The Cube Method

Powerlifting – Know Thy Programs: Part 2 (Cube Method)

I remember the day I decided I wanted to give powerlifting a shot like it was yesterday. I watched a few videos of elite powerlifters lifting heavy ass weight and I instantly wanted to see how my strength in the gym would transfer to the platform. I searched “powerlifting routines” on google and came up with an unimaginable amount of articles, recommendations, and programs to choose from. This was very overwhelming for me since this was going to be my introduction to powerlifting training. Over the years I’ve done excessive research into these programs, and I’ve ran all of the programs that I thought showed the most consistent results. This ongoing powerlifting program series will break down my favorite powerlifting routines at the present time. Although I can’t give out the full E-Books I will break down the programs and help you decide if this program is right for you!

Brandon Lily’s “The Cube Method” 

The Cube Method Philosophy

1) The only Personal Records (PR’s) that matter are the ones on the platform! If you do not compete in organized powerlifting meets, then you will be training for PR’s at the end of your CM cycle. The cube method is set up where you may not hit a PR for 9 weeks, but on week 10 you will blow your old PR’s out of the water. Just as Jim Wendler says in 5/3/1; don’t let your short term training diminish your long term results. In other words, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

2) YOU WILL NO LONGER MISS A LIFT! In the Cube Method you should always stop one set early. We’ve all been in the gym having a great day and then we miss a lift because we got too overzealous when adding weight for our next attempt. In order to follow this philosophy you will need to check your ego at the door but you will no longer miss a lift because of strength. The only way a lift should be missed is if you have a technique break down.

3) Do not make your “max” day any more important than your “rep” or “speed” day. You must treat all three days equally in order to achieve optimal results. Take ALL of your lifts seriously and attack the weights with force each time you enter the gym!

The Program

The Cube Program will have you training 3 to 4 days per week, preference being 4 days if possible. Each cycle using the Cube Method should last 10 weeks. Once you’ve completed a cycle you should participate in a meet or run a “mock meet” at your gym.

Each wave will be three weeks long and will consist of the three major exercises; squat, bench, and deadlift. The model is listed below.

Week 1
  • Heavy Work Day
  • Explosive Work Day
  • Rep Work Day
  • Bodybuilder Day
Week 2
  • Explosive Work Day
  • Rep Work Day
  • Heavy Work Day
  • Bodybuilder Day
Week 3
  • Rep Work Day
  • Heavy Work Day
  • Explosive Work Day
  • Bodybuilder Day
Week 4
  • Recycle The Wave (Weeks 1-3)

Following this method you will never lift heavy on two lifts in the same week. For example, if you lift heavy on deadlift in week 1 then your squat and deadlift will either be for reps or explosive, but never heavy! You will eventually hit each lift in all phases though because as the weeks rotate the days also rotate.

As far as the bodybuilder day goes, you can choose which day will fit your program best, but then you should stick with that day and not change it up! You should have three staple exercises on your bodybuilder day and then rotate exercises to help with your weaknesses.Powerlift Cube Method

Staple Exercises for Bodybuilder Day

  • Military Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Calf Raise

The Major Movements Waves

In each wave each movement will have 3 heavy days, 3 rep work days, and 3 explosive days. Base all your percentages off 95% of your one rep max. Out of respect for Brandon Lily and The Cube Method (his program) I will not give the full wave breakdown, but I will give you a look into what the program entails.

  • Heavy Day 1 = 80% x 2 reps x 5 sets
  • Heavy Day 2 = 85% x 2 reps x 3 sets
  • Heavy Day 3 = 90% x 1 rep, 92.5% x 1 rep, 95% x 1 rep
  • Rep Day 1 = 70% x 8 reps x 1 set
  • Rep Day 2 = 80% x 8 reps x 1 set
  • Rep Day 3 = 90% x 8 reps x 1 set


*I’ve left out the explosive portion of the wave but if you’re interested all this information can be found in the E-book which we will link below

Exercises used for the “Major Movements”


The only exercise for the squat major movement is SQUAT. With Bench Press you touch your chest and press and deadlift you lift the weight until you’re in a standing position. Whereas with squat there is no set point of “depth” outside of someone’s opinion so you should train without a box and to what you consider “depth” every single time.  Take depth seriously though, because this is what powerlifters judge each other by!


In regards to your bench press major movement you should rotate the following three exercises;

  1. Floor Press
  2. 2 Board Press
  3. Full Bench Press

Floor press and 2 board press are what we call “Strength builders” whereas full bench press is a strength “tester”. You should be attempting to build strength, not test strength! These three lifts should be rotated regardless of which day it is.


The only time someone running The Cube Method should be “heavy” deadlifting from the floor is on meet day. The deadlift gives lifters a multitude of problems so it must be worked in different ways. Heavy days are done with a 1”, 2”, or 4” deficit. Rep day should be performed from wherever you need the most work. All explosive work should be done in meet gear (Whatever that is for you) and should be pulled from the floor.

“How much you bench” is bro language: “I don’t really lift weights, I just want to converse like I do”” – Brandon Lily

Pre-Workout Routine

Brandon Lily calls it a “pre-workout routine” and not a “warm up” for a very good reason. It is stressed that the warm up should only be a portion of your pre-workout routine. A pre-work routine should include three steps.

  1. Mash – Mashing is foam rolling or lacrosse balls work (myofascial release) on overly stiff tissues.
  2. Stretch – Choose 3 positions that give you lots of tension in relation to your lifts for the day and stretch well!
  3. Warm Up – A warm muscles move better and more freely. Choose 2-3 exercises in relation to your lift for the day and work them at light weight and high repetitions.

Assistance Movements

After you major movement you should stop thinking like a powerlifter and think more like a bodybuilder.  This is so because you want to build your physique in a way that will maximize your powerlifting potential.  You should want to “look” like you lift weight as well as be able to move weight. Your accessory work should be done with 3-5 exercises and between 3-4 sets per exercise. Do take into consideration dropping any exercises that will not benefit your big three in some way! Below is a small sample list from The Cube Method book of assistance work.

Squat and Deadlift
  • Front Squat
  • Leg Press
  • Leg Curl
  • Good Mornings
  • BB Rows
  • Snatch Grip Deadlift
  • Close Grip Bench
  • Military Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Upright Rows

Final Word

There you have it folks! This is another relatively straight forward powerlifting program that can be done with a simple barbell and weights. There are no bells and whistles needed to complete The Cube Method. Now a days there are too many programs that beat you up on a day to day basis having you go near 100% day in and day out. The Cube Method is breath of fresh air! It allows you to hit big lifts but also keeps you fresh and motivated looking to crush your lifts each day!

The Cube Method E-Book goes into an UNBELIEVABLE amount of detailed beyond what I’ve laid out for you. If what you’ve read about sounds like an attractive program to you, please go ahead and purchase Brandon Lily’s E-Book which is linked below!


Link: Cube Method (Ebook from Amazon)

(if you don’t have a kindle you can still buy this book, just download the free kindle reading app.  You can use it on any device.  I read mine on my iPhone.)

The Cube Method Book




Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

July 26, 2013 at 03:07 PM

What do you mean when you say rotate between the floor press, board press, and bench press? I read the book but I’m not sure if I’m getting it.

For rep day for benching use the floor press, for explosive use the board press, and for speed use the bench press? Is this what you mean by rotate?

Zach Hudsonreply
July 27, 2013 at 05:07 PM
– In reply to: Hank

I’ll get JP to come respond for ya bud.

365 Strong – Ausbb – Australian BodyBuildingreply
September 08, 2013 at 08:09 AM

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Inferno’s Non-Bodybuilding Log – Pagina 87reply
December 09, 2013 at 02:12 PM

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The Cube Method « Just Train Fitness Just Train Fitnessreply
December 10, 2013 at 05:12 AM

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Jason Hamiltonreply
January 17, 2014 at 01:01 AM

Awesome breakdown, keep them coming please

April 01, 2014 at 05:04 PM

Hi, I noticed that the percentages for the rep day are listed differently to the e-book. is this a personal alteration?

Help me – I don’t know which program to choose | The Strong Girlsreply
February 11, 2015 at 02:02 AM

[…] 2 Squat/Bench Press days and 2 Deadlift/OHP days. The last method we want to mention here is the Cube Method. This program has 1 strength, 1 repetion and 1 explosive day which alternates between the main […]

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