PH3 Programming Complete! – First Time Powerlifting

Review of the PH3 Program - JanessaMann.Com

If you’ve read my fitness updates in 2016, you’ll know that I followed Layne Norton’s PH3 workout on I had a hard time on the website finding a workout program that had legs 2+ days a week, because I really, really like to deadlift. I stumbled across this powerlifting program, and knew it would be perfect for me. The program focuses on strengthening you in the “big three,” squat, bench, and deadlift, and then hypertrophy to pump up the muscles.

Throughout the months that I did this (it should’ve taken 3 months, but I had to take extra weeks in case my back got too sore) I saw strength gains (70 pounds added to my deadlift!) as well as improvements in my physical appearance-down from 18% body fat to 16.23%!

January & February

Since my lower back disc herniation (L4-L5), I haven’t been lifting heavy, and my workouts have been pretty random, and definitely mroe of a bodybuilding workout. Turns out powerlifting really leans me out! Since January I’vel ost 2+% body fat!

The biggest transition for the workout program for me was that it is percentage-based. It took a lot of patience and intention to not over-stress my back based on what I had lifted previously. Some days I could squat 155 for 3×5, other days 135 felt incredibly heavy. Percentage-based is great if you don’t have to worry about injury, but if you do, be very careful and humble about your progress. Don’t focus on the numbers, focus on your form, and the strength will come!


Thanks to benching 2 or 3 times a week, I’ve gotten new muscles in my back-ones I can’t even name! One thing I didn’t foresee was that my right scapula would freeze up. At one point I was doing 90 lbs for 3×3, and then I had to drop at least 15 pounds or my back would hurt. I learned to roll out my scapula lots, stretch constantly, and focus more on bringing them in during my bench. Now, my bench is going back up, and I can’t wait to hit 100 lbs!


My quads are still pretty dominant over my hamstrings, but I’m very happy with the definition between the two. Also, look at my back. 😉

I’ve definitely gotten over squats. With the new program I made for myself to shred a bit mroe for summer I have lighter squat days (well, I also need to de-load) and involving some front squats as well so I hate them less. Still absolutely obsessed with deadlifts and bench. If you’re interested in getting stronger in those three lifts, and losing some body fat, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a mind game, and I worked hard, but it paid off.

Summary of Lifts:

Start: 135×8 = 170 1RM
Highest: 175×1
Issues: tight hips and low back, IT bands snapipng during reps, mental (hating squats)
Goals: 200 lb 1rep

Start: 95×7 = 115 1RM
End: 155×4 = 170 1RM
Highest: 170×2 = 180 1RM
Issues: tight hips, grip
Goal: 200 lb 1 rep

Start: 65×9 = 84 1RM
End: 90×2 = 95 1RM
Highest: 90×3 = 971RM
Issues: elbows flaring out, scapula pain
Goal: 100 lb 1

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