Why High Volume Squats Are Harder Than Vinnie Jones

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It’s no secret where I stand on the “kill it with volume” scale. I’m right up there with the boys from Spinal Tap. Straight 11.

See I really, truly believe that when it comes to increasing your squat, the easiest way to do it is to hammer your body into submission by increasing the volume of your workouts (intelligently).

Practically, that might look something like this;

A) Squat 70% 5×8
B) Pause Squat 5×8
C) Front Squat 5×8
D1-3) Upper body weak point assistance

SquatImage

RANTING
“That’s overtraining” I hear your cry. Well let me reply with “…only if you’re a pussy”. Your body has amazing recuperative abilities, but only if you nourish it appropriately.

That part is simple – eat enough real food to facilitate recovery, and sleep at least 8 hours per night. Got that in check? Great. Let’s move on.

Once you’ve got that in place, you can start training.

One thing I want you to remember all the way thru is this – you’re getting stronger if you’re adding more weight to the bar, or more reps to your set. If you only ever train 3-5 reps per set, adding another rep is VERY hard on max weights (20-33% additional volume). Going from a 10RM to a 12RM is much easier, and because every rep still feels bone crushingly heavy, because you’re at your limit, your progress.

Is the above a “smart” way to get started? Probably not. You’re going to be really bloody sore. You’ll also adapt quickly. And sometimes ignoring your stupid body which only wants to hold you back like a domineering girlfriend is the way to go when it comes to getting stronger.

See most people are just complete, absolute pussies when it comes to strength training. I always talk about my mate Kev when it comes to people who can just shut off that bit of their brain that says “stop, don’t do it to me”.

He’s the sorta guy that’ll walk out a squat. And it will look SHAKY. “Here we go again”, I think almost every time I squat with him “…this rep will be a tough one”.

And he gets it. Every time.

…but then he fupping goes on to do it again FOUR MORE TIMES.

I can’t even begin to describe the levels of sheer pig headed determination required to do that. A simple 5×5 workout might take him 80 minutes to get thru because every rep is taken to the absolute limit. It’s no coincidence that he’s a 280kg squatter now.

What I’m getting at is this – if you want to be really, truly strong, you need to develop a bad attitude and a set of balls (…lady balls if you’re a female!).

IMPLEMENTING
The implementation of all of this is really quite simple. You just need to start high rep, and add weight to the bar each week while fighting like hell to keep upright.

Practically that could break down like this (…and om-gosh I’m using linear periodisation!!)

Week 1: 40% 3×20
Week 2: 50% 3×15
Week 3: 60% 4×12
Week 4: 70% 5×8
Week 5: 75% 5×6
Week 6: 80% 5×5
Week 7: 85% 5×4
Week 8: 90% 5×3
Week 9: 95% 5×3
Week 10: 100% 5×2-3

Yes, I’m asking you to stick to a plan for 10 weeks. I know how crazy that seems these days now that everyone can deliver results in 6 short days. But long term – it will work.

For example… Liam had been training on his own for like 6/7 years. Got reasonably strong – 130kg squat, 110kg bench, 160ish deadlift etc etc.. Anyway he hadn’t seen improvements in a long time. Thought he was near his genetic limit (bullshit, by the way).

A year later, he’s squatted 160kg, benched 130kg and pulled 210kg.

Know how he did that? A bad attitude and a good work ethic. Following the exact same ideas and plans outlined above. He just showed up, killed it with volume and pushed on.

THE CLOSING “THEORY”
I’m putting “theory” in inverted commas because it’s really just a dumbed down comment. Here’s what you need to figure out – how do you build the tallest pyramid?

By building the widest base.

That base, the foundation of your training is hypertrophy and volume work. No one wants to body build anymore because it’s not cool, but without fail the strongest dudes in the world a big jacked mother truckers who could probably step on stage whenever they wanted.

Bodybuilders aren’t “weak”. They just aren’t as strong as elite powerlifters in the same weight class. They’ve both many times stronger than you and your bros. Combined.

How’s that done? By hammering away for a long time on higher rep ranges building the muscle that will eventually move the weight.

Or you could just stick to your stronglifts/starting strength 5×5 bullshit, drink a load of milk, get reasonably strong and still look like a bit lumpy sack of shit because you’ve never done enough reps to build any muscle.

Whatever!!

**If you want to find out a bit more about high volume squatting and how it could work for you, apply now for our free 15 minute coaching call by filling in the form below.**

 

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James Hanley

Strength Coach. Performance Specialist. Dog Lover. Powerlifter. And the guy behind the scenes in RevFit that keeps the plates spinning.