T Nation

20-Rep Breathing Squats


#1

For those who've tried 20-rep squats (do 10 reps to near failure, then continue to 20 by breathing a lot between sets 10 and 20), do you think it matters if I do the squats at the start or end of a workout?

Background:

I start with upper body pushes and pulls, then do squats.

I am only concerned with hypertrophy with this routine.

I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter for my leg development, but I'm wondering about upper body (is it better to do pull-ups after 20-rep squats, or before, or maybe it doesn't matter)


#2

[quote]MarcF wrote:

For those who’ve tried 20-rep squats (do 10 reps to near failure, then continue to 20 by breathing a lot between sets 10 and 20), do you think it matters if I do the squats at the start or end of a workout?

Background:

I start with upper body pushes and pulls, then do squats.

I am only concerned with hypertrophy with this routine.

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter for my leg development, but I’m wondering about upper body (is it better to do pull-ups after 20-rep squats, or before, or maybe it doesn’t matter)
[/quote]

Try a bunch of ways, see what works


#3

You aren’t going to be wanting to do much more than die after the squats. When I ran the program, squats were toward the end. If I were to run it today, it would be the very last thing I did for the day.


#4

Thanks, sounds like I wasn’t off my rocker to do them at the end. I can’t imagine doing them at the start.


#5

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
You aren’t going to be wanting to do much more than die after the squats. When I ran the program, squats were toward the end. If I were to run it today, it would be the very last thing I did for the day.[/quote]

x2, definitely should be the last thing you do.


#6

[quote]eatliftsleep wrote:
Try a bunch of ways, see what works[/quote]
Pretty much this. Plenty of guys have used both methods. Classic thinking is to do it first in the routine when you’ve got the most energy and can go 100% balls out on it, like you’d do with any exercise/bodypart you wanted to prioritize. Overall programming is still going to be key though. You wouldn’t want to do the squats and then knock out another 25 sets for two or three other bodyparts.

The flip side approach is to do it as the last move of the day so you don’t have to “hold back” anything during your session hoping to preserve energy to get through it. Doing the squats last also means you don’t have to “hold back” during the squats in anticipation of having another half hour of training afterwards.

Doggcrapp training has their “widowmaker” high-rep leg set as the last exercise of the day. The classic Super Squats program actually has the squats in the middle of the workout, after some low-ish volume upper body work. In the 1930s, 20-rep squats were superset with pullovers but done after overhead presses and curls.

Also, I definitely suggest taking 2-3 breaths between each rep from the beginning instead of starting the deep breathing at rep 10. It allows a slightly heavier weight overall, a little better focus on form (since you’re “only” doing singles the whole time), and is how it was done back in the day.


#7

I would recommend doing it at the end. If you’re pushing yourself right, you’ll want to collapse on the ground for awhile after you do them. It’s enough trouble getting back home; I wouldn’t try to do anything else after. (Except breathing pullovers, while still laying on the ground.)


#8

why do this silly program at all?


#9

I agree, do them last.


#10

Try both, then you can come back and tell us we were right to do them last.


#11

Shelby Starnes posted a Push/Pull/Legs routine with a 20 rep squat set over at EliteFTS today.

Dr. Ken also had a lot to say about high rep squatting. Its worth a google.

Upper body pushes and pulls finishing with high rep squatting sounds ALOT like Dr. Ken. Except he would recommend a set of high rep stiff leg deadlifts after the squats.


#12

Breathing on every rep sounds hardcore, and worth a shot. Since it is my first time, I’ll try the usual prescription, but it is worth considering for a second cycle (after I switch to something else in between. Thanks.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]eatliftsleep wrote:
Try a bunch of ways, see what works[/quote]
Pretty much this. Plenty of guys have used both methods. Classic thinking is to do it first in the routine when you’ve got the most energy and can go 100% balls out on it, like you’d do with any exercise/bodypart you wanted to prioritize. Overall programming is still going to be key though. You wouldn’t want to do the squats and then knock out another 25 sets for two or three other bodyparts.

The flip side approach is to do it as the last move of the day so you don’t have to “hold back” anything during your session hoping to preserve energy to get through it. Doing the squats last also means you don’t have to “hold back” during the squats in anticipation of having another half hour of training afterwards.

Doggcrapp training has their “widowmaker” high-rep leg set as the last exercise of the day. The classic Super Squats program actually has the squats in the middle of the workout, after some low-ish volume upper body work. In the 1930s, 20-rep squats were superset with pullovers but done after overhead presses and curls.

Also, I definitely suggest taking 2-3 breaths between each rep from the beginning instead of starting the deep breathing at rep 10. It allows a slightly heavier weight overall, a little better focus on form (since you’re “only” doing singles the whole time), and is how it was done back in the day.[/quote]


#13

Depending on your source, breathing in between every rep IS the usual prescription. That’s the only way I ever knew to run the routine, as was written in the book “Super Squats”. Makes a huge difference in terms of how long you’re holding the weight on your back.


#14

Cool. I’m already loving the mid-way approach I am doing, so this will definitely give me something to look forward to the next time. I can see myself losing my mind by rep 15 or 18.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Depending on your source, breathing in between every rep IS the usual prescription. That’s the only way I ever knew to run the routine, as was written in the book “Super Squats”. Makes a huge difference in terms of how long you’re holding the weight on your back.[/quote]


#15

How do you pick your weight? Obviously more than your 10 rep max, but surely not your 1 rm, right?

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Depending on your source, breathing in between every rep IS the usual prescription. That’s the only way I ever knew to run the routine, as was written in the book “Super Squats”. Makes a huge difference in terms of how long you’re holding the weight on your back.[/quote]


#16

[quote]MarcF wrote:
How do you pick your weight? Obviously more than your 10 rep max, but surely not your 1 rm, right?

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Depending on your source, breathing in between every rep IS the usual prescription. That’s the only way I ever knew to run the routine, as was written in the book “Super Squats”. Makes a huge difference in terms of how long you’re holding the weight on your back.[/quote]
[/quote]

I’m curious why it would obviously be more than your 10rm. In the book, the author recommended the 10rm.

When I ran it, I just picked a weight for the first day and saw how it felt. It was light, so I upped it by 20 the next session and it felt about right.


#17

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]MarcF wrote:
How do you pick your weight? Obviously more than your 10 rep max, but surely not your 1 rm, right?

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Depending on your source, breathing in between every rep IS the usual prescription. That’s the only way I ever knew to run the routine, as was written in the book “Super Squats”. Makes a huge difference in terms of how long you’re holding the weight on your back.[/quote]
[/quote]

I’m curious why it would obviously be more than your 10rm. In the book, the author recommended the 10rm.

When I ran it, I just picked a weight for the first day and saw how it felt. It was light, so I upped it by 20 the next session and it felt about right.[/quote]

I was getting your response and Chris Collucci’s mixed up. You both suggested breathing between every rep, but Chris mentioned that this would allow for more weight being used. I may have also misunderstood the classic approach to doing this. I assumed that since a 10rm was the recommendation, we should start by doing 10 regular reps (until near failure), and then take deep breaths between reps 11 and 20.


#18

[quote]MarcF wrote:
I assumed that since a 10rm was the recommendation, we should start by doing 10 regular reps (until near failure), and then take deep breaths between reps 11 and 20. [/quote]
That’s how I did it the first time, just taking breaths only when necessary.

The second time I did it, I actually took a minimum of 3 deep breaths between each rep. This was noticeably harder, probably because the bar was on my back longer.

Both work. With the first, I found it was around rep 16 or 17 that it got really hard. With the second, the struggle happened more around rep 13 or 14.

As a way to learn to (or practice to) push yourself, the program works well.


#19

Start light, like too light. Build up over a couple of weeks.

Its the reps and the time under tension that make the workout special. The weight is kinda secondary. The lighter you start, the longer you’ll be able to make the routine go.


#20

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
Start light, like too light. Build up over a couple of weeks.

Its the reps and the time under tension that make the workout special. The weight is kinda secondary. The lighter you start, the longer you’ll be able to make the routine go.

[/quote]

I would only run the routine for 6 weeks per Super Squats’ recommendation personally, but I do know others that have run it for longer. I found having a finite stop time allowed me to vector my intensity and have a light at the end of the tunnel that kept me from hanging myself, haha. They suggest a 6 weeks on, 6 weeks off (focus on low reps and strength building) approach that I think could be viable.