T Nation

Back-to-basics training

OK, after being distracted by each new routine one of the coaches on T-mag comes up with I’ve decided to go back to the basics nearly all of them tout: Bench press, squat, deadlift, power cleans.
Got a few questions and would love if any of the resident strength coaches would reply: Should power cleans be done on back day (with deadlifts) or on legs day (squats)? I was thinking of using the 1-6 workout principle - doing bench press on one day; squats on the next; deadlift on the next (or putting the bench between those two days) - but I’m not sure if that will work.
About me: female, late 30s, been lifting forever (since my late teens), got a ridiculously high body-fat percentage, other than creaky knees and a cranky lower back am in good health. Goal: to build strength and muscle and lose weight (from high 190s to 150-160) and fat; the last two I know are a function of diet.
Can anyone give me some pointers?

I’m one year away from 20-years of weight training. Both competitive and non, bodyfuilder. AND my routine is almost entirely made up of the “basics”: squats, benches , deadlifts. When I do cleans (which I began performing this past summer), I do ‘em on their own. Cleans-only workout. I do this so that I can concentrate on form. We (boyfriend and I) have been doin’ squats and deads on the same day. I suggest in your quest to keep it simple and stick to the deads, benches and squats. Cleans are good - but start with a bar to get that form correct. Also we train primarily three days a week. But since I’m in pre-contest mode, I add in a day (shoulder, bicep work). Right now, no cardio. No need to. April I embark on the Meltdown Training.

There's other things to consider. Diet, of course. And your overall routine (sets, reps, days).

I'm not sure if you've seen this mentioned before here in the forums, but let me say now that there is no such thing as a "woman only" routine or a "man only" routine.

Would be helpful if you would further expound on what you're doing diet-wise now.

I guarantee you will make unbelievable gains on a routine like that. I think you should do either power clean OR deadlift on your pulling day. I promise if you get a big power clean your deadlift will increase a lot as well even if you don’t train on it. If you still want to deadlift though, I’d say do them on squat day if you can handle it. (reps on power cleans are ok too if you take a bit or a rest between reps ie rest-pause style)

Cleans should be done on leg day. They should be done at the beginning of the workout when you are neurally fresh. And you should always do lower reps (5 or less). Deadlifts are more of a leg exercise as well. So you should either do them on a separate leg day or with your cleans.

When I trained for Olympic lifting, we would have two lower body days. The first day (MON) would be cleans, clean pulls and back squats. The second day (THUR or FRI) would involve snatches, snatch pulls or deadlifts and front squats. Our upper body day involved jerks, overhead presses, bench presses and some back work. So it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish and where you want to fit it in. Doing cleans, squats and deadlifts in the same week will wear you down very quickly. So you may want to think twice about including all three exercises in your weekly routine.

If you’re looking to lose weight, then you will obviously need to start with diet. As for training, I would try to keep it high paced with short rest breaks and more reps. This will be hard to do with a routine like you are trying to set up. You may want to check out something like Meltdown training or even EDT. And of course, Coach Davis’ stuff is great for getting lean and well conditioned in a matter of a few weeks.

Cleans make for a good DL warmup, so you could do them on DL day. Or you could alternate and do DL’s one week, then cleans the next week.

I don’t want to confuse you, but I have a suggestion for a different kind of split. It’s not for everyone, but I do two full body workouts each week. (circuit-style) Monday I do bench, shrugs, rows, squats. Thursday I do dips, chins, clean & press, deadlifts. (I will soon change this to incorporate power cleans and overhead squats) But this way, your back won’t be tired from working it with deads or power cleans on leg day. Everything gets worked twice a week, and I get to use a variety of exercises for each muscle group. Friday I work arms, calves, abs. A variation of this routine might be what you’re looking for.

Thanks all. Patricia, I’ve been at it long enough to understand there is no men’s/women’s workout, it varies only according to goal.
As to diet? I started Weight Watchers last summer and lost 15 pounds quickly. Since then I’ve been stagnant, no doubt because their food recommendations are so carb-oriented. I’ve gone through some old food diaries and am beginning to get back to more protein, fewer carbs.

I think I’ll hold off on powercleans for the moment and just focus on squats, benches and deadlifts. I intend to go for 5-8 rep range. Question is how many sets? Should I vary which bench press within/among workouts (i.e. flat w/barbell, incline w/barbell, flat w/dumbbell, incline w/dummbell, decline bar/dummbell?) or just stick with flat bench barbell for the moment (see how easily I’m distracted? :-> ).

I intend to use cardio 15-20 minutes as my warmup. I spend a long time stretching before and after, so the cardio before is necessary. Because of scoliosis (moderate, not severe) I'm not very flexible, but my flexibility grows the more I stretch. I'm considering throwing in a yoga class on my non-lift days for that.

So whatchall think?:
Monday: Bench press 5-8 reps X 3 sets? 5?
Wednesday: Back squats 5-8 reps ?sets?
Friday: Deadlift 5-8 reps ?sets?
(Or I think I’ll put the bench press between the squat and deadlift to aid recovery.)


Why not do an OL-type lift at the beginning of every workout and perform a full-body workout 2-3 times per week? I suggest checking out Chris Thibideau’s articles at drsquat dot com. Or you might want to look at some of the basic routines at the cablebar guy’s site (JV Askem’s site, I c/n remember the address right now).

Keep your sets in the 3-4 range. My other suggestion would be to perform squats and deads on the same day, one week and alternate the deads with cleans the following and so on.

It is not an isolationist movement so you need to consider it within training both your legs and back. You noted the Power Clean but would you also be using the Clean? Best of luck with your training. In faith, Coach Davies

Coach Davies you asked if I’d thought about the clean (having mentioned the power clean). Can you outline the distinction between the two? I thought they were the same?

Matt I like that idea of performing one of the Olympic lifts at the start of a full-body workout with these types of workouts happening 2-3 times a week.

Hey now we’re talking. In performing the “Clean” you drop under the bar into a full front squat whereas with the “Power Clean” you only drop slightly under (ie 1/4). Both of these lifts can be started in a wide variety of positions such as from not only the floor position but also the “Hang” position which can be from above knees, at knee’s, below knee’s or from blocks. You can naturally do the same with the Snatch / Power Snatch. I hope that helps and naturally feel free to ask if there is anything else. In faith, Coach Davies

Glad you like the idea… I wish I could take credit for it tho! Another great site occured to me to check out re: olympic lifting and their variants… danjohn.org click on the training link. There are a lot of routines and training idea based on the training the body as one unit concept.

Bump so that some of the o-lifter I invited to come over from goheavy might get a chance to answer this question…

OK after a week or two of procrastination and interruption, I’ve begun. This is my workout. Feedback is welcome.
I do an all-body workout and I start with one of the foundation lifts, rotating which I start with each workout
Chest: Bench press 3 sets of 5 reps. Shoulders: Arnold press. Arms: Zottman curls, lying triceps extension. Back: Seated row, pulldowns (not strong enough to do pullups or even negatives :frowning: ). Legs: Squat, deadlift.
I always have shoulders and arms follow chest; what differs is whether chest is the start of the workout, the middle or the end. I figure by rotating this way I can give equal primacy to the core areas (following the idea that what you start your workout with will grow first/fastest/best).
Patricia? Coach Davies? Anybody else?

bump please