In the past 24 hours I've had a handful of people ask me the exact same question about my off-season squatting.
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU TRAIN YOUR SQUAT IN THE OFF-SEASON?
ANSWER: I BECOME A CATMAN
I knew I needed to ease off of the weights a little bit but my ego had a hard time letting go and the hardest part with not lifting heavy is that YOU GET SCARED YOU WILL LOSE YOUR GAINS!! THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
RUM 5 - Sam Byrd squats 782@220 on his second attempt
|Bromance. Total homos. Nothing wrong with it.|
Sam discussed what he does for his squat training.
"CAT, Compensatory Acceleration Training,by the great squatter Fred Hatfield."
Sam's reasoning was very simple," I wanted to be the best squatter, so I did what the best squatter in the world did." At this point, if you don't know who Fred Hatfield is,
HE IS ONE OF THE BEST SQUATTERS EVER...HIS SQUATS LOOKED LIKE THIS.....1008lbs..LEGIT...WHEN "SQUAT" MEANT... SQUAT
NOT LIKE THIS.......
(no comment needed)
Anyway, what Sam told me, other than that he is jealous of my beautiful mane, goes something like this (and I would also encourage you to read Squatting like you're the CEO.... off Chaos & Pain after this article.)
Basically, Sam does a 4 week build up.
Week 1 : 60% x5 x5sets
Week 2 : 60% x5, 70% x5 x3sets
Week 3 : 60% x5, 70% x5, 80% x3 x5sets
Week 4 : 85% or more for MAX REPS
Points of focus:
- Squat each rep as if it's a HEAVY single..aggressive, explosive, no grinds
- Treat each rep as if it's your 1RM
- The focus is on rate of acceleration
His reasoning can best be summed up here, courtesy of Chaos & Pain because it's easier to cut and paste than to think for myself or bother Sam while he's likely eating ice cream:
"I prefer this way because I like to do my rep max with about 80% and I like to feel it on my back a time or two before I have to max out my reps with it. Again, its a confidence thing. After all those weeks crushing weights confidence is pretty high. Ive performed hundreds of explosive powerful reps and not one single miss or grinder any where. By the time i get ready to max I'm ready to test the limits. Once I test, I reset my max and either begin again or change things up to add some variety- maybe a few weeks of chained singles the last 4 weeks before a meet."(Byrd)"
Okay, the purpose of writing this on my blog was so that I wouldn't have to answer people one at a time...it's getting too long...
Basically, I modified what Sam, or Dr. Squat, because anything up around 80% or more HURT. So I had to stay light.
I simply did the 60% 5x5 and gave myself 25 minutes. Since, I have always squatted twice a week and couldn't front squat because that really hurt my quad and knee, I decided to do the 60% part of the cycle twice a week.
The next week it became 6 sets of 5, the next 7 sets, the next 8, and now I like to do anywhere from 8-10 sets in 25 minutes. ( I don't use a belt except for 80% or above).
When I first tried this a year ago I was skeptical but I didn't have a choice...so I did it because I love squatting..period. Once my injuries had healed up a bit I attempted a 1RM simply because I was lazy and didn't feel like getting the vicious back pump that doing 8 plus sets gives me. I was able to perform a single with 715...at a time when my gym max was 720. I BECAME A BELIEVER THAT THIS CONCEPT CAN HELP WITH MAINTENANCE OF A 1RM.
RECENTLY, AS IN LAST WEEKEND, I went for a heavy 1RM. Twice a week, I have been squatting with this 60% CAT modified style since RUM 6 last February... Only with 3 exceptions, I needed to take a photo for POWER magazine back in early May so I squatted 675(nice picture), I did a day where I squatted mixed but still with CAT principles(80%x3x2, 70%x4x4, 60%x5x2), and last Saturday...
Previous in the week I did 455x5x8sets on Tuesday AND Thursday. I normally deadlift on Thursdays but I had strained one of my erectors the previous Thursday deadlifting 675 for sets of 5( PR sets!!)...so I squatted on Thursday to fill the void because I'm a crackhead when it comes to getting my iron fix..."the iron bug bit me"..but anyways.. IT'S SATURDAY AND MY LEGS ARE SORE FROM DOING 36000+LBS OF VOLUME SQUATTING...SO I LAZILY DECIDED TO SQUAT HEAVY...IF I DON'T DO WELL, I HAVE THE EXCUSE THAT I'M CAUTIOUS BECAUSE OF MY BACK, AND THAT I'VE ALREADY SQUATTED TWICE THIS WEEK...AND LOTS.
PUTTING AN END TO THIS NOVEL I SQUATTED 685 LIKE NOTHING, 705 FAIRLY WELL, AND ATTEMPTED AND FAILED 730 (oops caps lock off, I'm not retyping all that... I only attempted 730 because i meant to try 720, did shitty math and accidentally put 725 on, didn't realize this until i did my belt up..so i grabbed 2.5's and threw them on the outside....shrugged my shoulders and thought, "Fuck it...go for a PR." FAIL
...BUT I AM NOW CURIOUS IF FOLLOWING THE ACTUAL PROTOCOL AND NOT MAXING OUT AFTER 36000 lbs of volume in the same week...WHAT KIND OF GAINS CAN BE MADE?!?!
I hope this helps.
- Doing more sets in the same period of time is a good way to increase work capacity...BUT
- YOU CAN ONLY INCREASE WORK CAPACITY SO MUCH BEFORE YOU START TO SACRIFICE QUALITY..the reps will slow down
- Explode Explode Explode..Concentric>>BAR ACCELERATING
- I am going to start doing less than 8 sets and focus more on intensity on the way up...COASTING IS FOR BITCHES... WE DON'T WANT TO COAST THROUGH LIFE...NOR SHOULD WE COAST THROUGH SQUATS
- My squat feels much better because I have ELIMINATED the cue knees out..and now my squat feels like it did 2 years ago....but that is a whole other hour of my time(or more) to write about
- I have used CAT for bench and deadlift sessions and I like it. I love down sets after deadlfiting. I like using it in the bench to build volume.
- I have potentially butchered what Sam Byrd and Dr. Squat use as their protocols... if so, I apologize guys, and if you'd like to add or edit anything or throw some links up for books or sites Mr. Hatfield, let me know and I'll gladly put them below.
ENDING IT WITH A RAW SQUATS COMPILATION....and I yes, I used this particular compilation because I am in it...SO WHAT.
For those of you who've checked out my blog because you're a Chaos and Pain follower: