The point is to develop maximum strength, so you'll need to use very heavy weights and longer rest periods (up to five minutes). As a result of the intensity of each set, you won't be able to do many of them (you'll thank us), so three sets will suffice. You'll get plenty of work in on the squat, bench press, and deadlift, but since we know you're not likely to start competing as a powerlifter, we're not going to train you to peak in these lifts alone-we've tailored this part of the program to developing overall strength. However, notice Exercise 6 in Workout B (powerlifting day), as it will be the only exercise on that day that you won't want to load up the bar on. This move is designed to develop great strength and stability in the hips and quads, which will improve your performance in all three styles of lifting. It will be particularly effective in preparing your body for the posture and core strength you'll need to be a good Olympic-style weightlifter in Workout C. Start with an empty bar, and make sure you complete all your reps without losing your position.
If you played high school football or basketball, you're probably already familiar with the barbell clean or one of its variations. It's among the best exercises for total-body power, and it has been used for decades to make athletes more explosive in a number of sports. It's also one of the flrst steps lifters take in preparing for the clean and jerk and the snatch-the two lifts contested in weightlifting competitions. The goal for the clean, as well as every other exercise in Workout C, is not to lift heavy but to lift with maximum speed, ripping the weight off the floor and/or thrusting it overhead. We're serious about lightening the weight here, as too heavy a load will reduce the power you can generate. Ideally, you would use bumper plates (rubber weight plates that bounce when you drop the bar, allowing you to abandon a missed lift and land the bar safely on the floor) for this kind of training. Nevertheless, we've modified certain weightlifting exercises so that you can still reap the benefits of all-out explosive training without risking injury to yourself, those around you, or the gym floor. (You'll make good use of a medicine ball, which you can fire into the floor without incident.) Because you're moving so fast with these exercises, you won't be able to do many reps; you should end your set when you can no longer maintain your rep speed.
Dave DiFabio is a strength and conditioning coach at Rutgers University and the owner of teamspeedfitness.com