T Nation

Adding Power Lifts to a Routine


I've been lifting for a good year now, and can (finally) do reps of squats at 225, benches at 155, and deadlifts at 315. Not the most impressive #'s, but I'm happy with the progress (I started at 29 having never lifted, with a bench of about 100 lbs). Over the past month I've started getting interested in cleans, Romanian deadlifts, front squats, and other components of olympic lifting. And they're fun as all hell, even if I've got a long way to go.

The thing is, I'm not quite sure how to fit these olympic components and lifts to my routine. I'm blessed with a work environment that lets me get to the gym 4-5 days a week, so I'm looking for at least a 4-day split. I definitely want to keep the following exercises in:

bench, deadlift, squat
dips, pull-ups, chin-ups, overhead presses

For the past two months, I've split 4 days, chest/tri's, back/bi's, legs, and shoulders. But I don't see how I could fit in power moves. Should I mix them in with my current split? Also, is it just me or do many published routines I see omit power moves? Are they in opposition, like marathon training and powerlifting?


your stats are about equal or less in some aspects to mine and you're on a bodypart split? I'm 15 and I'm assuming you're older then I am. You need to do an upper/lower split or a TBT program. These programs are pretty much focused on these kinds of lifts. And you could do something like
backsquats on your first lower body, and fronts on your second.

have fun and goodluck.


Adding power at your stage is a great idea. I like to do power exercises early in the workout. You run out of power before strength so you need to do them first. They also serve as a warmup for your main exercises. Most power exercises rely on legs. You should do legs at least twice, preferably 3 times a week but it doesn't heavy every time. try Heavy, light, med or something like that.

Start a typical workout with warmup (Check out Crossfit and look for the burgener warmups. www.crossfit.com/cf-info/excercise.html#Oly
Next add a clean or snatch variation, then your main leg workout, say front squats followed by Romanian deadlifts. (always do them in that order to protect your back)Then add a push and pull upper body and you're done.

They work great in combinations. Power Clean>Front Squat>Push Press is a classic combination and works the whole body. Great for a short workout. Do that alone and you're done in 20 minutes.



Most published routines assume a certain level of experience. Conventional lifts can be done immediately by most people. Olympic lifts require a progression of skill development. That's why they're fun.

They're not in opposition to other type of training, they're complementary. They train fitness components that conventional lifting doesn't address. As a person gets older (I'm 50) the component that declines the fastest is power production. Strength comes next. Power is required in almost all sports. That's what olympic lifting gives you.

I work by the principle that it's not growing old that slows you down, it's slowing down that grows you old.


Thanks for the advice - those clips on the crossfit page are really great! But a follow-up question: if I'm planning on legs three times a week, does that include deadlifting? Or should I move deadlifts to a separate day? Also, I imagine that doing squats more than once a week means I should be doing variants to avoid too much muscle memorization, right?


It's a good thing you like overhead presses, coz you could do clean and presses instead. It's a great exercise that can increase your power and strength at the same time.


I tend to think of deadlifts as mainly a leg exercise. Of course it hits your back too.

If you are doing legs 3 times a week, a good split might be:
workout 1 clean & press/back squat/Romanian deadlift
workout 2 1 arm dumbbell snatch/bulgarian split squat/1 leg dumbbell deadlift
workout 3 snatch/front squat/deadlift

Think of this as heavy/light/med for quads and med/light/heavy for hams.

Back squats and deadlifts should be in different workouts as they are the most demanding.