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20 Rep Squats Advice

I’m about to start a program that involves 20 rep squats.

I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice on how to go about these?

Take a breath between each rep?

Is it OK to use a box to help with depth judgement? Any particular cues I should use?

Thanks in advance, and wish me luck.


you will definitely be taking more than a breath with 20 reppers. Espeacially as you get to the last 4-6 reps.

You can tailor 20 reppers to however you see fit. Most use them as they are, no box.

You can do them with 1-4 second pauses at the bottom, you can do tempo 20 reppers as Well.

Some have done 20 reppers for “out of the hole” work, some use them for “descent” work.

It’s really up to you how you wish to go about it. Most of the cues should be focused on your form, however things can get iffy when you’re being too specific, because your form more than likely will get shifty regardless to whatever extent, be it slight or a bit more. Which is another reason why you shouldn’t have a very heavy percentage of weight across your back when doing 20 reppers. Challenging? By all means yes. Enough to keep general form still in tact.

Just keep in mind cues that suit your particular squat setup, and if you can manage, to re-adjust yourself as best as you can if needed, and keep yourself tight as much as you can.

Most of your focus should be centered around driving out of the hole, and making sure the glutes, hams, calves, and quads are all doing their part, as well as bracing, keeping a neutral and tight back and neck, and watching your weight distribution in your feet, since it’s easy to overload an area for sake of trying to take the tension off of another, espeacially as you become more and more fatigued.

Hope this helps in some way.


Are you doing 20 rep squats or are you squatting for 20 reps? The former requries a minimun of 3 deep breaths per rep as a sort’ve rest pause approach.


20 Rep squats I beleive

3 deep breaths minimum between reps. Deep as you can. Make your lungs hurt.

Count down rather than up, and go by 5s (5-4-3-2-1, 5-4-3-2-1, etc)

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I would say you need to come to terms with the fact that there’s an idiot inside of you that led you to choose this program. Then you need to let that idiot out to make you do whatever it takes to complete it. That’s it.

That’s what I did. And increase calories.


Start with light weight 40-50% of max. Progress the weight up from there. Keep the form of each and every rep top priority. Walk it out like it is a max effort lift. Set your feet. Big breath, brace, down slow, and explode up. Top release the breath, keep tight, new breath, repeat.

Bracing becomes an issue late in the set, make sure you focus on bracing through out each rep.

Feel the legs working. Are they driving in? Out? What is ingaged? Activily be aware of the muscles used during each rep, is each rep the same? What feels good? What needs to change? Where is the weight in relation to mid foot? What is trying to break down related to form…

You will learn a lot about your squat technique and weakness in high rep squats.

When the weights get advanced you will begin to want to stop around rep 15 or so.

Some days you will feel like you found the perfect groove…

Brace, brace, brace. Some times you will feel like you are having out of body experiences…

Enjoy it high rep squats are awesome. I love them. Mostly when I’m done.


A lot of good practical advice in here. I’m with all of the posts above. It certainly exposed a weakness of mine, which was being posterior chain dominant in the squat and having virtually no quad strength longevity. I’d basically good morning the squat around the 15th rep. Not fun, spinal erectors were in outer space.

From a mental approach, these are probably impossible to cope with. Don’t care how tough you are, what ritual you do prior, or what line you repeat in your head beforehand - these suck…especially when you do it with a TRUE 20 rep max (wouldn’t recommend trying a true 20RM till you’re at least a month into it). Anyway, good luck, gonna be fun. The results are always clear to see when you’re done.


Video or it never happened dude. That would be awful.


Over warm-ups helped me make the 20rep set feel lighter.


The hell?
Are you asking me to show a video?
Idk where you saw anything relating to me saying I’ve personally done 1-4 pause 20 rep squats.

Someone, somewhere? Probably. You’re more than welcome to search for yourself.

EDIT: I’m not a “dude” either.

Definitely make sure you’re focused on your breathing from the time you unrack the bar onwards. For a 20 rep squat set, you could probably do the first 6-8 reps with minimal breathing because the weight will be pretty light. DO NOT FORGET TO BREATHE. Listen to Pwnisher.

If you bang out the first half of your set in 12 seconds, you’ll be absolutely gassed and the second half of that set will take another 40 seconds. Set a reasonable pace and try to keep it for the entire set. A 20 rep set of squats is a lifter’s equivalent to a marathon, and keeping a consistent pace will make it a tad easier. I think. The most squats I’ve done in a single set was 17. The first 8-9 reps took about 25 seconds. The entire video was 1:16… so…I’ll just say that I wished I’d started a little slower and finished at that same pace. Good luck to you, sir

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If you don’t hold your breath for the whole set it’s cheating, no excuses.


I am 99% positive you did these more seriously than I ever did (because I was like 20 at the time, and you are generally a mad man in the gym), which might require a different breathing patter, but I remember doing something like:

6 reps, few deep breaths, 4 reps, few deep breathes, 2 reps, breathes, 1 rep, etc…

I never tried the breath-every-rep approach, seems like a novel way to keep the fatigue in check… But then that bar is on your back for a long time.

Between reps 17-20 it was basically a constant self conversation to not quit and rack the weight and to man up and just finish the damn set. I am trying to remember back 10-12 years here, but I would say those reps could easily be 5-10 breaths while talking myself into doing the next rep.

I dont offer this as a “do it this way instead”, but just another example of how someone did it.

Reminds me of this video, which I think is probably one of the craziest I’ve ever seen honestly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvgabJF8aXU

I seriously dont even know if I could hold the bar on my back that long

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My advice is learn to enjoy hating your life lol

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Thanks friends for all of your advice.

I had a trial run this morning. Only with 60 kg and I only squat to just below parallel due to previous lower back issues.

It was tough, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Im hoping to work up to 90-100kg, at which point I expect the enjoyment turns into hate.


Is that your 10RM?

I seem to remember you were supposed to use that as your weight, again this is from a 12+ year old memory. That what made the program so damn hard when I did it.

Nope. My 10 rep max is probably about 80kg atm.

Im never been a good squatter, hence this is why Im doing this program.



Cool. You will be there very soon. The program I did back in the day was MWF and you added 5lbs every workout. It gets heavy quick

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I’ve done 20 rep squats and deadlifts off and on. Reps 1-10 feel good, 11-15 getting tougher, 16-20 you’re dying and will be breathing like a drowning man trying to get air. I don’t have a time limit between reps but if I’m resting it’s under the bar for squats and holding it for deads. Never sacrifice form for an additional rep. When doing a cycle my mind gives out long before my body and I can do them once a week for about 3 months at a time. A feeling of constant dread comes over me a couple days before 20 rep day but they’re worth the effort.