Powerlifting Polka: 3, 4, or 6 Days/Week Powerlifting Program

Powerlifting Polka is one of our most popular and effective powerlifting programs. It is six weeks long and comes in three versions: 3, 4, and 6 days per week.

The goal of the program is to make you bigger and stronger in the three powerlifts: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift.

Powerlifting Polka is a mash-up of our most popular programs for the three big lifts: Squat Samba, Bench Press Boogie, and Deadlift Disco. The program mixes both heavy weights with low reps, and medium/light weights with medium/high reps, making it suitable for long-term development as well as practicing peak strength.

This is one of the many premium programs available in our app StrengthLog. You can download StrengthLog for free with the links below.

Powerlifting Polka: Program Overview

Deadlift Powerlifting Competition

This is a training program for powerlifters looking to increase their muscularity and improve their total.

The program is six weeks long and ends with a short peaking phase and a max attempt – which you could of course replace with a powerlifting competition instead.

If you have plenty of time before your next competition, you can train several cycles of the program in a row, perhaps with a deload week in between cycles.

The program comes in three versions:

We’ll take a closer look at the differences between the versions shortly, but first, we’ll look at some of the similarities.

  • 1RM-based. This is a program based on percentages of your 1RM. When you start the program, you will get to enter your 1RM in the squat, bench press, and deadlift and the app will calculate your training weights for you. In the accessory exercises, we leave deciding the weights up to you, as long as you hit the specified number of reps.
  • Strength & size. Increased muscle mass is very important for long-term strength gains, and correlates strongly with powerlifting performance. Therefore, this program is set up to aid both your short-term specific strength skill and your long-term muscle growth.
  • Powerlifts & accessories. The meat and potatoes of this program are the big three lifts themselves. They make up the brunt of the training volume and will drive the majority of your results. That said, every workout also contains one or two accessory exercises, intended to complement the training from the powerlifts. The more workouts you do per week, the more accessory exercises you will be able to fit in.
  • Gradual build-up. You’ll begin with a pretty moderate training volume and training weights. Then, the volume and weights will gradually increase up to a peak in weeks four and five.
  • Taper in week six. The last week consists of a short taper, followed by max attempts (or a competition) at the end of the week. If you prefer to customize your taper, feel free to do so. If you prefer to skip the max attempts and instead just begin another cycle, you’re equally welcome. It is the training that makes you stronger, not the testing.
Wave progression
Like many of our advanced strength training programs, all three versions of Powerlifting Polka follow a wave progression. The volume and weights increase in an undulating, wave-form pattern, gradually climbing higher. This might aid your recovery and keeps the workouts more interesting and fresh.

Let’s take a closer look at the three different versions of the training program.

Powerlifting Polka – 3 Days/Week

This program contains three workouts per week, and each workout contains work for both your upper and lower body.

You’ll train the squat in two of the workouts, the deadlift in one, and the bench press in all three.

Here’s a rough outline of a typical training week, with suggestions for training days:

Workout 1 (Monday)

  1. Squat
  2. Bench Press

Optional:

  1. Barbell Row
  2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Workout 2 (Wednesday)

  1. Bench Press
  2. Deadlift

Optional:

  1. Lat Pulldown
  2. Bulgarian Split Squat

Workout 3 (Friday)

  1. Squat
  2. Bench Press

Optional:

  1. Romanian Deadlift
  2. Tricep Pushdown

For the number of sets, reps, and % of 1RM, check out the program in the StrengthLog app.

This is the original version of the program and it features a ton of bang for your buck. Each workout is fairly exhausting, but it is a proven effective program for increasing your strength and muscle.

This program emphasizes the squat and the bench press, leaving the deadlift trailing just slightly behind. Thanks to all the squatting you’ll be doing, however, one deadlift workout per week is probably going to be enough for you to gain strength in that lift as well.

The training volume in this program is moderately high, making this a suitable program for the intermediate powerlifter. Perhaps also for the advanced powerlifter looking to get back into structured training again.

  • Looking for more training volume? Check out the 4-day program.
  • Like this program, but want to spread it out over six short workouts per week, only doing one of the powerlifts per workout? Check out the 6-day program.
  • Like this program, but can only do five short workouts per week? Check out Powerlifting Pronto.

Powerlifting Polka – 4 Days/Week

This program is similar to the 3-day program, but adds one bench press + pause deadlift workout.

That means the bench press volume is about 33% higher, and the deadlift volume almost doubles. The squat volume remains the same.

Here’s a rough outline of a typical training week, with suggestions for training days:

Workout 1 (Monday)

  1. Squat
  2. Bench Press

Optional:

  1. Barbell Row
  2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Workout 2 (Tuesday)

  1. Bench Press
  2. Deadlift

Optional:

  1. Lat Pulldown
  2. Romanian Deadlift

Workout 3 (Thursday)

  1. Squat
  2. Bench Press

Optional:

  1. Barbell Row
  2. Bulgarian Split Squat

Workout 4 (Friday)

  1. Bench Press
  2. Pause Deadlift

Optional:

  1. Lat Pulldown
  2. Good Mornings

For the number of sets, reps, and % of 1RM, check out the program in the StrengthLog app.

This program is a step up from the 3-day program. It packs a serious punch and is definitely not for everyone.

This program is suitable for the advanced lifter who is accustomed and conditioned to a high training volume and who knows when he or she needs to ease up on the weights or the accessory exercises.

Don’t overextend yourself on this program by entering 1RM’s that are too aggressive. Remember that your 1RM isn’t necessarily the same as your PR. Better to run through it without a hitch using light enough weights to dominate your technique, than go too heavy and hurt yourself, or drop out half-way through.

If you’re not sure whether you should do this program or the 3-day version, I strongly recommend you begin with the latter. That will give you a feel for the training volume, and better help you decide if you think adding a fourth heavy workout is a good idea or not.

If you’re not quite yet ready for the 4-day program, doing a few cycles of the 3-day program is a great way to prepare.

Powerlifting Polka – 6 Days/Week

Finally, the 6-day program.

This program is more or less identical to the 3-day program, with the difference that we have split every workout in two.

Instead of doing three workouts like this:

  1. Squat + Bench Press
  2. Bench Press + Deadlift
  3. Squat + Bench Press

You’ll do six workouts like this:

  1. Squat
  2. Bench Press
  3. Deadlift
  4. Bench Press
  5. Squat
  6. Bench Press

This means that instead of doing three long workouts, you’ll be doing six short. Our reason for providing both is simply to better help you find a program that suits your schedule, or your personal preferences.

It also means that this program has a lower volume than the 4-day program and is, therefore, just like the 3-day program suitable for intermediate-to-advanced lifters.

There is one more difference compared to the 3-day program, and that is that we’ve added a few more accessory lifts to the 6-day version. These are, as always, optional. The reason we’ve added accessory exercises instead of more of the big three is simply that squeezing in a few sets of, say, leg extensions, generally takes a lot less time than warming up and doing the same number of squats.

If you’re looking for a time-effective 5-day powerlifting routine that only has one powerlift per workout and no accessory exercises, check out Powerlifting Pronto.

Anyhow, let’s take a closer look at a typical training week in the 6-day version.

Workout 1 (Monday)

  1. Squat

Optional:

  1. Good Morning
  2. Leg Extension

Workout 2 (Tuesday)

  1. Bench Press

Optional:

  1. Lat Pulldown
  2. Barbell Curl

Workout 3 (Wednesday)

  1. Deadlift

Optional:

  1. Seated Leg Curl
  2. Kneeling Ab Wheel

Workout 4 (Thursday)

  1. Bench Press

Optional:

  1. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  2. Triceps Pushdown

Workout 5 (Friday)

  1. Squat

Optional:

  1. Bulgarian Split Squat

Workout 6 (Saturday)

  1. Bench Press

Optional:

  1. Barbell Row
  2. Dumbbell Chest Fly

For the number of sets, reps, and % of 1RM, check out the program in the StrengthLog app.

This program is equal in volume to the 3-day program. Barring accessory lifts.

It’s simply a matter of distributing the training differently throughout the week, doing shorter but more frequent workouts. This might be beneficial, as you won’t be tired from the first big lift when you get to the second one, but the trade-off is, of course, that you’ll have to go to the gym twice as often.

You will also not get the same practice at doing long workouts. Training two heavy compound lifts in the same workout (such as squats and bench, or bench and deadlifts) serves as preparation for powerlifting competitions, where you have to perform all three lifts back-to-back over the course of a few hours.

If you’re far out from a competition, however, this might be of minor importance, and you can build the competition-specific work capacity by practicing doing all three lifts in the last weeks leading up to the meet.

All in all, the 6-day program is a great way to get some really solid powerlifting training in, without necessarily spending two or three hours in the gym every time.

When You Reach the End of Powerlifting Polka

Powerlifting Polka ends with max attempts in the big three lifts.

It’s up to you if you want to:

  • Perform these as a mock meet.
  • Do an actual competition.
  • Max out on separate days for each lift, in order to maximize your performance in every lift.

Alternatively, you may opt to skip maxing out entirely and instead begin another cycle, with slightly higher 1RM’s entered into the program.

Powerlifting Polka is written with the intention that it should be suitable to train for several cycles back to back.

Follow This Program

Want to give Powerlifting Polka a go?

It’s available exclusively in our workout app StrengthLog.

While this program requires a premium subscription, StrengthLog itself is entirely free. You can download it and use it as a workout tracker and general strength training app – and all basic functionality is free forever.

It even has a bunch of free programs and workouts. However, our more advanced programs (such as this one) are for premium users only.

If you want to download StrengthLog for free and give it a spin, use the buttons below.

Want to try premium out before you decide if it’s worth it?

For a limited time, we offer a free 30-day-trial of premium to all new app users who subscribe to our email list.

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  1. Sign up for our newsletter using the box below.
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Daniel Richter

Daniel has a decade of experience in powerlifting, is a certified personal trainer, and has a Master of Science degree in engineering. Besides competing in powerlifting himself, he coaches both beginners and lifters at the international level. Daniel lives in Lund, Sweden with his wife and three kids. On StrengthLog, Daniel geeks out about all things related to his lifelong passion of muscle and strength.