Jeff Nippards Powerbuilding Phase 1 Review


Here's my review on Jeff Nippards Powerbuilding Phase 1 review

I started this program in December of 2021, and ended it at the end of March 2022. I did this entirely on a cut.

Jeff's powerbuilding phase 1 has a 50/50 concentration on hypertrophy and strength training. I did the 4x/week program and saw really good results. Before I was running the reddit's metadallica PPLPPL program, and didn't seem to get to where I wanted

Here's the results I made following this Jeff's program:

Overall stats:

  • Lost 5% body fat in 3 months
  • Lost 11 lbs, 95% of it being fat

For one max lifts:

  • Squat: 220 => 255
  • Bench: 158 => 185
  • Deadlift: 250 => 295
  • OHP: 90 => 95

Here's my dexa scan results:


Before/After pictures of the the entire phase. I ran a 3 week recomposition phase as well after the cut, using parts of phase 2 in the program:


I have 5% less body fat, but it's not really that obvious even comparing the pictures.

Days I went to the gym, and periods of longer rest durations highlighted in yellow (4 deload periods)


Additional Stats:


The gym routine I used here said to go 4 or 5 days a week at the gym (~4.5), but I only went 3.2 days at the gym, or about ~1.3 days less per week. Sometimes I had off weeks where I wasn't feeling well, sick, or too exhausted from other physical activities and/or lack of sleep.

The program was supposed to be 12 weeks long, but it took me closer to 15 weeks to finish.

I'm using this data to calibrate phase 2 which focuses on hypertrophy. Given the data here and the rest periods I have used, an extra 1-1.5 recovery day per week works well for me for phase 2

Pros of phase 1

I think Jeff Nippards phase 1 is super solid. It focuses alot on lower body work, and overall strength, hence why I did it entirely on a cut with a brief recomposition phase.

Jeff Nippards program includes a spreadsheet to track how every workout goes.

It's the most indepth spreadsheet I've seen so far. I've looked at Wendler's 5/3/1 program and many more, and I used to use Reddit's Metadallic PPLPPL program. What I like about this program is it incorporates 1 week of full body exercises, and the week after is a upper/lower body split. It adds enough variation to keep things interesting.

I had originally used to track down workout plans by something like this:

  • Monday is push day
  • Wednesday is pull day
  • Friday is leg day

or something along those lines, assigning a type of workout to a day of the week. However, there were days I was sick Monday, and everything was thrown off track. Using Jeff's program is a bit more reliable, since I just go to the next workout and ignore what day of the week it is. Which works great if I go on vacation, or get overly fatigued, etc

I've modified the spreadsheet to include the day I worked out, and notes on every set I did. I linked this on gdrive and input the data during the workout. Here's a snapshot of what a week of that data looks like:


What I also really like about this program is this. It tells you

  • How many warmup sets to do
  • How to warm up for the entire exercise for that day
  • RPE's, or the amount of effort to do for the workout
  • Notes on each exercise and what to focus on
  • When to focus on max lifts. It's only every so often, so periodization is built in
  • When to deload
  • An accompanying spreadsheet with youtube links on how to do every workout

Cons of phase 1

This program isn't perfect by any means. Workouts tend to be kind of long at maybe 2 hours at a time too, because of long rest periods are. I usually do all the warmup sets with shorter rest breaks to save time.

Also there were some lacking exercises in his phase 1 program I noticed

  • Very little lower back work / technique
  • Not a lot of individual glute work

It concentrates alot of lower body work, which is important for the 3 big lifts. However I wanted to do more upperbody training, which I felt was a little lacking

I'm going through phase 2 right now (6x per week), and here's some of my thoughts so far:


  • It lacks lower ab work
  • More forearm accessory work can be added in
  • Lower body hypertrophy tends to be really exhausting


  • Technique is way more focused and honed in. Pin squats and single glute ham raises, and prisoner back extensions were sorely missed in Phase 1

Caloric dieting:


I'm adding some notes about caloric dieting in here, even though it's not directly tied to the review of the program.

I went on a cut during phase 1 of the program. I mostly shot for around 2000-2200 calories per day. This was done mostly on 1 protein smoothie (500 cal), 2 meal prep bowls (500 cals each), and a microwave food thing (250cal) every day with a RxBar (200cal). Going on a cut sucked because I had to have a really high protein diet and there wasn't alot of wiggle room.

Around March 29 to April 21, or 3 weeks of duration, I went on a body recomposition phase at the start of phase 2. I changed the caloric to maintenance of about 2500 calories. I still undershot a bit, my caloric burn rate on a normal day is probably closer to 2600 calories if I go to the gym, etc.

I'm currently on a bulk. I'm aiming for 2800-3000 calories a day.

Summary of what's working

Here's what's working for me, and all the take aways I got from doing these analysis:

Cut Phase (maintain muscle, lose fat)

  • Eat more veggies and satieting foods such as casein protein
  • Eat an RxBar right before a workout.
  • Eat a 250 calorie meal before about half an hour before a workout
  • Workout later in the day
  • Fast during the morning
  • Take extra rest recovery days. Cut means slower recovery time
  • Hit high strength lift values at low reps. This keeps muscle
  • You can drop fat pretty quickly while keeping muscle mass. I lost 5 lbs a month give or take of mostly fat. It depends on your current BF though
  • 8 to 12 weeks cutting seems to be the sweet spot. I started tapering off due to wanting to eat more, add refeed days every so often

Recomposition phase: (lose fat, gain muscle)

  • It's not super effective, easy to mess up
  • Do this for about 1 - 3 weeks between a cut and bulk, to slowly transition dietary changes.

Bulking Phase (gain muscle, lose fat)

  • It's too early to say. But so far it's just been eating more, and doing higher volume work
  • I recover way faster
  • Eat more often, and less satieting foods (casein protein). Probably need to remove casein protein here. I feel full all the time.

Hi 👋

I'm Vincent Tang, a web developer specializing in modern Javascript. This website is my digital garden of notes on backend, frontend, and devops! I'm the founder of Tampa Devs and I also run a coding podcast called Code Chefs