edited in response to comments
Below is a detailed mixed olympic and power lifting routine. In particular, I have annotated what seems to be the most unusual features. I currently use the routine. I am wondering: is optimal considering it's purpose and my constraints? A list of specific concerns can be found at the very bottom of the post.
Some background: I lifted seriously using a low rep routine for a number of years before getting injured and taking time off for work. I am now, after many years, getting back to the gym. Have discovered and fallen in love with "olympic" style lifting.
The purpose of the routine is to accommodate my ridiculous work schedule (sometimes 6 12 hour days per week of sometimes mathematically creative work). I am not at all interested in bodybuilding (muscle proportions/symmetry), but I am very interested in increasing general athleticism (power/flexibility) and somewhat interested in losing weight.
6 workouts per week; 15 min warm up 15 min high effort. I find it much easier to get to the gym regularly if it is as rigid an element of my schedule as work; I also find that if I expend too much energy on any given workout then I cannot work a full day; also, after completing a full day, I very rarely have the mental energy left to safely lift heavy.
4 power days per week; 2 olympic days per week. Bench; snatch; squat; incline; clean/jerk (I squat or push jerk, not split); deadlift[; rest]. I do not do any assistance work for reasons already described; I chose these exercises for the following reasons:
- snatch: it's my favorite lift and it is the most athletic movement that you can do at the gym
- clean and jerk: it's the most explosive movement you can do at the gym; it's always fun picking heavy things up over your head
- squat: muscular/mechanical -- and also electrical/mental and endocrine/chemical -- effects of doing big movements with heavy weight are compelling
- deadlift: same as for the squat
- bench: it is the heaviest and one of the longer upper body movements
- incline bench same as for bench
I used to only bench, snatch, and squat. I found that (with 2 squats per week) to be too repetitive; in particular, too hard on the knees.
On any given day I warm up as necessary. Then do either two or three weighted sets (depending on how I am feeling) for some number of reps, according to the following progression:
- Week 0. Start with a 45 pound bar "W0". Do as many reps "R0" as possible.
- Week 1. 3 sets of R0/3 reps with W0 weight.
- Weeks 2 - ??. While possible, do the same number of sets and reps, but increase W0 by 10 or 20 (depending on the exercise and how I am feeling: 20 for squats, deadlifts, clean/jerks, snatches; 10 for bench/incline, clean/jerk, snatches).
- Weeks ?? - ????. When the above loop fails, decrease R0 by 10, 5, or 1 (depending on how low the reps were already: bigger drops when the reps are high; smaller drops when reps are low). Return to the previous loop, with the current weight replacing W0, and this new number of reps replacing R0.
That progression eventually leads to performing 2 sets of 1 with your near maximum load, though the timing is slightly different for each of the 6 exercises.
The reason for beginning with such high reps (typically 20 for snatches, 60 for squats, 80 for benches) is to 1) develop intuition for the particular lift; and 2) develop muscular endurance. I find these issues to be oft overlooked but extremely important in lifting heavy: since so much of lifting is mental, doing thousands of reps early in the cycle with light and medium weight helps you to develop the courage to pull/push heavy; also, especially for olympic lifting, the movements are so long (3 pulls and 3 pushes in a clean/jerk), poor technique due to fatigue, even with low reps, is a genuine concern.