The Stan Efferding Powerlifting Program!


Stan Efferding is one of the strongest people on the planet. He earned the title of “the world’s strongest bodybuilder” and set multiple world records in powerlifting.

If you want to get freaky strong then the Stan Efferding powerlifting program is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Stan Efferding’s Bench Press Program
  • Part 2: Stan Efferding’s Squat / Deadlift Program
  • Part 3: Stan Efferding’s Powerlifting Off Season

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you everything you need to know about Stan Efferding’s powerlifting program and how he set multiple powerlifting world records.

Stan Efferding is known for putting up massive numbers in all three powerlifts: the squat, the bench press and the deadlift.

Here is a great video of Stan squatting 905 pounds in the gym. Check it out:

What an incredible squat!

Stan Efferding trained for powerlifting using a low-frequency training program called The Lilliebridge Method.

Unlike most competitive powerlifters Stan only trained 2 days per week! No, that was not a typo: Stan Efferding trained with a 2 day upper / lower split when he was breaking all-time powerlifting world records!

Here is the exact training split Stan used during his powerlifting career:

Stan Efferding’s Powerlifting Training Split

  • Monday: Bench Press
  • Saturday: Squat / Deadlift

That’s it! Stan was so strong that he needed a ton of rest in between his workouts to recover and make progress. Stan rotated between two different types of weeks in his powerlifting program.

On week #1 he would go heavy on the bench press and the squat. Then on week #2 he would go heavy on the deadlift. For example:

Stan Efferding’s Weekly Training Schedule

Week #1

  • Monday: Heavy Bench Press
  • Saturday: Heavy Squat

Week #2

  • Monday: Light Bench
  • Saturday: Heavy Deadlift

Stan usually trained heavy for about 10-12 weeks leading up to his powerlifting competitions. This meant Stan had enough time for 5-6 workouts on each of the competition lifts.

Stan’s lower body workouts are pretty shocking to me. Stan only performs the squat and deadlift once every 2 weeks! Talk about a low-frequency training program! For Stan this was the only way that he could continue to make progress in his training.

In his prime he was squatting and deadlifting 700+ pounds per week. The only way he could recover from these heavy lower body workouts was to perform the squat and deadlift every other week in his training.

Stan’s bench press training is similar. He could only make progress on the competition bench press if he trained it every other week.

On Stan’s “light” bench press workouts he trained as heavy as possible on various bench press assistance exercises. For example Stan often used incline barbell presses, dumbbell presses at all angles and dips on his light bench press day.

Part 1: Stan Efferding’s Bench Press Program

Stan Efferding’s best bench press was an incredible 606 pounds. In order to train for a 600+ pound bench press he performed the competition movement once every 2 weeks.

On his off weeks he focused on heavy accessory exercises to drive up the competition lift. For example:

Stan Efferding’s Bench Press Program

  • Week #1: Heavy bench press
  • Week #2: Light bench press

Stan normally trained like a powerlifter for about 10-12 weeks leading up to his powerlifting competitions. Remember, Stan was competing in both powerlifting AND bodybuilding in his prime.

He liked to alternate back and forth between these 2 sports throughout his career.

When Stan decided to do a powerlifting meet he only had about 10-12 weeks to ramp up his weights and get freaky strong. Stan organized his bench press workouts with a simple type of linear periodization known as The Lilliebridge Method.

Every 2 weeks he would work up to a heavy set of 1-3 reps on the bench press. As he got closer to a meet his weights on these heavy sets increased.

Here is what a typical bench press cycle looked like for Stan when he was training for a 600 pound bench press:

Stan Efferding’s Bench Press Training Cycle

Training Block #1

  • Week 1: 500 x 3
  • Week 2: Accessory work

Training Block #2

  • Week 3: 515 x 3
  • Week 4: Accessory work

Training Block #3

  • Week 5: 540 x 2
  • Week 6: Accessory work

Training Block #4 

  • Week 7: 555 x 2
  • Week 8: Accessory work

Training Block #5

  • Week 9: 580 x 1
  • Week 10: Accessory work

Training Block #6

  • Week 11: Competition week!

Stan believed that the best way to train for a big bench press was to go hard and heavy on a small number of exercises. He didn’t see the point in doing a lot of isolation exercises.

In Stan’s opinion a heavy 3-board press for sets of 5 is going to be infinitely better than lying tricep extensions for sets of 10.

Here is what one of Stan’s typical heavy bench press workouts looked like:

Stan Efferding Bench Press Workout

  • A1: Bench press competition grip, 2 x 3, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Bench press competition grip, 1 x 1, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Incline dumbbell press, 2 x 6-10, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Dips, 2 x 14-20, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Here’s a great video of Stan performing some heavy singles and triples on the bench press:

As you can see Stan goes hard and heavy on a small number of exercises. All of the accessory work is performed just shy of failure using heavy weights.

Now let’s take a look at one of Stan’s “light” bench press workouts. Check it out:

Stan Efferding Bench Press Accessory Work:

  • A1: 3-board bench press, 2 x 5, 1/0/X/0, 240 seconds rest
  • B1: 30 degree incline bench press (wide grip), 2 x 5, 1/0/X/0, 240 seconds rest
  • C1: Seated DB overhead press, 2 x 8-10, 2/0/X/0, 240 seconds rest

Here’s a great video of Stan Efferding going heavy on the incline bench press:

Once again Stan goes hard and heavy on some basic bench press accessory exercises. Stan was very fond of the 2-board and 3-board press because it let him practice the bench press movement without wearing out his chest and shoulders with a full range of motion.

Stan performed these “light” bench press workouts every other week on the weeks where he didn’t go heavy on the competition bench press.

Eric Lilliebridge has also had a lot of success training the bench press this way.

Part 2: Stan Efferding’s Squat / Deadlift Program

Stan Efferding was known for his inhuman squat and deadlift strength. His best lifts include a 905 pound squat in training and an 837 pound deadlift. Talk about incredible!

Stan Efferding’s squat and deadlift training was extremely taxing on his body.

Just think about it: he was regularly squatting and deadlifting 700-800+ pounds in his training. This placed a huge toll on his body, particularly his lower back and his central nervous system.

In order to recover from these brutal workouts he trained the squat and deadlift every other week on Saturday. For example:

Stan Efferding’s Squat / Deadlift Program

  • Week #1: Heavy squat
  • Week #2: Heavy deadlift

Yes, you read that right: Stan trained the squat and deadlift once every 2 weeks in the peak of his powerlifting career!

Many beginners would have a very hard time pulling this off. However, it worked fine for Stan. He had so much training experience that he could get stronger performing these movements every other week.

He never had to worry about his body “forgetting” how to perform these exercises because he was so strong and so experienced. Squatting and deadlifting were like riding a bike for Stan!

Once again Stan organized his squat / deadlift programs into 10-12 peaking cycles leading up to his powerlifting meets. Here is what a typical training block looked like when Stan was at his strongest:

Stan Efferding’s Squat / Deadlift Training Cycle

Training Block #1

  • Week 1: Squat 700 x 3
  • Week 2: Deadlift 650 x 3

Training Block #2

  • Week 3: Squat = 730 x 3
  • Week 4: Deadlift = 680 x 3

Training Block #3

  • Week 5: Squat = 780 x 2
  • Week 6: Deadlift = 720 x 2

Training Block #4

  • Week 7: Squat = 810 x 2
  • Week 8: Deadlift = 750 x 2

Training Block #5

  • Week 9: Squat = 860 x 1
  • Week 10: Deadlift = 780 x 1

Training Block #6

  • Week 11: Deload
  • Week 12: Competition Week!

After Stan performed his top sets for the squat and deadlift he performed 2-3 accessory exercises to hit his legs and back. Once again Stan went hard and heavy on his accessory exercises.

He didn’t see the point in doing leg curls or other wimpy isolation exercises. After all, how is a leg curl supposed to help Stan squat 900 pounds in competition!?

Here is what Stan’s typical powerlifting style squat workouts looked like. Check it out:

Stan Efferding Squat Workout

  • A1: Back squat (competition stance), 1 x 1-3, 2/0/X/0, 300 seconds rest
  • C1: 45 degree leg press (with bands), 2 x 10-15, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Barbell bent over row, 2 x 10-15, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Here is a great video of Stan squatting 905 pounds in training:

This is the video where Stan squatted 905 pounds in training. He was training with Marc Bell at the time.

Marc asked Stan “why do you want 905 pounds on the bar? That doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t you just do 900 pounds?”

Stan’s response was priceless: “I figure I can’t have an even 900 pounds bar so I have to go with 905.”

They don’t call Stan one of the brightest minds in the fitness industry for nothing!!

Now let’s take a look at one of Stan’s typical deadlift workouts. Check it out:

Stan Efferding Deadlift Workout

  • A1: Conventional deadlift, 1 x 1-3, X/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: 45 degree leg press (with bands), 2 x 10-15, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Cable pulldowns (wide / overhand grip), 2 x 10-15, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Seated cable rows (v-handle), 2 x 10-15, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Here is a great video of Stan deadlifting:

Screaming like a mongoose on PCP is optional but Stan believes it is “the secret” to a huge deadlift. Only an über-dweeb would argue with Stan on merits of screaming during a set – don’t even think about it!!

Once again Stan keeps his deadlift workouts nice and simple. He performs 1 heavy set of deadlifts followed by 2-3 assistance exercises. That’s all there is to it!

Part 3: Stan Efferding’s Powerlifting Off Season

Stan Efferding used 10-12 week peaking cycles to break world records in powerlifting.

He performed all of his ultra-heavy training in the squat, bench press and deadlift during these peaking cycles. However, the training that Stan Efferding did during the offseason is just as important.

During his powerlifting offseason Stan Efferding trained like a bodybuilder to get ready for his bodybuilding competitions.

He used a lot more volume and training frequency when he trained like a bodybuilder. However, he kept his “knucklehead” approach of training hard and heavy and not worrying too much about the little things that don’t really matter.

Stan Efferding used a high-frequency training program during his powerlifting offseason. Here was his exact training split:

Stan Efferding’s Bodybuilding Training Split

Monday

  • AM: Chest
  • PM: Shoulders

Tuesday

  • AM: Back
  • PM: Biceps / Triceps

Wednesday:

  • AM: Quads
  • PM: Hamstrings

Thursday:

  • AM: Chest
  • PM: Shoulders

Friday:

  • AM: Back
  • PM: Biceps / Triceps

Saturday:

  • AM: Quads
  • PM: Hamstrings

You can almost think of this as a modified 6 day push / pull / legs split where each body part is trained twice per week. This is a very difficult training split to recover from but it worked like a charm for Stan Efferding.

Let’s take a look at a couple of his powerlifting offseason workouts. Check it out:

Stan Efferding’s Chest Workout

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press, 2 x (5, 10**), 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: 30 degree incline DB bench, 2 x 6-8****, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Decline hammer strength press, 2 x 10-12, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Standing cable crossover, 2 x 15-20, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Perform a double drop set on the second set only.

****Perform 3-5 forced reps on both sets after reaching failure on the 6-8 rep range.

******Perform a double drop set on the last rep only

Here’s a great training video of Stan’s chest workout:

Stan uses a typical high-volume bodybuilding workout for his chest. This makes perfect sense as he was training for his next bodybuilding competition at the time!

Now let’s look at one of Stan’s back hypertrophy workouts. Check it out:

Stan Efferding’s Back Workout

  • A1: Cable pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 3 x 10-15, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Chin ups (narrow / neutral grip, 3 x 10-12, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Barbell bent over row, 2 x 6-8, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Machine pullover, 2 x 10-15, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Here is a great training video for this back workout:

Once again Stan goes hard and heavy on a few basic movements and then calls it a day.

The moral of the story is most trainees can’t train with singles, doubles and triples year-round. There needs to be some “down-time” where you use higher reps and build muscular hypertrophy.

Stan Efferding trained like a bodybuilder during his powerlifting offseason. You don’t have to go this far but using a proper powerlifting offseason like Stan is a great idea.

Conclusion

Stan Efferding’s powerlifting program is incredibly simple and effective.

Stan trains each major lift once every 2 weeks using a 2 days per week upper / lower split. This style of training was popularized by Eric Lilliebridge and is very popular among elite powerlifters.

If you are looking for a powerlifting program to copy then Stan Efferding’s powerlifting program is a great choice.

If you are an intermediate-advanced powerlifter lifting reasonably heavy weights then it might be the most effective powerlifting program you ever try.

Here is a great quote by Stan Efferding to pump you up even more:

“Don’t chase the 1%, there is no magic training routine or diet that’s going to provide any measurable results over the basic principles for getting huge and strong: Train heavy, eat and sleep more.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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