BRANDON LILLY CUBE PROGRAMS REVIEW (2021)

The cube method was created by a powerlifter called Brandon Lilly, he is by far one of the greatest powerlifters (raw and geared). From my knowledge his max raw lifts were 650.3lb Squat, 600lb Bench, and 815.7lb Deadlift and totaled 2000lbs on many occasions.

Unfortunately due to a career ending injury he no longer competes and his Instagram seems to focus more on hunting deer than strength training. The Cube Method was built on the foundation of ‘back to basics’ and would be considered the “old skool” way of training focusing on the main lifts; squat, bench press, and deadlift and it has three training efforts:

  1. Heavy Day
  2. Explosive Day
  3. Rep-based Bodybuilding Day

The program is nine weeks and split into three waves that last three weeks. The Cube Method Ebook can be found on Amazon or JTS Strength. My advise based on my actions, by the Ebooks, this will help you better understand the program IF you like to the looks of it. What I love about this program is it was designed for powerlifter’s by a world class powerlifter.

Whilst Brandon was training at Westside Barbell, he became a little disillusioned with bands and chains and the overreliance on equipped gear such as compression suits, wraps and specialist barbells. As a result Lilly returned to the roots of powerlifting and wanted to created a training protocol that was simple but effective without all the Westside fluff. You can still see some influence from Westside Barbell in the program, however, not to the same extent.

Cube Method Spreadsheet

Training Method

As mentioned above, you only work on the main three lifts, you perform three training methods for all lifts: heavy (max effort), explosive (dynamic effort) and repetition (volume effort) within the three week wave. A wave is determined by the completion of the three training methods for all three lifts. You must perform heavy, explosive and rep work for all three lifts before moving on to the new wave. The program is nine weeks long, however, week ten would be your ‘meet week’ or ‘mock meet’ to test a new PR in the gym if your not competing.

Weekly Work Schedule

 Week 1Week 2Week 3
SquatHeavy WorkExplosive WorkRepetition Work
Bench PressExplosive WorkRepetition WorkHeavy Work
DeadliftRepetition WorkHeavy WorkExplosive Work

Waves Explained

EFFORTWAVE 1%WAVE 2%WAVE 3%
Heavy5×280%3×285%3×190/92.5/95%
Explosive8×360%6×265%5×270%
Repetition1×870%1×680%1×680%
Total Reps422419
Wave One

Wave one for all three lifts you perform 5 sets of 2 reps at 80% of your 1RM on your heavy day, explosive day the intensity is reduced to 60% of your 1RM and you perform 8 sets of 3 reps. Make sure your reps are explosive, speedy and take shorter rest intervals between sets (60-90 seconds).

For repetition day you perform just one 1 set of 8 reps for 70% of your 1RM. Wave one you perform a total of 42 reps for each exercise and a total of 126 reps combing all three lifts. This is sufficient volume and overall tonnage to create a strength adaption for novice and intermediate lifters.

Wave Two

Wave two intensity is increased by 5-10% for all three training methods and the base volume for each method is reduced. A typical undulated style of training for powerlifter. The heavy day is 85% of 1RM but for 3 sets of 2 reps, the explosive day is 6 sets of 2 for 65% of 1RM then the repetition day is 80% for 1 set of 6 reps. During this wave you perform less overall volume totaling 24 reps per exercise and 72 overall when all three lifts are combined.

Wave Three

Wave three I consider to be your peaking phase, the volume for all three training methods is gravely reduced and the intensity is increased. The main focus of wave three is intensity, this wave you will be performed max effort training (90%+ of 1RM) on your heavy day for 3 heavy singles: 90%/92.5% and 95%.

Explosive day is 5 sets of 2 at 70% of 1RM focusing on speed, dynamic movement and explosivity. The repetition day repeats the same as wave two performing 1 set of 6 reps at 80% of 1RM. You perform a total of 19 reps for each lift during this wave and a total of 57 overall. This is less than wave one and two, however by 5-10%.

Week ten which is not included in the program is your mock meet or meet setting new PR’s and 1RM. The below table is the overview of the Cube Method program:

Cube Method Program Overview

Personal Thoughts on the Cube Method

Personally, I think this is a solid powerlifting program going back the basics and routes of strength training – no flash just focusing on strength. However, for an advanced lifter and later staged intermediate this program would not produce the strength adaptations most lifters are seeking.

It lacks in variation, a key component in creating a strength adaptation and growth, it lacks in accessory exercises and assistance to create hypertrophy and break sticking points, and the lift training frequency is not sufficient. For a novice lifter and early staged intermediate I think this is a great program, you are experiencing those awesome ‘newbie gains’ and you need very low training complexity and variation to stimulate a strength adaptation.

The ‘Repetition’ session lacks in repetition – 1 set of 6 to 8 reps?? that’s not volume repetition training. I recommend upping that to 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps at 65-70% of 1RM.

However, I do like the Heavy and Explosive rep scheme and percentages, I think it’s spot on and is a solution to the common criticisms of Westside Barbell Conjugate style Dynamic/Max effort training principles.

However, I believe you should be Benching and squatting a minimum of twice a week for all levels, this program does not meet this requirement, therefore, I believe a lot of lifters will struggle to progress and add to their PRs with this little frequency and overall training volume. Especially when you compare it to the likes of Sheiko, nSuns, Hepburn etc.

Good luck with your training and this program, if you enjoyed this post donations are highly appreciated and follow on YouTube to keep up to date with my latest reviews.

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