscle mass and endurance. Keep in mind to follow these two phases as described above. Don’t interchange them. Performing powerlifting sets with high weights and low reps prep up your CNS and when you do high rep sets, your targeted body parts get pumped with blood which promotes hypertrophy.

Following this program, you have to keep in mind that you don’t overtrain yourself. Don’t try to over-intensify the workout sessions under this program. Under this program, you might not be feeling fatigued and stored, but remember that you have to gain strength from this workout and not have to over-exert yourself. And last but not the least, don’t try to modify the program.

Power (Strength) Phase

For the power phase, you need to select a weight that you are able to lift eight times. You are required to perform 8 sets of 2 reps in the first workout. Then you have to rest for around 2-3 minutes. Keep in mind to execute every single rep of the exercise in its perfect form. If the weight is too heavy to get your form compromised, then deload the bar to a weight that lets you perform your reps with the perfect form along with being challenging.

In the next workout, you will be keeping the weight the same but will increase the overall reps. You can do something like 7 sets of 2 reps or 1 set of 3 reps. In your third workout, you will be performing 6 sets of 2 reps and 2 sets of 3 reps. You have to keep on adjusting every workout an additional set of three till the time you get a full workout performed with 8 sets of 3 reps. Once you reach this stage, you can add on 10 pounds for larger muscle groups and 5 pounds for smaller muscle groups. Then you can go back to performing 8 sets of 2 reps.

Note: Always do the added rep sets at the beginning of your workout to maintain energy.

  • Workout 1: 8×2
  • Workout 2: 7×2 and 1×3
  • Workout 3: 6×2 and 2×3
  • Workout 4: 5×2 and 3×3
  • Workout 5: 4×2 and 4×3
  • Workout 6: 3×2 and 5×3
  • Workout 7: 2×2 and 6×3
  • Workout 8: 1×2 and 7×3
  • Workout 9: 8×3

Pump (Hypertrophy) Phase

Once the power phase of Hepburn’s A program is completed, take a five-minute break, and then get to the Pump phase. In the Pump phase, you will be decreasing the weight by 20% and perform 3 sets of 6 reps. In the next workout, you would be performing 2 sets of 6 reps and 1 set of 7 reps. Afterward, you will be performing 1 set of 6 reps and 2 sets of 7 reps. In the coming workouts adjust the volumes accordingly to get to the point from which you can perform 3 sets of 8 reps. Once you achieve this, add on five pounds and restart with performing 3 sets of 6 reps.

  • Workout 1: 3×6
  • Workout 2: 2×6 and 1×7
  • Workout 3: 1×6 and 2×7
  • Workout 4: 3×7
  • Workout 5: 2×7 1×8
  • Workout 6: 1×7 and 2×8
  • Workout 7: 3×8

Hepburn’s B program

Hepburn’s B program tends to be more strength and power-oriented. It especially focuses on singles. Hepburn was of the opinion that single rep training leads to the fastest strength gains. This program also makes that use of duality in training styles just like that of Program A.

Under this program also, you are not needed to add up any modifications. Don’t over-analyze the program and follow it as it has been recommended by Hepburn. He certainly knew better than you.

Power (Strength) Phase

In the Power Phase, after performing two warm-up sets, select a weight with which you can do 3 reps and perform 5 sets of 1 rep. In the next workout, go with performing 6 sets of 1 rep with the same weight. In case you are unable to complete all 6 sets, then it means that either you have selected a pretty heavier weight or you are not resting long enough. Your objective under this program is to finish 8 sets of 1 rep on your basic compound lifts.

Once you attain this, increase the weight by five to ten pounds and restart your program performing 5 sets of 1 rep. This style of progression avoids over-training. With increasing intensity, the volume of the workout gets decreased which helps in inducing adaptation.

  • Workout 1: 5×1
  • Workout 2: 6×1
  • Workout 3: 7×1
  • Workout 4: 8×1

Pump (Hypertrophy) Phase

Take 10-15 minutes of break following the power phase workout and then proceed with the pump routine. Choose a weight with which you are able to perform 8 reps and perform 6 sets of 3 reps with it taking one minute of rest in between. In the next workout, you would be doing 5 sets of 3 reps and 1 set of 4 reps with the same weight. In the third workout, you would be performing 4 sets of 3 reps and 2 sets of 4 reps. Now once you are able to perform 6 sets of 5 reps, increase the weight and restart the program with 6 sets of 3 reps.

In case this training does not provide you with much progress, Hepburn recommends cutting the power phase from the program and only follow the pump phase for 2-3 weeks. You can also go with a power phase having 3 sets of 1 rep in the first workout and then work yourself up to performing 8 sets of 1 rep.

  • Workout 1: 6×3
  • Workout 2: 5×3 and 1×4
  • Workout 3: 4×3 and 2×4
  • Workout 4: 3×3 and 3×4
  • Workout 5: 2×3 and 4×4
  • Workout 6: 1×3 and 5×4
  • Workout 7: 6×4
  • Workout 8: 5×4 and 1×5
  • Workout 9: 4×4 and 2×5
  • Workout 10: 3×4 and 3×5
  • Workout 11: 2×4 and 4×5
  • Workout 12: 1×4 and 5×5
  • Workout 13: 6×5

Hepburn’s C program

The Hepburn’s C program is basically an extension of the Hepburn powerbuilding method.

Power (Strength) Phase

In the power phase of this program, you take up to 80% of your 1 RM and start your training performing 5 sets of 3 reps. Gradually you work up to the point where you are able to complete 5 sets of 5 reps with the same weight.

Pump (Hypertrophy) Phase

The Pump phase of the Hepburn’s C program resembles the B program but it is a shorter version of that. You can use this phase if you don’t want to do 8-10 sets of any particular exercise.

Workout plan

You can follow any of the template outlined in the above subheadings or follow the below one.

Hepburn Powerbuilding Program

Or you will be required to follow the basic recommendations for both programs A and B. The workout routine presented below is an example of the “A program”.

Training 2 Times A Week

If you can train only twice a week, choose to go with Monday and Thursday. On Mondays, you would be doing compound movements including bent-over rows, military press, and squat. On Thursday, you would be performing the bench press, the deadlift, and the weighted pull-up.

Monday

Type

Exercise

Sets x Reps

Power Phase

A1. Barbell military press

8 x 2

A2. Barbell bent-over row

8 x 2

B1. Squat

8 x 2

B2. Double Dumbbell or kettlebell swings

8 x 2

Pump Phase

A1. Barbell military press

3 x 6

A2. Barbell bent-over row

3 x 6

B1. Squat

3 x 6

B2. Double Dumbbell or kettlebell swings

3 x 6

You have to rest for 90 seconds between each set of A1 and A2. You have to complete all the sets going back and forth. After two minutes of rest, you have to continue with the B1 and B2 in the same manner. Once you complete them, take a rest of five minutes and then continue with the Pump phase.

In the Pump phase, you have to take 1 minute of rest between each set of A1 and A2 and get all the sets completed. Then after resting for 2 minutes, proceed with performing sets B1 and B2 in the same manner as the former.

Thursday

Type

Exercises

Sets x Reps

Power Phase

A1. Barbell Bench Press

8 x 2

A2. Weighted pull-up

8 x 2

B. Deadlift

8 x 2

Pump Phase

A1. Barbell Bench Press

3 x 6

A2. Weighted pull-up

3 x 6

B. Deadlift

3 x 6

On Thursday you would be following the same rest and progression pattern for your workouts that you followed on Monday. However, while performing deadlifts,you have to take a rest of two minutes after every set.

Training 4 Times A Week

If you are able to train four times a week, you would be performing each exercise twice a week.

Monday and Thursday

Type

Exercises

Sets x Reps

Power Phase

A1. Barbell military press

8 x 2

A2. Barbell bent-over row

8 x 2

B1. Squat

8 x 2

B2. Double Dumbbell one-leg deadlift

8 x 2

Pump Phase

A1. Barbell military press

3 x 6

A2. Barbell bent-over row

3 x 6

B1. Squat

3 x 6

B2. Double Dumbbell one-leg deadlift

3 x 6

In the power phase, you have to take 90 seconds of rest in between performing each set of A1 and A2. Once you complete up all the sets you can rest for two minutes and then proceed. Between each set of B1 and B2, you will have to rest for 90 seconds. Once all the sets are completed, you will take 5 minutes of rest and proceed with the Pump Phase.

In the Pump Phase you will rest for 1 minute between each set of A1 and A2. Once all the sets are completed, you will take two minutes of rest and then proceed with B1 and B2 in the same manner.

Tuesday and Friday

Type

Exercises

Sets x Reps

Power Phase

A1. Barbell Bench Press

8 x 2

A2. Weighted pull-up

8 x 2

B. Deadlift

8 x 2

Pump Phase

A1. Barbell Bench Press

3 x 6

A2. Weighted pull-up

3 x 6

B. Deadlift

3 x 6

On Tuesday and Friday, you would be following the same rest and progression pattern that you followed on Monday and Thursday. Just keep in mind to rest for 90 seconds between each set of deadlifts.

Hepburn Powerbuilding Program Spreadsheet

Reading about the Hepburn powerbuilding program, you would have surely made up your mind to try this workout routine. To provide you with an easier way out to determine the weight that you would be using, we are going to present a spreadsheet in the form of a Google sheet for your convenience. You can use this spreadsheet to easily get through your workouts without getting puzzled about how much weight you should use respective to the Power and Pump phases of the A, B, and C program of the Hepburn powerbuilding program.

This spreadsheet provides you with a template in which you can put in your 1 RMs pertaining to different lifts. The spreadsheet will automatically let you know about the percentages of weight that you should proceed with. You can surely get the benefits of increased strength and muscle size following this excel sheet. Let’s have a look at the spreadsheet.

 

Hepburn Powerbuilding Program PDF

Click on the button to download Hepburn powerbuilding program PDF file

 

Related:

Sheiko Program Spreadsheets & Templates
Texas Method Workout Program
Smolov Squat Program
Juggernaut Training Method Base Program Spreadsheet
Greyskull LP (GSLP) Program Spreadsheet
Madcow 5×5 Program
Russian Squat Program