T Nation

20-rep squat-based routines

With all the talk about simplified routines recently, I’ve been searching back into old T-Mag, and other BB website articles, for some takes on the 20-rep breathing squat routines. I have a friend who is wanting my help to gain some LBM quickly for the summer, whilst getting more ripped (I know, this isn’t exactly a novel situation here!).


I’m starting him on the T-Dawg diet, but am still uncertain as to the workout program I’m gonna put him on. I’ve considered GVT (2K), 5x5, OVT, and a 20-rep squat routine a la Strossen.


As he (he admitted this) neglects lower body training generally, I thought a super-squat type routine would be good to try- it would really give him a kick up the a**, and would also I think bring pleasing results wrt definition and LBM fairly quickly.


What I’d like feedback on, is any routines you guys have used based on this technique. I’m not looking for the original super-squat book reprinted. I KNOW he’ll get bored and drop out without at least SOME increased exercise variation.

What I would like to see is some sample routines of how you guys have incorporated the 20 rep squat into a full body workout. e.g. 20 rep squats, then say 1 -2 sets of pullovers, chins, Bpr, shoulders and arms work.

I was probably going to go with a full body 3x per week set up, but am open to suggestions. Also your successes on this type of program over say a 4-week cycle would be interesting reading.


Thanks guys. SRS

With full body workouts its better to go for twice a week or once every 4 days.

Best thing is to pretty much do as you wrote. Stick to basic compound movements nothing to girly. You could also alternate between deadlifts and squats at each workout to keep things from going stale. Maybe 2 different workouts each week.

Workout 1
1.Squats
2.Military Press
3.Barbell row
4.Incline dumbell Bench press
5.Shrugs
Any arm,ab and calf exercises you want.

Workout 2
1.Deadlifts
2.Seated Press
3.Chin ups
4.Bench Press
4.Upright rows
Any arm, ab and calf exercises you want

Follow the system that you described. Aim for 20 reps with the squats and deadlifts and 10 reps with the other stuff. If you are pushing him really hard a good idea is to do 10 reps for your first set of a given exercise at close to failure, wait 10 seconds and then try to get half the reps with the same weight. If the first set was a killer then the second set should be pretty nasty.

Ah, the good ol’ 20-rep squat! Here’s a program I did about four years ago that I modified from an Ironman article.

Monday:
20 rep squat/pullover w. 5 min. rest
Calf raise: 1x15-20
Rev. hyper: 1x15-20
Bench: 1x8-10
Inc. flye: 1x8-10
Barbell row: 1x8-10
Chins: 1x8-10
Military: 1x8-10
Dips: 1x8-10
Barbell curl: 1x8-10
Swiss ball crunch: 1xfailure

Wednesday: same except did deads for top set of 5 instead of squat/pullover, and substituted leg curl for rev. hypers, db rows for bb row, shrug for military press, lying ext. for dips, and hammer curl for bb curl

Friday: same as Monday

The original program only was 2x/week on Monday/Thursday, which was the same as my Mon/Fri workouts except had SLDL instead of rev. hypers.

Everyone should do 20-rep squats at least ONCE in their training life…there’s nothing like em!

If you do have your trainee do the 20’s on squats/deads, I’d monitor form very closely. I remember an old Charles Staley q&a where he wasn’t too high on the 20’s as he thought most people’s form deteriorated toward the end, leaving them susceptible to injury. I’m sure I probably don’t have to tell you that though being a forum vet.

I was doing 20 rep squats while following something similar to Ian King’s bulking article from last year. It was actually during a 3.5 week Mag cycle (gained 24; 18 lean; kept 14). Lots of weight, lots of reps, lots of rest. I did a few sets of 6-8 reps, 2 sets of 20., and finish off with a few sets of lunges for 20 reps. Actually, I thought 20 rep deadlifts were harder. Those things had my legs totally pumped, I’d never felt that from a deadlift before. It was basically just a quad/hip dominant type split. During the upperbody days, I did an EDT type thing. This was the most successful bulking phase I’d ever done.

Thanks for your input so far.


To Teddy- Looks like a nice routine there dude. Nothing too taxing after the squats- that’s what I’m after I think. In regards to form, you’re right, I AM worried about that. He’s not used to squatting, and certainly not deep and without a belt (my preferred style). I’ll be checking out his form closely in the first stages if we embarked on this routine.


I also think considering the above, that Spiderman’s idea about a 2d/week workout might work best. He’d be keener to get back to the gym, and adequate rest would be assured. I think it’s gonna be tough for him to swallow at first, considering he usually hits the gym 4-5x/wk.


However, to say his workouts are fairly “girly” currently would be a fair comment. (No offense to the T-vixens out there- you are NOT implicated here!)He should be less enthusiastic about multiple day workouts once he gets into it don’t ya think? Either that, or if he wants we could put an easy “ancillary” workout midweek- say shoulders and arms, abs. This would reduce workout length on the other days.

To Rhino- what was your weekly split? - Lower-rest-upper-rest-lower-rest,rest, upper etc… or something different?

Other suggestions welcome. SRS

I dont think i could do one set of HARD 20rep (as guessed from a 1RM) squats on T-dawg diet. i would probably colaspe on the ground at about the 15th rep, but im a pussy so maybe that dont mean shit. :frowning:

Yeah, if he’s new to the game I would probably go with the 2x/week. The main reason I went three is I wanted to include deadlifts somewhere in there, and I knew there was no way in hell I could give them justice after a legit set of 20’s on the squat/pullover.

Here ya go big man, this is right from my logbook. My strength skyrocketed on this cycle. Before I started, I could DL 315 for one rep, my second week on the mag… I got it 10 times like butter. I know it’s not too impressive compared to some of you cats, but I was ecstatic. Good luck with everything, let me know if you have more questions.

Day 1. Quad Dominant:
Squat - 1x10,2x6-8
20-rep Squat/Pullover - 2x20
Alt. BB Lunge - 2x20 (10 each leg)
Single-leg squat (pistol)- 2xAMRAP

Day 2. Horizontal Pressing/Elbow Flexion EDT
A1) Bench Press
A2) Preacher EZBar curls

B) 3-2-1 Shoulder routine

Day 3. Hip Dominant

Deadlift - 1x10,2x6-8
Snatch Grip DL - 2x8
20 Rep Deadlift - 2x20
GHR - (if I felt up to it, which wasn’t often… those deads rocked my world)

Day 4. Vertical/Horizontal Pulling/Elbow Extension EDT
A1) Supinated chins
A2) Weighted Pushups

B1) Barbell Row
B2) Skullcrusher

I would suggest to train twice a week alternating these workouts:

Workout A Workout B
Squat 20 reps Squat 20 reps
pullover pullover
Bench press Bench press
Deadlift Romanian deadlift
Standing calf raise Seated calf raise
Military press Military press
Dumbbell row Chins
Crunches Crunches

For all the exercises (except the Squats) use 2 sets of 8-12 reps. After 12 weeks change to a 5X5 or an EDT training.
Good Luck !!!
Luca