I would go ahead and ignore the guys urging you to sack up and squat more. It’s a great approach if you can take it, but it isn’t the only way. I’ve taken both approaches and both can work…when I was heavier I found once a week squatting very effective. For a number of reasons, heavier lifters tend to take longer to recover than lighter lifters, and tend to fare better on lower frequency. To make it work, I’d consider:
-An intense focus on perfect squat technique. Of course this is always important, but if you’re only squatting once weekly, you’re not grooving the motor pattern, so you really have to focus on getting it right.
-Accelerate every rep. You should be fresher when you squat, so take advantage of the opportunity to be explosive on every single rep. It’s not always possible if you’re squatting with significant volume 3 or more times weekly, but at once a week, there’s no reason you can’t drive every rep up explosively.
-Consider using pause squats. Three to five seconds in the hole, staying very tight. There’s more room for assistance work with a once weekly setup, and in my opinion, pauses are the best ‘assistance’ you can do. I’d add 2-3 sets of pause work after your main squat work, and you can do this every week.
-Get after your deadlift, and train your lower back very hard on deadlift day. Because you’re only squatting once a week, you don’t need to worry so much about preserving yourself for your squats, so you can pull with a vengeance every week, and also go crazy with good mornings/russian deadlifts, rdls, pull thrus/swings, or whatever else you like to strengthen your lower back. Obviously, a strong lower back helps a lot with your squats too, but I have found that variety is much more important for building the deadlift than it is for building the squat. When you’re sqatting frequently, it’s tough to get a ton of varied back work in, or to really push your deadlift training. Squatting once weekly enables you to do this, so take advantage of the opportunity.
-Same goes for bench, you can devote at least two days to bench work, and do a lot of whatever you find helps your bench, so take advantage of the opportunity.
i’m gonna take advantage of this opportunity, haven’t had any debate in a while. his numbers aren’t bad(if competition legit) but i still don’t think they are high enough to only squat once a week. his numbers are pretty much what mine were competing at 165. i squatted once a week, deadlifted once a week, and did all my acc work. i just wasn’t strong enough to make it work for me. now in the 198 class i have the highest official raw squat in the nation and it only took me 3 years. i squatted twice a week, hard, benched twice a week, and deadlifted every other week. it sucked, and i felt horrible all the time, but i think it was worth it. i just don’t think he’s strong enough to push himself hard enough to make squatting once a week work for him. plus like you said he may need to work on form, and only doing that once a week is hard to find your groove.
as far as training the low back, with some exercises this can be dangerous if you intentionally/directly work your low back. and i think working the upper back is even more important being that is the first part of your back that breaks during a squat or deadlift. i think exercises like front squatting work the low back and upper back in a safer way, and i highly recomend using a safety bar if one is a available. i did a couple sets of 225x20 front squats and had so much low back pump it was horrible.
i agree with trying to make every rep fast, that’s something people should do more often, every rep, even warmup reps should be taken seriously. but i don’t really agree with the pause squats, we did these in weightlifting for track but i’ve found much more benefit in various types of box squatting. i don’t really like the idea of having someone pause squat because that’s based on them staying tight like you said, people in general have a hard time with this. if you were personally there and could supervise it may be better but it’s one of those things that people will more than likely completely mess up and cause more harm than good.
again it’s one of those things that what works for some, may not work for others, but everyone we’ve trained has had great success with squatting multiple times a week.