Calgary Barbell Program: 16 & 8 Week Spreadsheets

By Nader Qudimat ·
Updated Jul 21, 2021

When it comes to powerlifting, many programs can be found. 

But when you want a program to set you up for a powerlifting meet, then the Calgary Barbell program is one of the best to run. 

This is a 8 and 16 week program that is made to improve squats, bench press, and deadlifts for powerlifting meets. 

Even if you're not preparing for a meet, this is a great program to try. 

Make sure you make a copy of the spreadsheet.

For how to save spreadsheet instructions, click here. 

Recommended

4.5/5

Yes, Calgary Barbell is one of the more popular powerlifting programs.

Experience Level

5/5

Intermediate and advanced. 

Periodization

5/5

Follows undulating periodization.

Reps

5/5

Uses 1 rep max and percentage

Created by Calgary Barbell, this is a 16 week and 8 week program that are made to improve main compound lifts. 

The main difference between the two programs is that the 16 week has progression of each lift and the 8 week is more of a straight forward program. 

Table of Contents

Calgary Barbell Overview

There are two programs to choose from, the 8 week and 16 week. 

Both of these programs have 4 workout sessions per week, with squats and deadlifts 3x per week, and bench press 4x per week. 

The revised version, which you'll also find below, will let you choose the percentage for each RPE rep range to help with the weight selection.  

RPE should be adjusted according to your strength on that day and these are flexible recommendations. 

It also has a week where you taper to prepare for a powerlifting meet. 

Calgary Barbell 16 Week Spreadsheet (Revised Edition)

This is a edited version of the official Calgary Barbell's 16 week program. 

Using a percentage of a 1 rep max to recommend working weights, it allows you to adjust your workout based on your strength on that day, and these are flexible suggestions. 

You can modify the table to use your own percentage. 

Calgary Barbell 16 Week Revised

Source: /u/tinderthrowitawaynow

Calgary Barbell 16 Week Complete Program

This is the original program by Calgary Barbell:

Calgary Barbell 16 Week Program

Calgary Barbell 8 Week Program

This is the 8 week version by Calgary Barbell:

Calgary Barbell 8 Week Program

Warm Up

For warm up, it's a good idea to take 5-10 minutes to walk until you feel warm. 

Once you do that, perform a few light sets of the muscles you're about to workout. 

You should do at least 3-4 warm up sets before your actual workout, and then follow the program's workouts. 

You can do 1-2 warm up sets before a specific exercise. 

Calgary FAQ

What Is Calgary Barbell?

Calgary Barbell was created by Bryce Krawczyk (/u/calgarybarbell on Reddit).

It's a powerlifting program made to prepare for meets. 

Although it can be run even if you're not going to compete in powerlifting, you can still use this program. 

What's The Difference Between the 8 week and 16 Week Programs?

The 16 week program allows for full progression of lifts and as Bryce says, the 8 week program is more of a “training snapshot”. 

The 16 week program is better if you have the time. But if you have to prepare in 8 weeks, then the 8 week version is the clear choice. 

The 8 week program also allows you to try out Bryce's training methods in the Calgary Barbell program. 

How Long Are The Workout Sessions?

Most people take about 90 minutes or 1.5 hour per workout session. 

What Are The Numbers In The Tempo Column?

You'll find numbers in the tempo column which are measured in seconds. 

The first number is the descent time (negatives) then the contraction time (pause) and ascent (positives).

What Can I Do Instead Of Pin Squats?

If you can't do pin squats then you can do either box squats or pause squats as a substitute. 

Signs of Burnout?

This is a highly demanding program that is made to help you peak but if you're not eating enough or getting enough rest, you may overtrain.

Here are some overtraining signs to look out for:

  • Pain at joints like knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.
  • Soreness at distal portion of muscle.
  • Like feeling sore near joints.
  • Lack of proper sleep
  • Suddenly feeling sick or a cold coming on- immune system is compromised.
  • Loss of libido
  • Depression

If you ignore these signs and keep exercising, you will eventually hit a plateau and will increase chance of injury.

If you're already experiencing these symptoms, take it easy and avoid pushing yourself for at least a week or two.

Calgary Barbell Final Words

This program is one of many by Bryce Krawczyk and it's excellent for powerlifting. 

There are more programs, including ones you can do at home, found at CalgaryBarbell.com.

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