Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Squatting One-Hundred Days: Nearing the End

So now that I'm nearing the end of my experiment in heavy daily squatting, there are some things that I would have done differently. I got too focused on hitting my max, didn't do enough backoff sets, and ended up with a minor injury when I squatted at a strange gym and forgot to pack my lifting belt. Now, ninety-three days in, I finally feel like I'm figuring out this system. The daily max should be a weight between eighty-five and ninety-five percent of your true max. So if 400 lb is my true max, 340 lb would be the number to hit as a minimum. Backoff sets in the seventy to eighty percent range--that's where we want to get our work done. For example, this was my workout Monday:

45 lbsx2x10
315 (add belt)

Essentially, this is a pyramid/reverse pyramid, though it's important to note that the descent is heavier than the ascent. I've used this type of training in my bench press workouts to great effect--I've went from a 280 max to easily doubling 275, which should give me a true max of around 300 lb (I don't have a power rack).

It's also important to throw in light days every other day. I do this by front squatting. My max front squat is 305, while my max back squat is 400, so even if I'm squatting a heavy front squat, the load is relatively light compared to my back squat. So I really think that this type of training takes off when you alternate front and back squats.

Daily squatting isn't particularly different from other forms of training when done properly. Most of your work should be in the seventy to eighty-percent range; the true benefit of this training is frequency, rather than volume. My form has improved drastically (despite what you see in my 400 lb squat video) from daily practice. This is not to say that the heavy singles are useless--you need practice in the ninety-percent range, since form breaks down with heavier weights. My biggest problems are knee cave and hip shifting (my left hip pops now and then). There really is no such thing as perfect form, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try for it to minimize injury risk and lift heavier weights.

There will be one more post in this series, a couple days after I finish my one-hundredth workout.

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