The Cube Method

brandon-lilly

Almost every competitive powerlifter knows how frustrating it can be to miss a weight, especially when you have successfully hit that weight before. Brandon Lilly created The Cube Method to solve this problem. Instead of setting PR’s every week, The Cube Method favors recovery. After PR’ing weekly for 10 weeks, Brandon would go into a meet and struggle with numbers that he knew he could hit because he was exhausted from 10 weeks of intense training. Since he created and implemented The Cube Method into his training, he hasn’t missed a weight. Brandon Lilly really thought outside of the box when creating this routine, and sometimes, that’s just what it takes to create an effective routine. Keep in mind this is for more advanced lifters, not because of intensity, but because a novice lifter would benefit from more volume and frequency.

There are multiple roads to making progress, so why not take as many as possible? This is the foundation of The Cube Method. Most people get down to specifics and think that if they want to get strong, the best way to go about it is to base their training around low reps and high weight. This is a very limited approach. The Cube Method puts the following four pieces together, creating a recipe for powerlifting success:

Hypertrophy Work | Rep Work | Heavy Training | Explosive Power

Cube Method 3 Week Waves

The cube method uses three week waves, rotating the type of work you do on the main movements each week. In week one you might do rep work for the deadlift. In week two you’ll do speed work, and in week three you’ll have your heavy day. This allows you to never train two movements in the same style, meaning you’ll never perform two heavy, rep, or speed days for a main lift in the same week. The program contains three, three week waves altogether reducing the volume and upping the weight each wave. Below you can see what a three week wave looks like.

Week One

Deadlifts Repetition Sets Reps %
Deadlift From 1″ Deficit 1 8 70
4″ Block pull 2 3 80
SSB Olympic Stance Squat – Raw 3 8 50
Glute Ham Raises (GHR) 4 10
Back Raises 50


Bench Heavy Sets Reps %
Floor Press 5 2 80
Bench Press 2 15 60-70
Lat Pulldown 3 12
Band Pressdown 4 25
DB Shrugs 3 15
Military Press 3 12


Squats Explosion Sets Reps %
Squat 8 3 60
Squat with Reverse Avg Band or
Double Mini Band Per Side
1 2 80
Olympic Squat- Shoulder width,
deep as you can go
5 5
Leg Press 4 15
Reverse Hyper 3 12
KB/DB Swings 3 15

Week Two

Deadlifts Explosion Sets Reps %
Deadlift 8 3 60
4″ Block Pull – Straight Weight
Snatch Grip
3 12 50
Squat – SSB or Straight Bar (close
stance)
3 8
Barbell Shrugs 3 12
Back Raises 50
Band or Machine Lat Pulldown 4 15


Bench Repetition Sets Reps %
Incline Bench Press 1 8 70
Incline DB (pick a weight you
would fail at 23 reps)
2 20
Close Grip (pick a weight that
challenges you)
3 12
Band Fly 3 15
Tricep Pressdown w/Band or
Cable
100
Military Press 3 12


Squat Heavy Sets Reps %
Squat 5 2 80
Goodmorning (go down until you
want to double over then explode
up)
3 8
Leg Press 3 20
Reverse Hypers or Lunges 3 12
Back Raises 60
Band Leg Curls 2 50

Week Three

Deadlifts Heavy Sets Reps %
Max DL Off 4″ Blocks or Pins Set
at Mid Shin
5 2 80
Snatch Grip Deads 2 8 65
Dumbbell Rows 3 10
Dumbbell Shrugs 2 20
Up and Down Plank 50


Bench Explosion Sets Reps %
Floor Press (% based on max
bench)
8 3 60
Incline DB Press (Make your fail
point right around 15. Do not
make these an easy 15)
3 15
Band Press Down 100
Standing DB Military Press 3 10
Band Fly 3 15
Abs 50


Squat Repetition Sets Reps %
Squat 1 8 70
SSB or Straight Bar Wide stance
GM
3 8
Lunges (holding a challenging DB
weight in each hand)
3 15
Olympic Squats (do not rack the
bar until you hit 50 reps, shallow
reps don’t count. Women 75-95
lbs. Men 135 lbs.)
1 50 135lb
Abs 60

Breakdown

All percentages are based on 95% of your one rep max. Use a max you are comfortable with, not a lift you struggle to hit. After the 9 weeks max out on all lifts to get new percentages to repeat the program. Here is a breakdown of the percentages for the main lifts for an entire three waves of the program. You can place whatever main lift you want for Monday, Wednesday, Or Friday. Remember that Sunday is always a bodybuilding day and for bringing up weak points.

Week Monday Wednesday Friday Sunday
1 70% x 8 reps x 1 sets 80% x 2 reps x 5 sets 60% x 3 reps x 8 sets Bodybuilding
2 60% x 3 reps x 8 sets 70% x 8 reps x 1 sets 80% x 2 reps x 5 sets Bodybuilding
3 80% x 2 reps x 5 sets 60% x 3 reps x 8 sets 70% x 8 reps x 1 sets Bodybuilding
4 80% x 6 reps x 1 sets 85% x 2 reps x 3 sets 65% x 2 reps x 6 sets Bodybuilding
5 65% x 2 reps x 6 sets 80% x 6 reps x 1 sets 85% x 2 reps x 3 sets Bodybuilding
6 85% x 2 reps x 3 sets 65% x 2 reps x 6 sets 80% x 6 reps x 1 sets Bodybuilding
7 85% x 2 reps x 1 sets 90% x 1 rep 92.5% x 1 rep 95% x 1 rep 70% x 2 reps x 5 sets Bodybuilding
8 70% x 2 reps x 5 sets 85% x 2 reps x 1 sets 90% x 1 rep 92.5% x 1 rep 95% x 1 rep Bodybuilding
9 90% x 1 rep 92.5% x 1 rep 95% x 1 rep 70% x 2 reps x 5 sets 85% x 2 reps x 1 sets Bodybuilding


bench-press

Bodybuilding Days

Brandon Lilly uses three main exercises for his bodybuilding days (Military Press, Bicep Curls, and Calf Raises). Then, he picks three weak body parts and chooses an exercise for each. Sets can be either increased or decreased depending on how you feel.

Note: (Customize this day to fit your needs and be sure to add in core work as well. Remember to keep the main movements listed above.)
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 3 10
Leg Curls 5 20
Bicep Curls (EZ Curl) 4 15
Lat Pulldowns 4 12
Calf Raises 4 15
Dumbbell Chest Flies 3 12

Approach Toward Main Lifts

When squatting be sure to hit proper depth and go beltless as much as possible. Do not do any box squats, if you have trouble hitting depth now is the time to work on it. For bench we rotate Floor Press, 2 Board, and Full Benches. The first two are strength builders, while full benches are used to test strength. These three lifts are rotated regardless of the day. Remember to do full reps every set, that means a full lockout with no half reps. For deadlifts on heavy days use a 1″ deficit, 2″ blocks, or 4″ blocks. Rep day is used to focus on our weak points (pins, deficits, or the floor). If you’re a competitive powerlifter use full gear (if you use gear) on explosive day and lift from the floor. Try to keep the time between sets on explosive day to a minimum, Brandon likes to do his explosive work with less than 15 seconds between sets.

“How much you bench? Is bro language for: I don’t really lift weights, I just want to converse as if I do” -Brandon Lilly

On heavy days if you are feeling really good, try some of your heavy sets for a double, or triple, or if you 100% believe a 1 rep PR is there, take it. But you cannot miss. Use your judgement. On Rep days if you have a calling for 3 sets of 8 reps, complete your first two sets, and then take the third for a rep PR. Go to failure or just short. On Explosive days there is really no need to set a PR on this day, but you can hit your recommended sets, and then add a little weight for 1-2 more sets just to get a feel for the weight. Remember the cube method is a strength builder not a strength tester.

brandon-lilly-deadlift

The Cube Method Nutrition

Like any routine you have to consume enough calories to see maximum results. Brandon Lilly used to eat anything that he could get his hands on. This includes a lot of fast food and pizza. Once he cleaned up his diet, he noticed that his body processes started to improve big time. He usually eats 4-5 clean meals a day, and doesn’t limit himself if he gets a craving. He eats plenty of red meat, rice, salmon, vegetables and salad. Brandon’s biggest meal is his post workout meal (with breakfast coming in at a close second place). He likes to have chicken, a complex carbohydrate such as sweet potato and a salad. He also mentioned that he likes going to Olive Garden after his workouts to eat tons of chicken, pasta and bread sticks. He lives by the saying “eat big to get big!”

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