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20 Rep Squats By PC - Adjusted

I had a look at the 20 Reps squat programme by PC. Link below. And I really liked the look of it. However I wanted to make a few changes. To retain some things that are working for me at the moment. And make arrangement as I don;t have access to all the required equipment.
If anyone can cast a critical eye over it - it would be appreciated.

Programme is ABA, BAB.

Work out A:
Press 5/3/1 loading scheme - with 2-3 follow up sets of BTN press. Low weight, high reps. Looking at 15-20 reps a set.
Squat - 20 reps
One Arm row (I lack the equipment for chest supported) - 1 all out set “kroc row” set.
Curl - 2 sets of 12

Work out B:
Incline press - 350 method
Front squat - 5/3/1 loading scheme, with a 20 rep Widow Maker set done with my 20 rep max -10%.
Chin ups - 50 of
Press ups (as I don’t have dip station) 100 of.

I was going to run this straight through for 6 weeks and see where I’m at.
The aim - is just “bigger, stronger, leaner”. I’m eating enough to gain some weight. But I am a bit on the “fluffy” side and I’m hoping that as long as eat like an adult, I can exchange some of that fat for muscle.

Any comments greatly appreciated.

Edit - forgot to add the link:

A set of 20 breathing front squats is absolutely going to result in you passing out and cracking your skull on something.

Think about where the bar rests on a front squat. Then remember that 20 rep squats use BREATHING squats, where you take in at least 3 of the deepest breaths you can take between squats. That’s not gonna happen with a front squat.

Stick with normal squats. I would also keep the 20 rep set of light weight pull overs Paul took out. I found them very “tonic” to recover from the squats.


Yeah - typo meant to say widow maker back squat. God 20 rep front squat would be suicide.

Yeah I almost passed out once during 7 sec isometrics front squat I wouldn’t try it either

Sorry to double reply - but I was busy earlier.
I’m glad you responded. I done a bit of research and saw you reply to another thread about super squats. And to be fair I’ve got a couple of questions if I could?

Firstly - the pull overs. The few sources I trust on this all say these are great to do after the squats. I trust this assessment - but it seems odd that an upper body movement should be so “tonic” after a lower body assault. I’ll do it. But any idea why it works so well? Or is it just “one of those things”?

Secondly - I’m struggling to know what weight to start with. When I read the super squats literature online - some of the advice is start with your 15 rep max and add from there. Some say start at your 10-12 rep max and suffer.

All small fry stuff that I’m sure will have no real effect on the programme. Just trying to understand as well as carry out.


I just want to clarify now that the thread has been moved that my original intention wasn’t to critique Paul’s programming in Paul’s forum. I was only commenting on this when it was under Bigger/Stronger/Leaner. It always drives me nuts when the topics get moved, because I make it a policy not to answer questions for coaches in the coaching forum.

That having been said, the big thing about the pull overs is that they’re done immediately after the squats (as in, hit your 20th rep, stumble to the bench and do your pull overs). You go from a soul crushing 20 reps on squats to a light and smooth pull overs. It’s a chance to recover compared to just laying on the floor and dying.

It’s not even really an upper body exercise, as the goal is to stretch the ribbox vs. work the chest. Most folks say the science on that is bunk, but Paul Kelso had an interesting bit on it in his Shrug Book.

The standard advice for starting weight is to take your 10rm and squat it for 20. That said, when I ran it, I started lighter for the first 2 workouts just to figure out what the hell I had gotten into and made larger weight jumps until I had settled into the right groove. From there, I stuck with the recommended 5lbs per workout.

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Thanks for the help.

Kinda looking forward to doing this in a perverse sort of way.

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I like the opening squat workouts in this program, should put you on the right direction:

You know there’s a fully fleshed out program available on ebook for that? You may enjoy it if you like the “lite” version.

2 weeks, 6 work outs, 1/3 of the way in and I thought I’d update:

The programme was (as said based on PC’s original with adjustments):
Press 5/3/1
Squat 20 reps
One arm row working to 1 working set 10-15 reps
Curls 2x10-15

Incline bench 350 method
Front squat 5/3/1
With 20 rep back squat drop set
Fat man pull ups
Press ups

Mixed emotions about this.
The programme is working GREAT. I can see more mass on my upper body, my chest is popping out and my shoulder are looking bigger.
My belly is shrinking and I’m fitting in trousers that have been tight for a little while.

Its taxing. Work outs are no longer “fun”. They are hellish. And I’m only at the start of week 3.
20 reps squats is a skill. Knowing when you’ve rested enough to fully make a rep is not easy. I’ve had to put it down early twice as I’ve gone maybe 10-15 seconds to early for a rep.

Mega con:
There is a part of me that is seeing why I’ve not been getting the sort of results I have wanted for so long. I’ve been working hard and making progress. But this programme is a sure fire way to see how short you’ve been selling yourself.

Mega pro:
now I know how hard I can go - I can up my game.

Wish me luck for the next 4 weeks.


Looks like you’re on your way man. I ran that program before a couple years ago for 6 weeks and it was brutal.

Thank you.
Yeah this is something else. I’m trying to carry on my training during lock down with the home equipment I have so high rep squats seemed to the way forward.

The aim / goal is to power through 20 reps with 150kg on my back. That’s everything I have at this stage. If I do that I’m allowing myself a week off.

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That’s a good goal. I was able to hit some decent numbers (for me) towards the end. I think the most important part is to not start the first week to heavy and get the feel of those high rep squat sets.

Good work man.

2/3rds of the way through. And my last interim report.

I have missed 2 sets of widow makers. I’ve accepted on call work shifts. Once I was called as I was finishing my front squats. Tonight - after being robbed of 2h over night sleep and being awake for 19h I didn’t fancy them. I still did my front squats.

My thoughts about this programme are largely the same. Although I removed the 531 press. I’m still doing lots of over head work. And the 531 element was proving too hard to recover from.

I’ve run out of space on the bar so I can’t go past 140kg. So 20 rep squats is now 20+ reps. I will add a rep on every time now rather than weight.

However I would recommend this programme (original, PC’s take or my own spin). Its hard but do-able. And I’m still seeing results.

Last thought before I leave. 20 rep breathing squats are a skill. If you try and snatch at them - you will collapse at the top let a lone in the hole. This takes a skill and patience I did not have. I have had to learn it.

So my summary of a 20 rep squat programme.

Firstly let me start with an admission. I screwed this up. I thought I had more room on the bar than I do so I was aiming for 150kg 20 reps. The fact that I could not attempt this is frustrating.

Let me start with the results.


FS - 110kg for 7 reps (est 1RM 135kg)

Incline bench - 50kg 20 reps

Back squat - 136kg 20 reps

One arm row 50kg 12 reps


FS - 124kg for 6 reps (est 1RM 148kg)

Incline Bench - 66kg for 24 reps

Back Squat - 140kg max 22 reps

One arm row - 60kg max 10 reps (last attempt was 62kg x 5).

Also - noticeable size gains around the shoulders, back, bicep area and upper traps. Even un flexed at 30% BF I have noticeable shoulder muscles. Which is cool.

I’m heavier by about 3kg. Some of this is fat and I have had to expand my belt by 1 notch.

Overall very happy. In 6 weeks I’ve added ½ inch to my arms and 13kg to my front squat, my incline bench has exploded as has my one arm row. I’m pumped.

My mistakes - recovery. When I started this @T3hPwnisher told me this was a lesson in recovery. I took this on board and “thought” I had it worked out. I did not. This is a lesson in under planning as much as anything else. I did not plan this enough. If I could go back I’d do this differently.

Having a strength element in there as well as higher rep stuff was a mistake. I should not have had the 531 OHP in there at the start and dropped this. Again recovery for these different types of training is different. Strength stuff takes MUCH more out of you. And if I were to do this again (and I might) I would not do the front squats. I would run the programme as written.

I might also do 18 workouts over 7 ½ weeks doing one workout every 3 days.

There is also the metal side of this.

20 rep squats feel like you’re going to drop the weight after 15 reps. And with no safety bars I kept pussying out. I’m a bit embarrassed about that. I hit 20 reps on the last day and then within 2min done another 6 reps. If I was able to stand I should have done more reps. But I was shitting myself.


  • There are NO positive physical attributes that are not helped by high rep squats. I am 100% convinced of this. Never will I go a training cycle without high rep squats.
  • I need to work harder. I have seen better results due to harder work.
  • I need to start paying much more attention to my recovery. This is my downfall. I eat enough protein. But the rest is a mess. This has started and I’m on track. I’m reading more on this and I’m measuring my meals ETC now. So lets hope I carry this on.
  • Lastly - the deload. I have never “needed” a deload like this before. My hip hurts. My sleep is out of joint. I’m ALWAYs tired, I’ve missed training targets by 25% (I got to 16 reps not 23). I’m a mess physically. Again I was told this was a lesson in recovery and “thought” I understood this. I did not. Live and learn.

Please see video of my 124kg front squat. Excuse my sons video work (he’s 5) and my grunting (I’m working hard).


Phenomenal work man, as always. And love the attitude.

But not the front squats, because front squats objectively suck.

Everything improved. That is amazing! Even more so while doing it in a fricking bedroom!

Thank you gents. As I say happy. However as the days pass I’m becoming more and more annoyed with missing the opportunity to do more.

However this annoyance feels difficult. I fucking struggled with this. I genuinely did. And but for a tiny bit more effort I could have had much more.

I’m working hard to fix my issues and I’m hoping to reload and jump into deepwater in a weeks time. And I should be looking to drop a few KG through out that 6 week period

Awesome job man! Completion of a program with good results is its own reward. Good luck in your future training