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Squat Every Day: Week 6


Hello everyone, and welcome to Squat Every Day: Week 6 – The Finale.

As you might have guessed this is the last week of Squat Every Day for me for a while. There are a few reasons why I am taking a break from this program:

1. It was a good week to end on. I didn’t set any new PR’s but I did do exactly what I wanted to do. I hit around 95-97% of all my PR’s on every day. They all felt hard but good and I am confident that I could hit those numbers on any given day now.

2. In my last post I had said I was going to go for another week, but I forgot that I have a CrossFit competition this weekend. So I am going back into doing our regular classes at the gym. Hopefully I will get into a few classes so I don’t have to do them all on my own and can feel some competition heading into the weekend.

3. As someone who does CrossFit I feel this is a good plan for building strength but it is more tailored to the offseason type of training or if you are into Powerlifting. For me this is the middle of my “competition” season so I need to be doing CrossFit, not Powerlifting. I think this would be a better program for me to do in the offseason which would be somewhere from October to February. So there may be more Squat Every Day coming later this year.

4. I achieved one goal and almost got another. I wanted to get my overhead squat to 225lbs and I got that. I wanted to get my back squat to 350lbs and I got it to 345lbs. With a little rest and recovery I think I can hit 350lbs in the next 2-3 weeks. This program has a ton of volume to it. Every squat works up in the rep scheme of 10-10-5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1 which equals out to 42 total reps per day and over 5,000lbs per day. Then you add in lunges and deadlift days and you have yourself a lot of work! Doing that for 40 days with virtually no rest is going to eventually wear a guy out. So I think if I rest and lower the volume I could increase the end load…Hopefully.

5. Mentally I checked out at least a week ago. It stopped being fun and just became work. I can only do that for so long then I need to change things up and get to the next project. I think if I knew what to expect that might have helped me stick with it a bit longer mentally, but having never done a true strict strength type program (very technical name for the program) before I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

6. Members in the gym are starting to ask when I am coming back to classes to workout. I miss working out with people in a class setting and having that friendly competition. So I am excited to get back into that this week!

I am sure there are a few other reasons why I felt this is a good time to stop and change gears but those are the main ones. This 40 days of squats has also taught me a few things.

1. I like squatting ALOT. I knew I liked squatting before but now after seeing how I feel after all these squats and how I felt during the squats, I like them even more. There were many days where I felt like crap coming into the gym, but I did my squats anyway, and could feel my body getting tired, obviously, but also felt better as the session progressed. I really think there is something magical about squatting. Lets just say that in the future if I am having a bad day I am going to come in and play around with some squats.

2. My body reacts fairly well to high volume, for a certain amount of time. The first 3 weeks of this program were great! My numbers increased every day and I felt great. Then in week 4 somewhere I started to run into the wall. At this point I think I was correct in pushing through for that week, but the next week I should have decreased the volume of the training. Instead of doing sets of 10-10-5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1 I should have bumped it down to something like 10-5-3-3-1-1. Or I could have inserted a full day of rest earlier than I did so I could maintain that intensity and volume longer. Which brings me to my next point.

3. I need more rest days. I need to pick a day every week or so to take the whole day and do nothing. Spend the day doing stuff I enjoy and not worrying about the time it took, or how much I lifted. Just sit back relax and read a book or go for a walk or something like that. Having said that, I need to keep it interesting because….

4. I get bored easily. If I have too many days where I am not doing anything it will actually make me stress more. I enjoy life more when I have things to do, places to be, and people to see. I enjoy having a “ToDo List” and scratching those items off. One. At. A. Time. There is no feeling like scratching something off your “ToDo List”. Sometimes when I do something and I feel like it was a good use of my time, I will add it to my “ToDo List” just so I can scratch it out.

5. I enjoy doing lots of different stuff as opposed to the same thing every day. I have always been a busy person. From the day I was born my parents said I never sat still. Then once I could play sports, well, I played them all of course. I have played, baseball, football, hockey, volleyball, basketball, badminton, track and field, ultimate frizbee, and inline hockey. Some times I would be playing a few sports at the same time like hockey and football. Then have a few weeks off before I would start into track and field. Then a few weeks off and back to football and eventually hockey as well. These days I play in a couple different hockey leagues while playing ultimate frizbee as well in the winter. Then over the summer things slow down a bit but still playing slow pitch and then doing a CrossFit competition every month or so. Then its back to hockey and frizbee. I like doing stuff.

So there you have it folks. That is a wrap on the first attempt through Squat Every Day.

Links to the other weeks of Squat Every Day:

Squat Every Day: Week 1

Squat Every Day: Week 2

Squat Every Day: Week 3

Squat Every Day: Week 4

Squat Every Day: Week 5

Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

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Squat Every Day: Week 5

Fallen

Rest day on Wednesday was much needed and totally worth it! Did not do any training, just worked and read Game of Thrones. Then I was back at it Thursday. Thursday did some pause front squats, then on Friday I had Funsquat Friday. I did a snatch complex of one snatch deadlift, one snatch pull, and one hang snatch. I started at 95lbs and added 5lbs every minute to end at 165lbs. Then after a few attempts at 170lbs I got that one too. Looking back at it I should have done every 90 seconds because by the time I did the lifts and then changed the plates I usually had about 15 seconds “rest”. Saturday was a BIG day in many ways. Lots of training time (total of like 5 hours by the end of it all, with some chit chat during….), PR’d two lifts (14 more reps on “death by back squat” and 35lbs added to overhead squat), it was my birthday so I got lots of love from family and friends, and I ate a lot of food. I do think after the day I had I earned the extra two donuts, large blizzard, and supper out. Sunday was a fun day too. Another coach and I did “3 bars of death” which wasn’t what I first thought it was going to be but it turned out to be alright. Rather than back squat, deadlift, and press it was “Linda” (10 reps -> 1 rep of deadlift, bench press, and power clean) which I did in 22:21. After the last few days that I have had I was pretty happy with that. Next time I am going for a time under 20 min.

This up coming week I am getting back into my version of squat every day. Starting it off by working up to a technical max on unbelted and belted back squat. Basically this means I will probably get to about 95-97% of my true max on each lift. I do not want to go to failure this week but rather, go till I hit a really heavy single but maintain good form throughout the lift. Then I will be moving into some pause squats, tempo squats, and my second favourite variation of squat….the front-back squat. I also have close grip bench press on one day, lunges on four days, and deadlift on two days.

In the next two weeks I will have four deadlift days. I plan to make one of them into a three pause deadlift, pausing at knee, thigh, and hip. I messed around with it this week and think it would be beneficial to me as my deadlift is not very consistent and it will force me to keep good form throughout the lift. Over those same two weeks I have two bench press days, one of which I am going to try pause bench where I pause for a full second with the bar on my chest. I am still going to keep Funsquat Friday and as luck would have it this week I do front-back squats on Friday so I will most likely just leave that there.

The thing that I am really excited about is that I am back to looking forward lifting again. After my crappy start to last week I was in the dumps about this whole squatting thing and really was not happy about it at all. After the last three days I have had  this week though I am back to being excited about lifting and looking forward to start again and seeing what the next 3-4 weeks will bring.

Links to the previous weeks:

Squat Every Day: Week 1

Squat Every Day: Week 2

Squat Every Day: Week 3

Squat Every Day: Week 4

Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 4

Relax

Day 31. The one day hiatus.

Week 4 continued to be difficult both mentally and physically. Mentally it was less to do with being bored and more to do with just being tired and run down. In the last 50 days I took 4 days off of work. One of those days we still came in for a team meeting. Another one of those days was a slow-pitch tournament in some of the hottest weather so far this year. The remaining two days were a CrossFit competition.  In all of those 50 days I also trained all but three days. So I didn’t really have any days off. Add onto that I have two big projects for work I am currently working on outside of work hours (creating a gymnastics program, and creating movement standards for the gym) and I am working towards getting my OPEX Certification (the biggest demand of the all). So needless to say I have officially packed my schedule full and maxed out my brain usage. As long as I can schedule things in and keep up with each day’s “ToDo list” I am usually good to go, (I like having things to do to keep me from getting bored) but over the last monthish I have struggled to do that. Starting today that is changing though. I have learned a lot about myself over the last month and have already crossed quite a few items off my “ToDo List” today that have been on there far too long.

Sitting back and looking at it all I am happy with the progress of my squats and with how much I have learned about myself.

Recap of GAINS in 30 days:

-Back Squat 1RM: 310 -> 345

-Front Squat 1RM: 270 -> 295

-Deadlift 1RM: 400 -> 418

-Back Squat 10sec Pause: 255

-Walking Lunges: 200m X 3, 4 days/week

-Close Grip Bench Press stayed at 270

-No Sore Joints

I figure I can max out for about a month straight before I absolutely have to take a day off. I am not totally sure how much my work-load has influenced that but I hope to figure that out in the next couple weeks to a month. The plan is to take today and crush out some work I need to get done over the next two days, then take tomorrow and have some time for myself. I still work in the morning and the evening tomorrow but I can sleep in an extra hour or so (till about 6:30) and over lunch I am not going to concern myself with work at all. Tomorrow is a day that when I am not at work I will be simply relaxing and hopefully reading a book which has nothing to do with work at all. It will most likely be Game of Thrones so I can let my mind go to the fantasy world and check out from this one for a few hours. That is something else I have learned about myself. I need to take an hour each day or a couple hours every 3 or 4 days and mentally check out. It comes with physically checking out to a certain degree as well. In a perfect world it is just me and my book for a solid two hours. No people, no work, no fitness, no noise, and no caring about what I eat (if it is in the middle of the day). Once I get through these two days I plan to get back on the Squat Every Day wagon and the “ToDo List” wagon as well.

To the squats and what I did in week 4. This week I ended up taking out the serious gymnastics training and one of the CrossFit classes I added last week. I kept in some fun and unstructured gymnastics work which ended up being lots of handstand hold and handstand walking practice as well as some core work like hollow and arch rocks. I also kept the competition team training in on Saturdays. I have managed to keep almost all of my different variations of squats at the same number over the last week but Day 29 and 30 of Squat Every Day brought along some misses at numbers I had achieved before. That was the final alarm going off as to how much my body can handle. Thus the reason for my rest day tomorrow.

Hopefully after a day off and getting work sorted out over the next couple weeks I can continue to see results. One new thing I am going to introduce is to have a “fun squat day” every Friday (Funsquat Friday). Last Friday I did back squat @275 in the following pattern:

1 Back Squat every :30s for 2 min (5 reps)

rest 2 min

1 Back Squat every :30s for 1:30 (4 reps)

rest 2 min

1 Back Squat every :30 sec for 1min (3 reps)

This week another coach wants to do the “3 bars of death” so I’ll do that with her. It incorporates deadlift, back squat, and press. You load the bars with whatever weight you want. Once you declare a weight for an exercise you have to stay with it. You can only do 1 rep of each exercise per round. You accumulate 10,000lbs as fast as you can in however many rounds it takes you. Sounds like fun right?

Links for the previous weeks:

Squat Every Day: Week 1

Squat Every Day: Week 2

Squat Every Day: Week 3

Till next week (I’ll let you know how “3 bars of death” goes), Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 3

fargotten

Week 3 in the books and it wasn’t easy. This week was a big mental challenge for me, as well as obviously physical but more mental and here is why. First off, because I get bored really quick I wanted to add in a few more workouts and see how my body reacted. So I added in two CrossFit classes. One on Thursday and one on Friday. Thursday went really well (I’ll touch on that more in a bit) and Friday was a grind mainly because it was just plain old hard workout (CrossFit Games Regional WOD #6). Secondly I think that the squats are starting to accumulate on my body and my mind. This is not a surprise. I knew there would come a point where my body couldn’t keep adding weight to the bar. The part that surprised me is that my mentality towards the squats went first, I think it is a sign of things to come for my body.

The biggest mental block is coming from not respecting the numbers. This week my back squat went up again and got me to 10lbs off of a double body weight Back Squat. That was really cool for about two days and then that excitement wore off and all I want to do now is back squat double my body weight. It doesn’t matter where I started I just want to reach the next goal. This can cause issues because it then seems like you are just constantly chasing goals and never enjoying the ones you reached. It wasn’t until I sat down and looked at my starting numbers and compared them to now that I saw the progress I had made. In these three weeks my back squat has gone from 310lbs to 345lbs. That is 35lbs in 21 days, not bad. In those same three weeks my front squat has gone from 270lbs to 295lbs. A 25lbs increase in 21 days, respectable. That is when I really seen how well this was working for me. So this next week coming up I am looking at what I have done rather than looking how far I still have to go and hopefully that will help me get mentally back in the game. This week I am also taking away the CrossFit classes and serious gymnastic training. The reason for subtracting this is that I want to see where the tipping point is for my body in relation to just the squats. Originally I had thought I would ease my way into the “squat every day” plan and then in weeks three and four I would add in more training to see how much total volume of training my body could handle. Then I talked with a few of the other coaches at the gym and kind of revamped my plan. I am still getting gains from just doing squats so why change. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So that is the reasoning behind going back to purely squats, deadlifts, lunges, and bench press. I will still sprinkle in some things like handstand work or pull-up work because that is low impact so it will not hamper the gains from squats. Plus I really enjoy playing around with gymnastics and I need to get back to having fun in the gym as apposed to just beating myself down every day.

Along with keeping in some fun gymnastics I am also going to keep doing the close grip bench press. This week was the first week adding in some bench press and it went well. Managed to keep my close grip bench press at my previous PR even after neglecting all upper body work for two weeks (normally that would have set me back 2 months). Another really cool thing that happened in my training this week was on Thursday when I was in class. The workout was (30 wall ball + 30 Burpees + rest 3 min) X3. Up to this point the most wall ball I had done unbroken was 20. On this day I did my squats in the morning (I prefer to get them done nice and early), then came back in the afternoon and did the class WOD at the gym. This was the first time I had ever done 30 wall ball straight and it felt great. Then to make it even better not only did I go straight through in round one, but also round 2 and round 3. I was pretty happy with myself even if we did have a 3 minute break between each round.

One day that I was not excited for from the beginning of the week was the front-back squat day. I did it again this week so I could get it away from the 10 second pause squats (doing them in week four). In case you were wondering, front-back squats still suck.

Looks like this week I have to take some of my own advice, which I leave you with at the end of all my posts.

Links for the previous weeks:

Squat Every Day: Week 1

Squat Every Day: Week 2

Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 2

dreams

All done week 2 of Squat Every Day. This week beat me down and built me back up again all at the same time. It also caused me to create Squat Every Day version…..4.0 I think, I have honestly lost track of what version I am on. The big hitters this week were 10 second pause back squats on Tuesday and then on Thursday doing front-back squats (all the same rep scheme as any other squat day but you do front squat for a number of reps and then straight to the same reps of back squat then up the weight and repeat for the next set). With those two days so close together I was really dragging my butt by the end of Thursday. Friday rolled around and I ended up having a pretty decent day still so that was good to see I could recover after some pretty tough workouts. I’m pretty sure my CNS took a big hit on those two days, especially having them so close together. Looking back on it 10 seconds is a LOOOOOONNNNGGGG time to sit in the active bottom of a squat, everything was shaking by the time I went to stand up. Then on Thursday with the front-back squat I accumulated over 11,000lbs of squatting. I think I’m allowed to be tired after that, I’d actually be concerned if I wasn’t. So that is why in Squat Every Day 4.0 the 10 second pause squats are one week and the front-back squats are the next. I have also added in one more lunge session per week, two bench days per week and 2 gymnastic sessions per week.

I have a feeling that by the time I get through these next two weeks I will probably be on Squat Every Day 6.0 or 4.2 or something, I’m not really sure what warrants a change in the first number versus a change in the decimal. Along with being on a whole new version, each training session is getting longer and longer as I find things I want/need to add into my workouts. Right now each session ranges from 30-90 minutes, not including a cool down. At this point if I start adding much more I’m going to have to start breaking them up into two-a-days.

On the note of two-a-days, I did one this Saturday again and it actually wasn’t too bad. After doing squats, deadlifts, and lunges in the morning it ended up that the workout later that day had more deadlifts (much lighter) and squats (back, front, and overhead all with light weight but 20-40 reps). Needless to say I was pretty bagged by the end, and had zero issue falling asleep that night.

As far as numbers go I am still increasing all my lifts. My 3 rep max for deadlift managed to increase by about 10lbs, my back squat went up 5lbs, and my front squat went up 20lbs. My body has been holding together pretty well thus far as well. I think I need to take a few more minutes to stretch, roll, and mobilize at the end of each session just to keep up with the high demand of maxing out pretty much every day. Exercises like pigeon, glute smash (with lacrosse ball), hamstring smash, and cooling if down on the air bike are the main things I find that help me stay loose and healthy.

Here is the link to Squat Every Day: Week 1 if you want to check out how things went then.

Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 1

therapy

Last Monday I started on a mission to be better which relied heavily on increasing my leg strength. I have known this to be an issue for a long time but just recently some testing that I did really showed me how much I needed to improve my leg strength. Here are the numbers that got me really thinking:

#1 – Front Squat 1RM 270lbs in relation to Close Grip Flat Bench 1RM 270lbs

#2 – Clean 1RM 235lbs in relation to Push Press 1RM 225lbs

When people hear those numbers they usually say something like “How can you bench that?” or “How is your bench as much as your front squat?”. Sure maybe my upper body press is good but my answer to those questions: My legs are weak. There is no way that my arms should be able to push as much weight as my legs. There is more muscle and much bigger muscles in your legs than your arms so your legs should be able to push more weight. When doing a clean and jerk the hard part should be the clean. Well for me it’s different. I know that if I can get it to my shoulders…. I can get it over head. I knew that was kind of backwards but it wasn’t until I saw the actual numbers that I realized just how backwards it was.

So how did this happen you ask? To be honest, I don’t really know but I do have a theory. My theory has a lot to do with the fact that over the last several months I have been playing hockey once a week, ultimate frizbee twice a week, and flag football once a week, all while working out at the gym six days per week. That is a lot of running (and skating which is basically one in the same as running in my theory) which is a lot of volume and cardio type work for my legs. Cardio and strength are not always friends and usually do not play nice with one another. So my theory is that my legs were doing a lot of cardio which stunted the strength side of things (there were still some strength gains). Where as with my upper body I had just been doing strength work basically (1-15 reps rather than hundreds like there would be for my legs when running) so there was big gains in the strength department for my upper body because cardio didn’t get in the way.

Now I have no hard core proof that that is what happened but in my head it makes sense, as well as in the heads of a few other people I have ran the theory by. In seeing the numbers and thinking my theory has some truth to it I started looking for a way to improve my leg strength. I looked into 5/3/1 method a bit. I thought about not playing sports for 2 months and seeing what would happen (going insane would probably be what would happen, so that was crossed off the idea list pretty fast). I thought about doing CrossFit Football again (only this time there wouldn’t be as many sports so hopefully the strength gains would be better for my legs). And then I heard about this “squat every day” thing. I was immediately hooked, just the name flicked on the ‘leg strength” light in my head. I did some research, watched/listened to a few podcasts, read a few articles online, and applied some of my own creativity. The main influence behind squatting every day is Corey Gregory. I went through his program and figured out patterns for when he did deadlifts, lunges, and pause squats and then added in my own little twists here and there.

So one week in I have increased my front squat to 275lbs and my back squat to 320lbs (from 310). I have done front squats twice and backs squats five times. I did deadlifts on two days and lunges on three days. Every day was to a one rep max for the squats except for Sunday which was a 70% day and a day I looked forward to from about Thursday on.

I’m not 100% sure about the science behind the lunges but I think they are what saves you in this program. Using lunges as a warmup every day my legs feel pumped up, turned on and ready to do work, which when you are maxing out on squats is fairly important. Adding them in three times per week as a “cardio” gives my legs lots of reps under low impact and keeps the ligaments, tendons, and muscles strong and engaged.

All in all, week one went well. I increased both squats and made my legs do a lot of work without being very stiff and/or sore at all. I’m excited for week two which is much of the same but I am going to add in some gymnastics work as well. On days that I just squat I will add in a gymnastics workout. On days I do squats with lunges, or squats with deadlift I am going to add in some skill and accessory gymnastics. On the day I do squats, deadliest, and lunges I’ll probably just leave it at that.

We will see what happens as this is kind of an ongoing experiment.

Stay Positive, Be Better and Go Get It!