How to Set a New PR in Your Next Powerlifting Workout

Cracking the strength code:

Have you been struggling to set that new personal record in your squat? Tired of coming up short during your deadlift?

Let’s take a look at some ways you can prepare yourself to set a new PR in your next powerlifting workout.

Start at Home

The first step to setting a new PR starts at home. If you’re not fueling up properly for your workout, you’re stepping into the weight room at a disadvantage.

We highly recommend focusing on pre-workout nutrition and supplements in order to boost your performance, recovery, and results.

Pre-Workout Nutrition

Fasted training is great for weight loss and getting shredded, but it’s not going to help you set a new PR. Your body needs the proper fuel a few hours before you head to the gym.

Eat a pre-workout meal that focuses on protein and complex carbohydrates. Don’t forget to add some healthy fats but don’t eat a fat-heavy meal.

For example, opt for a chicken breast instead of a few servings of almond butter. The latter takes too long to digest, ensuring you’ll start your workout feeling bloated.

Here are a few examples of powerlifting pre-workout meals:

Meal Option 1:

  • 6 oz. chicken breast
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • One serving of grass-fed butter on potato

Meal Option 2:

  • 4 oz. salmon
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup of broccoli

Meal Option 3:

  • 4 oz. filet mignon
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil on vegetables

Pre-Workout Supplements

There are two types of pre-workout supplements that can help you set a new PR: protein and energy boosters.

One hour before your workout, you should drink a protein-based shake. Whey protein blends are ideal for a pre-workout shake while whey protein isolate should be taken after a workout.

If you’re a vegan, there are plant-based proteins you can use. Just make sure to find a protein brand that combines several forms of plant protein such as pea protein, brown rice protein, and hemp protein.

As for energy boosters, nothing beats a stimulant-based pre-workout. Caffeine and theobromine are excellent options for skyrocketing your energy and performance. If you’re sensitive to stimulants, there are non-stim options that help to increase nitric oxide production without spiking blood pressure.

Learn more about supplements for powerlifting.

Nutrition Timeline

Meal timing is important to maximize performance. Here’s a quick breakdown of your meals and supplements timeline:

  • Three Hours Before Workout: Pre-workout meal
  • One Hour Before Workout: Whey protein blend or plant-based protein shake
  • 30 Minutes Before Workout: Energy-focused pre-workout supplement

Opt for Dynamic Stretching

The two primary types of stretching are static and dynamic. Static refers to holding a stretch in place for up to one minute. Dynamic stretching involves light movements that mimic the workout to follow.

For example, if you plan on trying to set a new PR for squats, one dynamic stretch that you should use would be air squats.

Start your workout by warming up – Perform some light cardio for about 10 minutes. Then follow this up with several minutes of dynamic stretches. Here are some stretches based on what your focus will be that day:

Bench Press Dynamic Stretches

  • Wall push-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Resistance band crossover

Squat Dynamic Stretches

  • Air squats
  • Bodyweight walking lunges
  • Bodyweight step-up

Deadlift Dynamic Stretches

  • Bodyweight walking lunges
  • Bodyweight Romanian deadlifts
  • Bodyweight stiff-legged deadlifts

Wear the Proper Gear

Using the right powerlifting gear can improve performance while decreasing your risk of injury. Here are a few pieces of powerlifting accessories we would recommend:

Knee Sleeves: This compression-based material improves blood flow and supports post-workout recovery.

Knee Wraps: Ideal for heavy-duty squats, knee wraps protect while promoting better performance.

Lifting Straps: No need to worry about grip failure. Lifting straps help you to lift more weight and burst through plateaus.

Powerlifting Belt: A necessity for squatting, a powerlifting belt provides a wall of support for your abdominal muscles, helping you brace and push out those reps.

Wrist Wraps: Powerlifting wraps provide the wrist with support and stability while performing heavy lifts.

Adopt Auto-Regulatory Training

Auto-regulation training is a fancy way of saying “listen to your body and adjust accordingly.”

For example, let’s say you are performing a set of squats at 250 pounds. Once you finish and re-rack the barbell, you feel as if you could safely increase the weight for the same number of repetitions. This is auto-regulatory training.

You are taking immediate feedback from your body and applying it to that training session.

It works the other way as well. If you are feeling spent and your mind isn’t in the workout, don’t make a silly mistake, lift too much, and risk injury.

Treat every training session as an active feedback loop. After every lift, ask yourself:

  • How did that feel?
  • Was my form perfect?
  • Could I safely perform more repetitions?
  • Could I safely increase the weight?

Adjust the workout accordingly, always with the goal to push yourself just outside of your comfort zone.

Are You Ready to Set a New PR?

What’s your next personal record? Which exercise are you having trouble with? After you put these suggestions to use, let us know if you were able to hit your new PR on our Facebook.