T Nation

500lb Squat PR


How many of you base your workouts off percentages of your 1 rep maxes?
I just recently 2 weeks ago hit a 500 lb PR in the squat, just by pyramiding really and some heavy days here and there.

I'm wondering if I should start something like 5/3/1 or start working with singles.
any advise would be appreciated.



Did you get there by basically doing some type of bodybuilding scheme? If you did, that's pretty damn impressive. Congrats on the PR, too.



Thank you.

But no not necessarily a bodybuilding scheme. I'm going into my senior year of high school football and this summer is pretty important to me so most my workouts are geared towards football but with my own spin on things.

I squat twice a week - The first leg day I try to get in as much volume and work as I can. Depending on how I'm feeling I'll pyramid with something like 8/6/4/2 or 6-4-3-2-1 adding weight each set.... then I strip to 135 and rep out for 2:00+ (Each week I try to add time, and I stick with 135) By this time of the session my legs are fried... needless to say I only include a few more assistance lifts and I call it a day.

The next leg day I usually do some kind of a ramp. I'll work up to a 3-5 rep max. or I'll do something like this
3x6 @ 65% 75% 85% then depending on how I feel I do 2x3 @ 90% or strip to 50-55% for 3-5 sets of hard 10 reps. Again with a few more assistance exercises. Usually one hamstring movement, a calf movement, and some low back work then I peace out.

The only thing I try to do is add more weight to the bar every time. I try to beat w.e my last set was. Or I try to just increase the reps if I'm doing my first leg day and I'm doing a time trial. I log my weights and reps.

Anyways. Any advise on getting to say... 550+?
I'm also struggling with putting on weight in a hurry. My weight goal by Aug. 1 is 188.
I am currently standing at 5'9 177 - about to be 18.
Help with these things?


congrats first of all, its a big milestone, im around 530 right now and i use the 5/3/1, i love it, honestly ill probably never use a different program again


you know, that very strange, for any body weight 500 is pretty damn strong, but in the 170's that impressive but at the same time its strange that you havent put on more weight. dead lifts and squats are supposed to be the big mass gainers. if your not already definitely start taking a mass gainer protein, if your looking to gain more weight maybe emphasize dead lift a little more, that being said dont sacrifice squat to do this either


Thanks xfactor. I have all the 5/3/1 books. They're great reads.. and I've been procrastinating, more like hesitant about starting it. I'm just curious how many guys actually use percentages on their lifts. I'm currently reading a book called Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubrik. He's an old school strong as an ox guy, and firmly believes in 5x5 - 5/4/3/2/1 and working with singles.

He's all about hard work and core lifts. He refers back to how some of the strongest men in the iron game from the beginning of time - 1. didn't have the weights we do now, 2. used awkward objects and 3. never really involved math in their training. They just lifted heavy shit lol. It's intriguing and a great read. And that's what raised my questions.

I'm taking monster milk, but not really consistently. I dead lift only once a week for the reason it gets a bit strenuous on my low back and body with all the conditioning we do. Our coach runs us into the ground making it hard for me to consume more than I burn lol.
I would like to dead lift more but I don't know how to schedule it.

Here's the lifting split of every week.

Monday - Upper
Tuesday - Lower
Wednesday - Upper
Thursday - Lower


Is it at all possible to take a day off in between? Lifting four days in a row is extremely stupid. My football team had us do that this offseason and sometimes I couldn't recover in between workouts. If you took a day off in between I bet you could squeeze another DL day in there somewhere. Have you though about WS4SB?



WOW! Huge congratulations. The all time highest drug free, raw squat(I assume this is the category that applies to you) for the 165 class is 550 by Tony Conyers in 1997 at AAU, for the 181 class it's 601 by Matt Clickett in 2000 at ADAU. I'm not saying you should be a Powerlifter if you don't want to be one, just holy shit the sky is the limit for you at your age. Also, I have always used percentages in my training, even back when I did a bodybuilding interpretation of a Powerlifting workout, but hey I used to read muscle and fiction. :slight_smile:


squatting 500 at 17 is huge, and those leg workouts look brutal!

anyway, you gain weight by eating, it has nothing to do with what exercises you do. the training just tells your body where to put the weight. Assuming you've already got the basics (diet is consistent, high protein, etc) you just need to find a way to get more calories (ideas for that are all over this site)

also, if you did manage to gain 11 lbs in less than a month I think a lot of it would be fat, regardless of how hard you are training. if this isn't much of a concern to you then just blast away lol. I wouldn't want to set limits, but I think half of that would be a pretty big success.


thats exactly how we did our split too, i know what you mean though about deadlifting and conditioning, its a real bitch and a half. all those programs you mentioned, at least in my opinion, speak to just how simple weight lifting SHOULD be, doesnt have to be complicated, maybe shift your focus towards what you do outside the gym, nutrition sleep, etc. because it sounds like you got a solid one in place and your strength is very good for a HS senior


Thank you guys. I appreciate it. It didn't come easy I thought I was going to bust a vein in my head trying to get out of the hole with it lol.

@ Luke, I wish he would give us Wednesday off. I usually try and dead lift here at home on Saturday. I have a pretty nice set up. Will upload some pictures soon. WS4SB isn't all much different than what I do... I'm not too familiar with it so I will look into it more if you seriously suggest it.

@ S. Fisher, thank you for the encouragement. Power lifting is an option - but i need to get my bench and dead lift up a bit more first. Do those guys like kroc and tate make good money in that kind of business? I was thinking about going ahead and getting certified to be a personal trainer, take some good nutritional and anatomy classes my last year of high school and look for a degree in exercise science possibly? Idk, just a thought. I'm really trying to make football happen for me - it's my plan A.
As far as the percentages - do you guys usually cycle them like 5/3/1 does or are you working up to a top poundage daily?

@ Thogue, My leg days are indeed hell days... I'm all for fattening up. what are some good calorie ideas that can spark some weight gain? I'm eating pastas, whole wheat breads, grains, potatoes,peanut butter, ice cream, whole milk ect. As far as protein I eat a lot of fish and red meat with vegetables. The problem is we condition so much I sweat everything off in this Florida heat. Its rough man lol. Any ways I'm just trying to reach my goals - surpass them and lift heavy shit.

Thank you all for the responses I look forward to anything more you guys have to say. I check this two - three times a day.


Thanks xfactor. And good thing you bring the outside factors up.
I've been sleeping like shit lately. And my appetite has been a little low. I try to take a some NyQuil or benydril how ever you spell it every now and then but i find it leaves me drowsy the next morning when I want to lift. I'm getting ready to head off to 7 on 7 practice I'll get back on here tonight to share a post about some other general habits. How I eat, training background ect. and some other info. Any comments will be appreciated!

  • Chase


Full calorie gatorade while working out or some sort of peri-workout nutrition. As far as what's portable and can eat on the go my goto list includes protein bars, bananas, nuts, and jerky.

You can add a tbsp of heavy whipping cream to every glass of milk and protein shake you have. If it comes down to it, you can do olive oil shots. Add cheese to everything you can add cheese to without gagging. Choose beef and pork over chicken. Chinese buffet is really nice after extra hard workouts.

Just be sure to have you blood pressure and lipid profile regularly checked, especially if heart disease is in your family. If you don't have any tats or other deal-breakers, you can give blood to find out what your blood lipids are. Just ask them about it.


most importantly though chase, cherish it while you got it man, theres not a day that goes by that i dont miss HS ball for real


Fletch... You have some good ideas. Jerky though? Never would have thought o fit. I got away from protein bars for some reason. I figured most of them are full of shit because they look like it's nothing but pure chocolate or what ever lol. I eat a lot of almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts , bananas and other fruits and vegetables. I use heavy whipping cream in a cup of coffee in the morning, never thought of putting it in milk and protein drinks though. Good idea!

as for the olive oil shots... I'm curious as to why you suggest that lol. We cook with it a lot but I didn't know it could be used for weight gain?

i do need to get some good blood work and things like that done though just to see where I'm at. Haven't had a physical in a while. One thing I'm concerned about is my back looking like a train wreck by the time I'm in my late 20's from all the heavy lifting at a young age. I mean do those guys ( especially that kid that Broz trains ) ever get a bit concerned in their careers for joint health and such later on in life?
It's not something I dwell on, just in the back of my mind.

xfactor. I try to make the most out of every day. I look at it as an opportunity to get better. I'll be sad when high school ball ends but hopefully I'll be playing college ball as well.


I know where you're coming from with your bench and deadlift, but if you feel interested in powerlifting my advice is just try it, you should know right away/afterwards if you'll want to keep doing it. I don't know how high your other two lifts are but with a 500 squat I would imagine your bench and deadlift can't be to bad either.

As for making money from powerlifting, I think the top guys like Kroc and Tate do make good money, but that's probably because they also have a business/entrepeneur side. I would advise against competing in powerlifting just for money, from what I've gathered the top, highest level, elite guys only make $10,000-$15,000 a year after taxes from competition money, many of them own their own gyms as well so they can add to their income that way too. Sponsorships may bring some more money, but I'm not to sure. I hate to say anything that would persuade someone away from powerlifting, but I imagine football would benefit you more if you want to make money from your athletic ability, you probably know that already.

I think becoming a certified trainer would be a very good idea, it's something I've also gave considerable thought & interest to myself.

I currently use 5/3/1 and I highly recommend it, but I used to pyramid up to a new pr every workout, which worked for me in high school when I first started lifting, but after the beginner gains I simply plateued.


Be sure to foam roll and do other soft tissue work. Also stretch regularly. Mobilitywod has some good stuff on it. Also, Eric Cressey has some good stuff on foam rolling (google Eric Cressey foam rolling). Fish oil and glucosamine help too. And of course good form.


Throw up a video for us. That shit's got to be inspirational. 500 at 177 is big time.


Bench 305, 315 on a good day. - Deadlift don't know, never really maxed out but the most I've pulled was like 435 I think before spring ball a few months ago. I can see power lifting being a hobby. Maybe at the amateur level. But like you said Fisher I'd like open a nice underground kind of commercial warehouse gym for serious lifters and athletes. & yes I understand I probably have a better chance getting some where as an athlete with football, but the thought of training and competing for a career in the gym sounds wonderful sometimes lol. Also guys... I"m having some troubles since I made that that PR about a week and a half ago.

For the past week I've been having pelvic area pain on my right side and it's got me pretty concerned. This morning I could barely swing my legs out of bed or use my upper half to sit up. Any time I move my right leg in any such direction, or my abdomen flex's in any kind of movement ; it pulls on that right pelvic area just above the package. It's gotten increasingly worse. It started aching last night towards the end of a 7 on 7 practice, now this morning I'm like immobilized. Called the rents and they have got me to a Dr. at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow but until then I need to know what I can do. It's a sharp, annoying and throbbing pain. I've tried various rubs - icy hot, bio freeze ect. The shit won't go away! My father is just in the process of recovering from a hernia in practically the same area... I'm paranoid that this is the same issue. I'm hoping it's just a pulled muscle and nothing like prostatitis or how ever you spell it. No painful urination or anything... just very painful to move my legs and flex my abs. Have any of you dealt with any of this at my age or after squatting?
What can I do? I've tried like every stretch known to man :frowning: It's 10:00 a.m. here, I don't know what time zone you guys are in but any post and comments will get answered. I've got nothing better to do today but take it easy and check these forums.

Again, thanks for the responses guys.

  • Chase


Joe, I would gladly post a video of it. I would of coarse have to do the lift again, I'd probably go for 510 515 to get on video but I'm not attempting any more PR's until I figure out what's going on with me downstairs. I can assure you though that I'm a raw lifter. Wore nothing but a belt. If it bought a squat suit and shit in a football weight room, my team would be like wtf? lol