There are several books/articles out there that describe the different programming techniques. 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler and the Westside method by Joe Defranco are some of my favorites, but those programs are for the more advanced lifters. Mike Boyle’s book “Advances in Functional Training” (another book you should read) offers a great chapter on programming for athletes that has an amazing carry over for the general population.
Starting Strength (which I have mentioned earlier) also has a great programming chapter. They discuss the hierarchy of your lifts and explains the scale extremely simply in the order of what your strongest lift should be, to your weakest.
Deadlift > Squat > Bench Press > Power Clean > Overhead Press.
There you have it. Simply put and no need to go more in depth (but I will anyway).
If your Bench Press is higher than your squat then there is something terribly wrong with your lifting program and you should probably re-evaluate your life’s choices.
Just as important as the programming is learning the lifts properly. If you choose not to squat because it hurts your knees then you are either
A) an idiot
B) Not squatting properly
C) you have bad ankle mobility
D) all of the above
Anyone who tells you squatting is bad for your knees is wrong. Squatting is only bad on the knees when it is done improperly.
Like last weeks article “Pairing of Proper Exercises” (https://christangredicscs.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/supersets-of-pairing-of-proper-exercises/) the order of exercises is just as important as well. Its a good rule of thumb to start your workout with the exercise that requires the greatest amount of muscle fiber recruitment across multiple movement patterns (your brain hurt from that one?).
For example: I usually start off each workout (after foam rolling and movement prep) with a few sets of Turkish Get-ups because it works every movement pattern your body has. From there I move to either Cleans or Power Snatches which again have a High Muscular Recruitment demand from multiple muscle groups. From there I usually get more specific as the workout goes on.
I have found that this method works best because if you start out specific and then get advanced with your movements you will burn out all of your energy on the smaller isolated movements and will focus less on the more demanding movements. This will cause you to compensate the complex patterns because of muscle fatigue and cause improper movements.
So take a look at your current program (if you even have one), and re-work it so that your more important lifts are first and your accessory work (isolated movements, strict core movements) are towards the end of your workout. It will make your workouts more efficient and will deliver better results, and in the end isn’t that what we all want?