The Best FREE POWERLIFTING PROGRAMS of 2024

Written by the Boostcamp staff
Jan 5,2024|27 min| 742

The best free programs to make progress in your powerlifting career

Are you looking for the perfect powerlifting program to absolutely push your progression to the next level and hit some PRs in 2024? Perhaps you are looking for a top of the line, free training program that helps to incorporate different methods of training, such as progressive overload, and maybe even some deload weeks, overall helping you to get really get strong. Maybe you are getting ready for a powerlifting competition and need a program to help you peak. If so, you have come to the right place. The team over at Boostcamp has compiled the top free powerlifting programs on the internet to help you find the right program for your level and goals. These are not the plain old Push Pull Legs or the Upper Lower splits, but instead they are hand-selected

How did we compile this list? As a disclaimer, “best” is subjective. These programs below are compiled based on the most popular and proven programs that thousands of athletes have found success with over many years. These are not the latest programs some fitfluencer released and promotes, as those are not proven and half the time the person promoting them does not even use them. These are tried and tested programs that guarantee results if you stick to them. Now, a lot of them are from the Best Free Programs of 2023, which is because that list was so great.

The Best Free Powerlifting Programs of 2024 are not listed in any particular order, aside from being divided up by skillset. They're all awesome, so read further below to find the right routine for your level, number of days per week, and structure.

Best Free Beginner Powerlifting Workout Programs:

  1. 5/3/1 for Beginners

  2. GZCL Program

  3. r/Fitness Basic Beginner Routine (3x5)

  4. nSuns

  5. Starting Strength

Best Free Intermediate Powerlifting Workout Programs:

  1. Candito 6-Week Program

  2. TSA 9-Week Intermediate Approach

  3. Calgary Barbell 16 Week Powerlifting Program

  4. 5/3/1 Boring But Big

  5. Greg Nuckols 28 Programs

Best Free Advanced Powerlifting Workout Programs:

  1. Rip and Tear

  2. 5/3/1 Building the Monolith

List of the Best Free Beginner Powerlifting Programs

5/3/1 for Beginners

Coach: Jim Wendler
Level:
Novice
Days Per Week: 3 days
Program Length: 12 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

Created by renowned powerlifter and coach Jim Wendler, 5/3/1 for Beginners is based on the famous 531 training philosophy. 5/3/1 is a progression scheme based on a scheduled ramp of 5 reps, 3 reps, and 1 rep for the main compound movements over a defined training period. Specifically for 5/3/1 for Beginners, this is on a weekly linear basis because beginners can make progress much faster than intermediate and advanced athletes. To learn more about 5/3/1, we highly recommend Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 book, which contains more detailed training advice and over 50+ 531 templates.

Program highlights

  • Learn the famous 5/3/1 training methodology developed by Jim Wendler

  • 3-day routine that builds work capacity, coordination, stability, and of course strength

  • Progression scheme that is proven to work

GZCL Program

Coach: Cody Lefever
Level:
Beginner, Novice
Days Per Week: 3 or 4 days
Program Length: 12 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

Created by strength coach and r/fitness cult leader (joking!) Cody Lefever, GZCL is a flexible programming methodology for building strength in the powerlifting compound lifts and also general muscle building. GZCLP is the beginner template that is based on a linear progression approach. There are 3 classes of exercises: Tier 1, which are the primary barbell movements to be done with heavy weights and low reps, Tier 2, which are secondary compound exercises to build strength to Tier 1 done at slightly lighter weight at higher reps, and Tier 3, which are tertiary accessory exercises to build more muscle done at the highest reps. GZCL is a favorite on r/fitness, r/weightroom, and r/gzcl with tons of user reviews. In 2021, Boostcamp partnered with Cody to launch the GZCL app on Boostcamp for free.

Program highlights

  • GZCLP has a cultish following on Reddit’s fitness community

  • Focus on both compound lifts and also accessory bodybuilding exercises

  • Easy to follow, with 3-4 exercises per workout and only 60 min to complete each workout

  • Smart protocol to handle weight stalling, with different rep failure schemes

  • Different progression schemes for main lifts and accessory exercises

  • Highly customizable program for your training goals

r/Fitness Basic Beginner Routine (3x5)

Coach: Reddit Fitness
Level:
Beginner
Days Per Week: 3 days
Program Length: 12 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

This beginner program is best described as a “training wheels” routine. It follows the classic tried and true linear progression structure of 3 sets of 5 reps on the compound lifts–squat, bench press, the deadlift, overhead press, barbell row. If you are completely new to barbell training, this is a good 3x/routine to start with. If you’ve ever heard of Stronglifts and Starting Strength, the r/fitness Basic Beginner Routine is often considered an improved version of those. Given how fast the weight progressions are, you can generally only run this program for 3 months, after which you should consider some of the other novice routines on this list. You can find this program free on Boostcamp and also on spreadsheet.

Program highlights

  • Super simple Workout A and Workout B format

  • Complete focus on the compound lifts

  • Workout by workout weight progressions

  • Tried and proven by thousands of Redditors

  • Improvement over Starting Strength and Stronglifts

nSuns

Coach: nSuns
Level:
Novice
Days Per Week: 3, 4, 5, 6 day variations
Program Length: 12 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

Believe it or not, nSuns was actually made by a lifting enthusiast (u/nSuns) who’s since gone anonymous. Despite the lack of coaching credibility, nSuns program gained a cult following on reddit due to its effectiveness and flexibility. Speaking of its proven effectiveness, the program progressions are auto-regulated, in the sense that the weekly linear progressions are based on your performance in the previous week. And for flexibility, there are multiple variations of the program available depending on your preference, such as a 3 day a week, 4 day a week, 5 day a week, and 6 day a week versions of the program. Note that this is a rather demanding program with a ton of volume on compound movements, so it falls in between a novice to intermediate program. If you’re a beginner still mastering the basic compound lifts, one of the other programs on this will suit you better. Boostcamp was able to make contact with u/nSuns to get approval to launch nSuns on our app.

Program highlights

  • Program with a cultish following on Reddit

  • Auto-regulated weekly weight progressions

  • 3-6 day a week variations available

  • High volume training program

Starting Strength

Coach: Mark Riptoe
Level:
Beginner, Novice
Days Per Week: 3 days
Program Length: 4 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

While you can buy the original Starting Strength book on Amazon for the most comprehensive program guide, the Starting Strength program on Boostcamp will do the trick. This program focuses on the core compound lifts which consist of the squat, clean, press, bench, deadlift and chin-ups. The goal of this program is to add weight each and every time you lift, taking advantage of The Novice Effect that allows you to do so. The program is split into 2 different days - Day A and Day B - with the days alternative every other week. For example, week 1 will be A/B/A, week 2 will be B/A/B, week 3 will be A/B/A, and so on.

Program highlights

  • Only 4 weeks

  • Proven to be incredibly effective by thousands of lifters

  • Can be repeated

List of the Best Free Intermediate Powerlifting Programs

Candito 6-Week Strength

Coach: Jonnie Candito
Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week: 3-5 days
Program Length: 6 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

Candito 6-Week Strength, also widely known as C6W, is an incredibly popular powerlifting program written by Jonnie Candito. Candito is an OG YouTuber, elite level competitive powerlifter, and coach to other powerlifting champs. This program uses principles of weekly periodization, which means that every week is different and focuses on a different goal. It starts off with higher volume hypertrophy and muscular conditioning for the first few weeks, then transitions to heavy weights and finally peaking for Personal Records. Boostcamp officially partnered with Candito to digitize his popular spreadsheet program on Boostcamp App for free to use.

Program highlights

  • Made by Jonnie Candito, the OG of fitness YouTube

  • Super fun program where every week has a different goal

  • Proven to be incredibly effective by thousands of lifters

  • Very tough, high volume program in the first 3 weeks

TSA Intermediate Approach

Coach: The Strength Athlete
Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week: 4 days
Program Length: 9 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

Written by Bryce Lewis and the team at The Strength Athlete (TSA), TSA Intermediate Approach is an excellent program based on TSA’s experience coaching hundreds of powerlifters to elite levels. This program gets progressively heavier week over week to peak into competition/PR testing at the end of 9 weeks. This program is thoughtfully designed to address many of the shortcomings of the average beginner/intermediate level powerlifter. For example, this program really helps you develop technical proficiency on the squat/bench/deadlift, underdeveloped posterior chains, control off the floor in deadlifts, and upper body muscular hypertrophy. We partnered with Bryce to digitize this proven program into Boostcamp App.

Program highlights

  • Designed by Bryce Lewis, one of the best powerlifters in the world

  • 9 week progression into competition/PR testing

  • Addresses many weaknesses of beginner/intermediate powerlifters

  • Can be cycled successfully over and over again

Calgary Barbell 16 Week Powerlifting Program

Coach: Calgary Barbell
Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week: 4 days
Program Length: 16 weeks, 8 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

Written by Bryce Krawczyk and the coaching team at Calgary Barbell, this is one of the best intermediate powerlifting routines on the internet. The 16 week program is broken into 4 blocks, with each block lasting 3-4 weeks long, with 4 workouts a week. Each block increases in intensity before finally peaking into competition/PR testing at the end of the program. The 8 week version of the program shortens some of the blocks and then peaks into competition/PR. Note that Calgary Barbell also has their own monthly paid training app, which contains tons of their own programming for powerlifters of all levels. I highly recommend that you check it out.

Program highlights

  • Designed by Bryce Krawczyk, one of the best powerlifters in the world

  • High bench press frequency and known to help athlete’s bench explode

  • Intelligently designed with a mixture of volume/intensity/frequency

  • Peaks into a powerlifting meet/PR testing

5/3/1 Boring But Big (BBB)

Coach: Jim Wendler
Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week: 4 days
Program Length: 12 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

Written by Jim Wendler, 531 BBB is one of the most popular variations of the 5/3/1 training philosophy. This program focuses on the 4 main compound movements–squat, bench, deadlift, and overhead press, with 1 training day per week for each lift plus assistance exercises done at 5 sets of 10 reps. Compared to other programs on this list, this program has way less exercise variations, but Jim would probably tell you that this is a feature, not a bug. It is hard to argue as so many lifters have added serious poundages and muscle size following 5/3/1 BBB. We highly recommend that you purchase Jim Wendler’s books to learn more about his program.

Program highlights

  • Brutally simple and effective

  • High volume program

  • Can be repeated for multiple cycles

Greg Nuckols 28 Programs

Coach: Greg Nuckols
Level:
Intermediate, advanced
Days Per Week: variable # of days
Program Length: 4+ weeks
Availability: Spreadsheet

Twenty-eight programs? OK not actually. Greg Nuckols 28 Programs is actually a mega spreadsheet that contains 28 sheets meant to be combined into 1 program. There are sheets for the main compound lifts: squat, bench, and deadlift. Each compound exercise has sheets for different levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced. Then each of these have variations for frequency: 1x, 2x, or 3x per week. Think of this as a modular spreadsheet to mix and match into your own program. We love Greg’s programs, but this is too hard to digitize into an app format unfortunately.

Program highlights

  • Highly modular program with multiple combinations

  • Made by the beloved Greg Nuckols, founder of Stronger by Science

  • Can be repeated for multiple cycles

List of the Best Free Advanced Powerlifting Programs

Rip and Tear

Coach: Mark Rosenberg,
Level:
Advanced
Days Per Week: 4 days
Program Length: 12 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

For those who are the hardened veterans of powerlifting, Rip And Tear is the program to use and really push yourself. Rip and Tear is a 12 week program focused around high frequency, high weight, low rep Squat, Bench and Deadlift. It aims to put a fine edge on your technique in these movements at low rep ranges, so don't worry, you won't be doing those high-rep workouts that feel more like cardio than lifting. It is a good choice for a lifter who has spent time focusing on other areas who wants to take their strength and size gains and turn them into personal records in Squat, Bench and Deadlift.

With a program like this, you need to be focusing on recovery. That being said, make sure you have a proper diet and supplementation routine, and sleep schedule to make sure that you are making the most gains possible.

Program highlights

  • Low rep ranges, really pushes you

  • Basic equipment needed

  • Can be repeated for multiple cycles

5/3/1 Building the Monolith

Coach: Jim Wendler
Level:
Advanced
Days Per Week: 3 days
Program Length: 12 weeks
Availability: Boostcamp App, spreadsheet

5/3/1 Building the Monolith (BtM) was created by Jim Wendler, world renowned powerlifter and coach. BtM is designed for advanced athletes with many years of consistent training under their belt. It uses the infamous 5/3/1 philosophy. There are a great amount of barbell movements, as well as some dumbbell and cable movements to fine tune the muscles. To learn more about Jim's famous 5/3/1 training philosophy, be sure to check out his 5/3/1 Forever book, which collects all of Jim's thinking on 5/3/1 training methods. Go to www.jimwendler.com to learn more. 5/3/1 BBB is free on Boostcamp App. Also check out 5/3/1 for Beginners or 5/3/1 Boring But Big, which are also free on Boostcamp.

Program highlights

  • Great 5/3/1 training style

  • Basic equipment needed

  • Can be repeated for multiple cycles

Boostcamp: The Last Lifting App You’ll Ever Need

If these programs are not what you are looking for, that is fine. We have plenty of other options for you to choose from. To help you find some new programs and maximize your strength gains, consider using the Boostcamp App. The Boostcamp app offers free science-based workout routines, advanced custom program builder, and a workout tracker to help you stay on top of your progress.

By using the Boostcamp App for your training routine, you'll have all the tools you need to develop a strong mind-muscle connection and break through plateaus. Download the Boostcamp App today and take your workouts to the next level!

Best Free Powerlifting Programs Wrap Up

Overall, there are plenty of free powerlifting programs available for you to test out, no matter your skill set. Strength training is relevant for many different things, from lifting to other sports such, where strength training would be especially valuable for hill climbing. Have you tried any of the programs on our list? Feel free to swing over to Boostcamp to check out all of these programs.


Boostcamp has plenty of free programs that help with both strength and hypertrophy, be sure to check them out and follow Boostcamp on Instagram and subscribe on YouTube!

HEADER IMAGE COURTESY OF CHLOE BUTLER AND PWR BUILD MEDIA