Friday, December 26, 2014


So this is something I've been doing in my own training that has been incredibly successful that I figured I might as well share.

Squats have never really come easy to me, and they're probably my most temperamental lift, with a constant flux of gains and losses throughout my training career.  Recently in my training, I decided to start training them with more volume at the end of a heavy training session to see what would happen, and the results have been pretty positive.  So far, I have gone from squatting 405 for a very tough set of 6 to an easy set of 15 in the span of 2 months with just sleeves and a belt, and it seems like there are no signs of stopping.

Amazingly, this is not actually my primary squat workout, but just something I've been doing for assistance work.  That being said, it's had a positive impact on my squat performance in general, but I still advocate having an actual heavy squat day to train alongside this approach.


Here is the approach that I have used so far.

-Pick a heavy weight (as in, something you can manage for 5-6 reps), perform one set of max reps with this weight.

-Rest as long as needed in order to be able to do half as many reps (rounding up) as that previous set and perform the set.

-Rest enough to be recovered, then strip a plate per side (or a quarter per side if you are using lower weights) and perform one set of max reps with this weight.

-Rest as long as needed in order to be able to do half as many reps (rounding up) as that previous set and perform the set.

-(If possible) Rest enough to be recovered, then strip a plate per side (or a quarter per side if you are using lower weights) and perform one set of max reps with this weight.

You'll know you're done when this happens

If you managed that 5th set, your legs should pretty much be completely full of blood and walking is impossible.  Even if you didn't, those first 4 sets are an ass kicker.

Train the squat like this once a week, as the END of a workout, not the start.  The point is that you should be prepared to have nothing left when it's all said and done.  If you are saving yourself for more work, you won't be putting in the necessary effort and intensity.


Progression on this approach is as follows.

-On the first and third sets, add 1 more rep to your previous best from the last workout.

-Second and forth sets same protocols as before (rounding up is important here).

-If you can get 20 reps in the first set, it's time to move on to a higher starting weight to start the process over again.

-If you get to 20 reps in the third set, keep at 20 reps, perform as many reps as you can on the 4th set, and then perform a 5th set with that weight getting half as many reps as you did on the 4th set.


Here are some additional tweaks/modifications I have made with this approach to maximize the benefits for me.

-For your heaviest weights (sets 1 and 2), fully lockout the squats.  All other sets, do NOT lockout the weight.  The heavy sets are more for strength/moving heavy weight, while the lighter sets are about getting blood flowing to your legs.  For the lighter sets, I keep the ROM shorter, coming out of the hole and stopping once it feels like my quads want to takeover/lockout.

-If you are short on time and have built up to at least 12 reps in the first set, instead of dropping the weight you can just keep performing sets of half as many reps until you reach a single.  This won't get as much of a pump, but is still pretty brutal.

-Take off your sleeves in between sets!  The first time I did this workout I wore my sleeves the whole time and it felt like my quads were going to explode from the pump.  That sounds cool, but it's going to limit your ability to hit future sets, which kills the volume.

-You're going to be sore for days after this.  Massaging the legs and light work goes a long way toward helping recovery.

Also, don't forget your post-workout nutrition

If you follow this, enjoy the pain it brings.  Let me know how it works out for you, and if you have any questions.


  1. That is a ridiculous gain in squatting power in 2 months. A little longer and you will be playing with 20 plus at 405 ala Dr. Ken. I feel as though this will turn most off except the true iron heads because the driving force of your protocol is brutally hard work on basics. Exactly how it should be. Nice article man, I check your blog every few days and the stuff you talk about has positively effected my training. Good work!

    1. Much appreciated. I am excited about 405 for 20, even if the internet will crucify me on depth, haha. I appreciate your readership and am glad to know I could be a positive influence. Give this program a try and let me know how it works out for you. More data is good data.

  2. Stripping plates in between sets is such a challenge during this!

    1. During the rest periods? I didn't run into that too much, moreso on drop sets. That said, the recovery between sets itself was a miserable time, and I usually spent a lot of it psyching myself up for the next set.

      How has the program been working for you so far? I appreciate the comments.

    2. Yes, stripping plates in between sets is dreadful. I have terrible conditioning and after each set I always feel like I've run a marathon hahaha.

      I do not know if I can attribute strength gains to this yet, because I have only been doing this for two weeks. However I think the greatest benefit in this for me so far has been building up mental strength, which has largely been a problem for me in the past.

    3. That's awesome man, really glad to hear it. I hit my best set ever while on vacation in Denver, CO, and with the high elevation I was fairly certain I was going to die at the end of the set, haha. This'll definitely build a little conditioning on top of everything else.

  3. I have been doing this for 4 weeks and it is great(well, that's not what I think while doing it)! I would email you more details but I don´t have your email hahah

    Anyway, I enjoy your blog a lot, keep up the good work and godspeed on that recovery. Greetings from Spain

    1. Great to hear from you man, and I'm really excited to hear about your progress. If you'd like to get in touch, go ahead and post your e-mail and I'll contact you/delete your post for privacy purposes. If you'd like, you could even write a feature length post and I can submit you as a guest article for the blog.

      Keep on pushing along and getting stronger dude.