With nearly 150,000 Youtube subscribers and 650,000 Facebook followers, Nick Wright is an Internet sensation. In this feature we present his plan for building maximum strength.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

These days, my training is purely focused on powerlifting. The goal of this style of training is not only to become a physically strong human being, but also to maximize every workout done in the gym.

Powerlifting, despite outward appearances, is very much a technique sport. There are so many minute details that go into each individual lift. This extends in intricacy so far beyond the bench press and squat movements were taught in high school by our football coaches.

Take squats for example. Details such as executing a solid stretch reflex at the bottom of a squat, knowing the difference between low bar squat technique and an Olympic high bar technique (and the external rotation of the knees required to compensate for such a technique) are just a couple of examples.

Lifting technique aside, a training programming is utterly crucial for successful strength gains. Many of us just like to waltz into the gym and use makeshift rep and set schemes on any given day, winging it and feeling out what weight to use that day. There are countless issues with this practice however, and almost all of them will lead to a plateau and short change your strength gains.

Training too heavy too consistently is a common mistake and will burn you out, fast. Designating specific rep and set ranges, using specific percentages of your one rep max in weight to specific days and weeks of your training is essential!

My style of training is known as periodization. I designate specific weekly blocks of training to focus on slightly different goals. Each week is meant to prepare you for the following week, and gradually help you build up your strength.

Nick Wright Bench Press

It is the repetitions which build the real strength! Single reps are actually more of a technique practice than anything else.

I follow a 6-week program designed originally by Jonnie Candito, a very skilled and highly educated, natural competitive powerlifter on YouTube. I customized his program to fit my needs. It now allows me to target my weak areas.

The first 2 weeks of my training cycle involve the lightest weight. My reps per set reach around 8. The last weeks of my cycle consist of heavy weight, closer to my max, using low reps in the 1-3 range.

Many think that power training only involves low repetitions and heavy weight training. This is simply not the case. In fact, powerlifters most commonly train in the 5-10 repetition range and then work their way down to the low numbers only at the end of their training cycles. They generally only max out or “test strength” when competing in a meet.

It is the repetitions which build the real strength! Single reps are actually more of a technique practice than anything else. Some people need a good rep or two before they finally catch their groove when training. Perfecting the ability to hit a clean single rep the first time around is a practiced skill in itself, but I digress.

  • Week 1 - The first week of my training is the muscular conditioning week, and is only moderately difficult.
  • Week 2 - Following this is muscular conditioning & hypertrophy week with a much higher difficulty. This will involve higher reps with increased weight followed by timed-sets. You will want to puke after these workouts.
  • Week 3 - During the third week you finally begin to transition over into heavier weight and lower reps. This is the max overload raining or max-OT week. This utilizes the 4-6-repetition range with moderately heavy weight. This week is not quite heavy singles and doubles, but certainly not high rep, light weight anymore. Somewhat of a transitional middle-man week.
  • Week 4 - Week four begins the heavy lifting! This will consist of  heavy sets of 3 reps with only an exercise or two stretching into the 6 rep range. You will be using 90-95% of your max weight during this week.
  • Week 5 - Week five is my final, mandatory week. I will elaborate on what I mean by mandatory in a moment. This week is quick and simple. Only 3 days of training, each day focusing on one of the big 3 lifts (squat, bench and deadlift) and only consisting of one, single set of 1-4 reps using about 97% of your max. If you are able to get more than one rep with this weight, congrats. You have gained significant strength over the training cycle.
  • Week 6 - Lastly is an optional week 6 that I referred to earlier. There is no written structure to follow for this week so it’s up to the lifter to either use it as a max-out week and test their numbers, or simply use it as a de-load week if needed. Skipping this week and restarting the cycle is also fine, turning it into a 5-week cycle essentially.

If I decide not to test my max lifts, there is an algorithm you can use to project your new 1-rep max. This will help you structure your next cycle's weights. Simply multiply your week 5 numbers by 1.03, or 1.06 if I managed 2 reps out of it, or 1.09 if I hit 3 reps.

  • 1 rep - 1.03 multiplier
  • 2 reps - 1.06 multiplier
  • 3 reps - 1.09 multiplier

Week 1 – Muscular Conditioning

Note - I am currently using all pause-reps when bench pressing.

Lower Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats @ 80% 4 6
Deadlifts @ 80% 2 6
Optional Exercise 1 3 8-12
Optional Exercise 2 3 8-12
Upper Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press @ 80-85% 10 3
Bent Row 3 8
Floor Press @ 80% 2 5
Standing Overhead Press @ 80% 2 6
Optional: Face Pulls    
Optional Exercise 2    
Lower Body 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat @ 70% 4 8
Deadlifts @ 70% 2 8
Optional Exercise 1    
Optional Exercise 2    
Upper Body 2
Exercise Sets Reps
This May Change to Repeating Day 1
Bench Press @ 80% (75% if paused) 4 6
Bent Rows 4 6
Floor Press 2 5
Close Grip Press 3 6
Optional Exercise 1    
Optional Exercise 2    

Nick Wright Barbell Row

These days, my training is purely focused on powerlifting. The goal of this style of training is not only to become a physically strong human being, but also to maximize every workout done in the gym.

Week 2 - Muscular Conditioning/Hypertrophy (Higher Difficulty)

Lower Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats @ 80% 1 Max 10
Squats: Add 5lbs and perform 5x3 reps with 60 seconds rest between sets 5 3
Deadlifts @ 80% 3 8
Optional Exercise 1    
Optional Exercise 2    
Upper Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Pause Bench Press @ 75-80% 4 6
Bent Row 4 6
Floor Press @ 85% 2 5
Standing Overhead Press @ 80% 2 6
Lower Body 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats + 5lbs over Monday 1 10 Max
Squats: 5x3 using the same weight as Monday 5 3
Extra: Reduce weight by 10lbs    
IF all 10 reps were completed, perform 10 Sets of 3 Reps with 60 seconds rest.
IF 8-9 reps were completed, perform 8 Sets of 3 Reps with 60 seconds rest.
IF 7 reps were completed, perform 5 Sets of 4 with 60 seconds rest.
IF LESS than 7 were completed, skip this & reduce 1 Rep Max by 2.5% for following week's percentages.
Deadlifts @70% or Deadlift variation 3 8
Optional Exercise    
Upper Body 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Optional Workout #1 - Accessory Workout
Overhead Press working up to a 95% single 3 1
Floor Press @ 80% 3 5
Close Grip Bench Press 3 6
Optional Triceps Exercise 1    
Optional Triceps Exercise 2    

Week 3 - Max OT (Maximum Overload Training)

Lower Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat @ 85% 3 4-6
Deadlifts @ 85% 2 3-6
No Accessory Exercises
Upper Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Paused Bench Press 85-90% of paused max 3 3
Follow the typical day 1 upper body protocol
Lower Body 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats @ 90% 3 3
Deadlifts @ 75% or Deadlift variation if CNS needs a break 1 8

Week 4 - Heavy Weight Acclimation

Lower Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats - 90% for 1st set, 5lbs heavier for 2nd set and 10lbs heavier for the 3rd set (Example 410lbs x 3, 415lbs x 3, 420lbs x 3) 3 3
Deadlifts @ 75% 2 6
Upper Body 1
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press - Start with 90% and add 5lbs to each set 3 3
Regular push day protocol
Upper Body 2
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats (Use the same weight as your heaviest set on Monday) 1 3
Squat @ 95% 1 1-2
Deadlifts @ 90% 1 3
Deadlifts @ 95% 1 1-2
2 Optional Exercises    

Week 5 - High Intensity Strength (HIS)

  • Monday - Squats: 1 Set of 1-4 Reps using 97%
  • Wednesday - Bench Press: 1 Set of 1-4 Reps using 97%
  • Friday - Deadlifts: 1 Set of 1-4 Reps using 97%

Week 6 - Optional

Either test week (max out) OR deload *IF* needed! Otherwise, simply begin the cycle over again with new predicted maxes.

Posted on: Sat, 12/16/2017 - 15:25

What do I do in week 3? just those excercises?

Posted on: Wed, 05/06/2015 - 15:09

Hello, i was doing the program and i got sick after completing week 2 so i've been resting for 1 week. Now that im ok im going to continue with the programm, should i start all over again or just continue with MAX OT? Thanks

Posted on: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 17:46

Hey guys first off I'm a huge Steve Shaw and NWB fan! I'm not a huge fan of the floor press do you have any good exercises I could substitute ie a close grip bench or something along those lines? Lastly what do you feel is appropriate to warm up before attempting a one rep max? Such as if I'm going for 300 should I just hit 225 and 275 or should I hit 285 290 for one first. thanks in advance.

Posted on: Thu, 10/16/2014 - 11:55

If you are interested in this program just search 6 week condition program. That is what Nick follow except that Candito has tweaked and personalized this program for Nick's needs. If you search it in google you'll be taken to Candito's website and he has two free programs up there and on of them being what Nick just explained above but obviously tweaked and changed a bit. However, the original is very good and I just finished it. On this website, you'll get all the info you want regarding the entire program and then the program itself in excel.

Posted on: Mon, 10/13/2014 - 14:26

great workout Nick! keep with the good work

Posted on: Mon, 10/13/2014 - 13:45

What is recommended for the optional exercises for each day? I really like this workout split and intersested in started it, just curious what optional exercises I can do with it to maximize muscle mass and strength.

Posted on: Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:36

For lower body: leg curls, leg extensions, hack squats
Upper body: chins, side laterals, weighted dips

If I ran this program I would throw in calves and a little direct arm work too, maybe on a Saturday?? Just for aesthetic purposes.

Posted on: Sun, 10/12/2014 - 07:34

Due to inflexibility of my lower spine, are there any replacement moves you can suggest for the deadlift?

Posted on: Thu, 09/08/2016 - 17:28

Probably a bent over row if you can do that

Posted on: Sat, 10/11/2014 - 15:53

I think I will try his workout. Looks like something I have been looking to try lately.

Posted on: Fri, 10/10/2014 - 18:13

How can it be possible that an immature guy who treat his fans calling them "you idiots" could be an Intenet sensation? A Young who started in bodybuilding with a ripped and well defined body is nowadays "a chubby mess" like some few days ago a fan called him. Expert and talented personal trainers and physicians agree that most of the routines this fatty kid post, are a serious dangers for knees, elbows, back, neck ans almost every part of the body. Is him a real model to follow? Obviously not. He´s curious, funny, a great speaker but his efervescent formula will vanish as soon as his career with that cute smile on his face but with that unfortunate temper he has cause he doesn´t know to to manage it. And, by the way, let´s face it: he doesn´t write his articles. He pays a writer to do that. Don´t forget Internet is the virtual land of pure fantasy.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 10/12/2014 - 11:01

He wrote this article and submitted it to me. I edited it. No one was paid to write this. Furthermore, programs like this are not "bad for the knees" unless your squat form is bad. If you use bad form, any exercise is bad for you.

Orlando D.
Posted on: Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:04

Are you jelly bro!

Oli Clarke
Posted on: Thu, 10/16/2014 - 23:14

you mahd bro?