20 Rep Squat Workout
Squats – the most effective and brutal exercise you can do in the gym. We’ve already gone over how awesome this movement is, so you shouldn’t need any more convincing. If you’re still not squatting, then you need to jump on that bandwagon NOW! Unless you’re an advanced bodybuilder or severely injured, you probably have no legitimate reason to avoid it.
Now, for those of you who’ve been paying your dues on the squat – it’s time to take things up a notch. For this crazy training session, we’re going to do things old-school with high reps AND heavy weight. If that sounds like a contradiction to you, then you just haven’t been giving your all when you squat…but that’s about to change.
Squats are unique among heavy movements in that you can just keep getting rep, after rep, after puke-inducing rep – if you want really it! Maybe it’s because the quads contain more slow-twitch muscle fibers, or maybe it’s just because you can stand and “rest” between the really tough reps. Either way, I don’t really care. All I know – and every big dude knows, for that matter – is that grinding out high reps on the squat will build your legs like you wouldn’t believe.
Now, this is more of a technique than an actual training session. Next time you squat, warm up good and proper with very light weights. You’re aiming for one balls-out set, here, so don’t bother ramping up with anything heavy. Just get plenty of blood flowing in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
Once you’re loosened up, load the bar with a weight that you can get for a smooth set of ten. Be honest with yourself here, or else you’re gonna collapse before you ever get the real benefits of this technique. This needs to be a weight that lets you get ten, deep, no-shit squats WITHOUT resting at the top between reps. Oh, and don’t go easy, either. If you can actually get twelve or fifteen without too much trouble, then you’re likewise going to be screwing the whole thing up.
What you do next is simple – get twenty reps. No matter how long you have to stand and pant between them, you’re going to hit twenty. Don’t be stupid and break form, either. Your legs are going to burn like hell, but if you picked the proper weight, you WILL be able to get all twenty without rounding your back like an idiot. It might just take a couple of minutes and a lot of heavy breathing.
So, how should you implement twenty-rep squats into your program? That’s up to you. Unlike some of the other crazier sessions you’ve done, this one can actually be used pretty often. It’s brutal, no doubt – but squats aren’t actually that hard to recover from as long as you get enough food and sleep.
Some guys actually add twenty-reppers to full-body workouts. They’ll start with some benches, pull-ups, and maybe some overhead presses. Then they’ll do the squats, catch their breath, and finish with some more back and arm work.
Personally, I can’t imagine adding heavy rows and presses to a twenty-rep squat workout. That’s just too damn much for me to do in one day, both in terms of time and exertion. I always do them on a lower-body day, and I also do them LAST in the workout. I’ll start with some heavier, low-rep squats, do a couple of sets of leg curls and calf raises, and then head back to the rack. There’s really no need to do much more.
And yes, you probably will have to use a little less weight if you do these last – but not much. However, you WILL screw over the rest of your workout if you do them first. After you try it once, you’ll see what I mean. I don’t care how “hardcore” you think you are – you won’t care about doing another damn thing in the weight room that day after a legit set of twenty-rep squats.
Oh, and once more thing: EAT! You really can do these week after week, and add weight to the bar each time – but only if you’re recovering properly. That means plenty of protein and overall calories. More power to you if you can handle twenty-rep squats on a cut, but this technique is really meant for mass-building. Lifters have been using it for decades to pack on ten, twenty, and even thirty pounds in a matter of months, so don’t go screwing up a good thing with a wimpy diet.
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