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Powerlifting Minimum Effective Dose Program
390 athletes joined
For people who want to build peak strength but don't have time with "optimal" training volumes.
4.11
(18 ratings)
Program Description

This template is aimed at lifters who want to experiment with a minimum dose training approach but do not necessarily want to do as little as possible. In addition to singles, this template contains a few back-off sets based on your top single for each training day, as well as 2x optional accessory slots for each training day at higher repetitions. You can expect to make meaningful strength increases in 6 weeks.

Program Overview

This is the SBD: Singles Only program variation. Program can be followed indefinitely (past 6 weeks).

  • Day 1: Squat, Bench, and 2 optional accessories

  • Day 2: Deadlift, Bench, and 2 optional accessories

  • Day 3: Squat, Bench, and 2 optional accessories

Who is Dr. Pak?

Dr. Pak did his PhD on “the minimum dose required for 1RM strength in powerlifters“, a project dedicated to understanding what the least a powerlifter can do is and still get stronger.

As part of his PhD, his lab and other collaborators undertook several studies on the topic, which included a comprehensive review of the existing scientific literature, conducting training studies, and interviewing some of the world's foremost powerlifting athletes and coaches. He also immersed himself in the subject of minimum dose training, focusing on the minimal requirements necessary for achieving significant muscle size gains.

You can learn more about Dr. Pak and training information on his website, instagram, and YouTube channel.

What does the research show?

In summary, their research revealed that powerlifters or individuals trained in resistance could significantly enhance their strength for a period of 6-12 weeks by engaging in a few heavy/high intensity of effort sets for each lift weekly. Furthermore, it was found that as few as 1-4 sets per muscle group each week could lead to meaningful increases in muscle growth for both trained and untrained individuals.

This does not imply that "a few sets" are all one needs indefinitely, but it suggests a viable strategy that might be beneficial when time or recovery resources are scarce, or even when training motivation is low.

The document he prepared includes a series of 6-week minimum dose style "templates" for hypertrophy, 1RM Squat-Bench-Deadlift strength, and a combination of both.

Program Overview
Level
Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
Goal
Powerlifting
Equipment
Garage Gym
Program Length
6 weeks
Days Per Week
3 days
Time Per Workout
45 minutes
down_app
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Squat (Barbell)
1
2
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
2
Bench Press (Barbell)
1
1
2
1 Reps
1 Reps
3 Reps
RPE 9-9.5
RPE 7-9
RPE 7-9
What People Are Saying(18 ratings)
Only ratings with written feedback are displayed here.
4.11/ 5
J L.Age 33, Man
11 hours ago
1 week complete
7 years of prior experience
Less than expected strength gains
Less than expected muscle gains
None modifications
This program is not for advanced lifters. For instance, it demands me squatting 540 two times a week, deadlifting 560 one time a week, and benching 385 three times a week. None of my workouts were possible in 45 minutes, and it isn't minimum effort. The program doesn't guide you in how to ramp up, it just tells you to go by RPE which is totally subjective and not helpful. This program MAY be for beginners because the load on their CNS would be minimal, but the study by Dr. Pak doesn't even support that this program is beneficial for more than 50% of lifters in general. I feel cheated out of a week of training. Dr. Pak owes me lol.
Albert R.Age 26, Man
3 days ago
5 weeks complete
6 years of prior experience
As expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
Fairly good program, I beat all PRs in the three core lifts on this program and achieved a 1000 Ib total! I still don't think that the bench is programmed as effectively as it could, and I'd recommend some supplementary exercises, especially targeting shoulders and upper body for more rounded development.