Posted by Tony Montgomery under Weight Lifting  Training  on Feb 26 2015

You can't build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you're going to have a strong superstructure.
Gordon B. Hinckley
The question that is often overlooked is how should I start? Or what program's should I run? A lot of people getting into the game always want to know what the top guys are doing and mimic that because if they're doing it, it must be the best!! The question that needs to be asked is what did the best do 10 years ago or when they first started lifting. The foundation they built through years and years of training has lead them to what you see now. So as much as you want to do what the pros do its better if you just take a step and do what you need to do to set yourself up for a great career in this sport later on down the road whether it be training or nutrition a solid foundation will lead to long term success and who knows maybe even greatness.
I titled this year 1 and beyond because you have to realize it's not just the first year that matters but for some people its the first 5-8 years that matter's the most. In fact you should always be building your foundation when off season comes around. The bigger you can build your foundation the more allowance you have to grow and have a higher peak. So with all this talk about foundation building you may be asking how do I build a foundation? This is not so simple because to give a cookie cutter answer to anything relating to the human body is not a smart idea but over the years this is what I've found to work best.
The biggest factors in improving performance is proper nutrition, adequate sleep and recovery, and the proper training program. I have 2 articles pertaining to proper nutrition and sleep on the website so reference those through the archives. Look for performance-nutrition
This article is particularly about building a foundation through proper strength training and programming. Now I've been powerlifting for roughly two years now and have had great success, but before I started competing I started training in high school for football, continued on in the Marines Special Forces, did 5 years of strongman and 2 years of bodybuilding so I've spent nearly a decade building a foundation before I actually got into powerlifting.What I've learned over the years is that the bigger the foundation you can build from the beginning the higher your peak will be in the end or prime of your competitive career. This building takes time so be patient and most importantly enjoy the process.
I've done several styles of training but when it comes down to building a foundation it is very basic movements done for several sets and various reps. Sticking to the basics will not only be the cornerstone of your foundation but it will also allow you time to master the technique of each lift. So compound movements like bench press, pause bench press, BB or DB Overhead Press, BB or DB Rows, Pull Ups, Deadlifts, Squats, Front Squats, and Stiff Leg Deadlifts should be the bread and butter of your routine. Now that you have a guide to what exercises to do the next step is what weight to use, how many sets to do, and how many reps. This is very individualized but a good guideline its to do your main competition movements first so the pause bench, squat, and deadlift using the RPE scale of 1-10 I would stick with weights bet the 5-8 range meaning moderate to moderately heavy weight and stopping 1-2 reps shy of failure in the 3-5 rep range for 4-6 sets depending on how you feel. The biggest thing is to not let the weight compromise form and to not fail at the attempts. Your next movements should be very similar to the first so if you did pause bench, your second movement can be touch n go bench press with different grips or hand positions. Don't worry i will give you an example week at the end of this. These movements should be at the same RPE scale same sets but the reps are now a bit higher bet the 5-8 range that way you can start to build more hypertrophy because a bigger muscle will over time become a stronger muscle. Now you third movements and beyond should focus on bringing up your weak areas with more of a hypertrophy base to it so reps bet 8-20 are good for these exercises. These exercises should also complement your main movement for the day as well so if you did squats, followed by front squats, then movements like back ext, leg curls, walking lunges, leg ext would all be good choices. Setting this up and sticking to it is a great way to build a foundation and will ensure that when its time to peak and compete you will be able to do so at a high level.
Sample week:
Pause Bench Press- 3-5 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
Close Grip Bench Press- 5-8 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
DB Incline BP- 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets
DB Side Raises- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
DB Curls- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
Squat- 3-5 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
Front Squat- 5-8 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
DB SLDL- 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets
Leg Ext- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
Leg Curls- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
Pause Bench Press- 3-5 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
Wide Grip Bench Press- 5-8 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
DB OHP- 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets
DB Rear Delts- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
DB Hammer Curls- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
Deadlift- 3-5 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
BB SLDL- 5-8 reps for 4-6 sets at RPE 5-8
DB Lunges- 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets
Leg Ext- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
Leg Curls- 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets