Powerlifting vs Military PT – Why Not Both?

by Shane Ellinwood

Before I get into this article, I would like to note that while this works for me, it may not for you. No, “one” plan is perfect for everyone, so you may need to adjust this a little.


Have no fear! Maintaining military standards while working towards powerlifting goals can be done! Coming from experience and having worked with military members, I have had success as a Physical Training Leader. I feel I can comfortably offer some advice and experience to those who wish to pursue both, powerlifting and maintaining PT standards. This past year I got to experience what I would consider to be one of the hardest combinations; I took my PT test on a Saturday and 7 days later I was on the platform to compete. Planning correctly is probably most important key. If you’re lucky enough, you only need to physically test once a year. This gives you ample amounts of time to prep for both, the test and competition. Below is what I would consider to be very close to the plan that I followed 3 months out, leading through each of the tasks. Any period before this, I strictly follow my powerlifting plan. I also make sure to supplement my diet appropriately. I take CON-CRET Pump before a lift, CON-CRET Amino during a lift, and CON-CRET Whey following. I also take 1 serving CON-CRET HCL in the mornings and during evenings along with a multivitamin, fish oil and glucosamine.

Horizontal Reader – PUMP
Horizontal Reader – CC Creatine
Horizontal Reader – CC WHEY


3 and 2 months out:

Follow your basic program in powerlifting, but make sure to cool down with stretching AND 10 minutes of light cardio. I particularly follow the Jim Wendler 5-3-1 program with a few changes. This allows for “lean” strength gains, you lift heavy, but hit plenty of reps after your 1RM.


1 month out:

Heres where things begin to get interesting. Note: I compete in the 75Kg weight class, so I sit around 170 lbs at any given time.

Week 4

This should be right near the peak of your strength plans. During this week (assuming you lift 3-4 days a week), begin to do 20 minutes of cardio on your off days, this allows for you to stay mobile and not begin to cut too much on accident. As before, you should continue to do 10 minutes of light cardio following a lift.

Week 3

This week is when you hit it hard, you should be testing your competition lifts to give you a good idea where you stand. Like last week, continue to run on your off days. This time after your lifts you will only do 5 minutes of light cardio to end.

Week 2 (week before the PT test)

This week you will want to start considering how you will make weight, I can cut in a day or two, so I may take a different route than you. During this week, I will practice my PT test twice, and will only do some medium (no more than 80% max) lifting with ONLY stretching after.

Week 1 (Week of the PT test)

During this week, I will practice my FULL test ONE time. I will only do light lifting in the gym. I also think it’s a good idea to practice your pushups and sit-ups (and pullups/hangs for you Marines) TWICE. Let’s say you test on a Saturday. I suggest practicing the full test on a Wednesday and the two partials on Monday morning and Thursday night. This lets you see where your body stands in the morning or at night (so your prepared to test in either condition).

You passed! Congrats! Now its time to hit that SH** on the platform!

Week 0 (Competition Week)

This week, I suggest doing mostly just stretching, your legs will likely be slightly fatigued from the prior week. Recovery in this week is huge, I supplemented my stretching with CON-CRET Gluta Blast, CON-CRET Amino, and cannot forget CON-CRET HCL. The day of the competition, I fuel myself with CON-CRET Pump.

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