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Cube Method - Squat Twice per Week?

Looking for some programming advice.

I am putting more effort into getting my strength back after a few years of letting it slowly slip while my main focus shifted to surfing and mountain biking. Slowly dropped from 205 to about 170 at 5’9 over about 4 years.

I just finished a wave of the Cube method which was good but I am considering slightly tweaking it so I squat twice per week and also add a fourth day of strongman/medley/ conditioning day on Saturday. I have enough experience to know my squat doesn’t move unless I hit it twice per week.
I would like to stick with this programming for at least a year and get my weight up to around 195-200.

Weaknesses: paused squats and anything overhead

Goals: Increase squat and develop more core/back strength. Increase bodyweight (not concerned with putting on too much fat right now). Overhead press.
I have numbers associated with these for year 1, two and three.

Excuses: 2.5 year old and new born at home. I get up at 4:30am to lift. Surfing and biking get thrown in there randomly yet seem to be the hardest to recover from (all I try to do is compensate for food intake). Loosely tracking baseline calories.

Current Setup
Block Pulls (just below knee)
2” deficit deads
Lat pulldown
Face Pulls

Close Grip
Pause 1” off chest
Upright Row
Tricep Pushdown

Front Squat
Pause Squat
Leg Curl
Back Raises
Weighted Pull-Ups

Move front squat to deadlift day? Incorporate trap bar deads instead?
Remove bench all together and replace it with overhead press or have bench be the accessory movement to the overhead press?

Any input is greatly appreciated.



Are you going to compete in powerlifting or strongman?

Neither as of now. I just need to get a hell of a lot stronger. Strongman appeals to me more but not really a following here in Hawaii.

What are your current maxes? If you are all into OHP then 5/3/1 is for you, and there are also options to squat twice a week.

If you are already doing plenty of biking and surfing and find that hard to recover from then it wouldn’t make much sense to add more conditioning. It sounds to me like you need to get your priorities straight, surfing is going to interfere with lifting weights and vice versa. If you are more into surfing than anything else then getting carried away with lifting weights is now going to help, although that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t lift at all and I’m sure that more strength would benefit you. And if you are serious about getting stronger and competing in PL or strongman then you need to ease up on the surfing and biking, maybe save that for Saturday (assuming you don’t train on weekends) and don’t overdo it.

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I agree with you but the surfing inst going anywhere. It is a priority and if it becomes minimal then I might as well move back to the mainland. Some weeks it will be a few hours while others will be 6–8 hours per week after work. The biking can definitely take a back seat. So lets just take both of those activities out of the conversation totally.
My thinking in adding a strongman type day was to add another strength day that was fun and not so strict in the programming or completely taxing. I enjoy lifting heavy and part of the reason I lost so much size/strenght is getting away from that and not having a long term plan while doing more cardio based training.

Squat: 335
Bench: 275
Dead: 435
OHP: 165

Cube for Strongman 3 has a template with 2 squats per week

EDIT: Now I’m doubting this… I’ll double check later.

You can’t really take those out of the conversation, that would be pretty stupid. Consistency and recovery are two major factors, and you are going to be consistently inconsistent and recovery is going to suffer. So if you just surf whenever rather than on some sort of schedule, the most logical solution would is to be flexible with your training as well. If nothing else is on a strict schedule then why should training be, right?

Also, the cube is a peaking program and you aren’t peaking for anything. I’m not a big 5/3/1 fan and I don’t think that it is a great program for powerlifting, although it can work and is easy to follow. However, you need more of a “general strength” program and in that regard it is just about perfect. What I would suggest, with your inconsistent schedule, is doing full body workouts (like squat/bench/upper body assistance, press/deadlift/lower body) and training when your schedule and recovery allow. If you are tired from surfing yesterday then stay home. If you aren’t surfing at all this week then train 3-4 days a week, otherwise twice should be fine. Training twice a week is suboptimal for most people, but there are people like Stan Efferding who set world records training twice a week. If you aren’t recovering then you are wasting your time.

Since you are still at a novice level, I would recommend doing 5’s progression on the main lifts so that you avoid form breakdown. You could do a rep max down set after, if you feel incline to do so. Just don’t let form go to shit.

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This sounds like a bad idea. If strength and size are the goal then you want to do minimal conditioning, if at all. Surfing is obviously going to involve a lot of swimming, doing more on top of that is not going to get you far. You have to work within your capacity to recover.

Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate the advice. You are correct on all of your points.

I know it is not optimal but I have successfully hit (410, 325, and 535) while surfing several days a week and running/hiking/biking. I enjoy my lifestyle and want to get back to those number and unf*ck my squat. I know I am not going to be competitive and that is fine.

All I was hoping for was some advice on how to program an extra squat day.

It seems you gave the wrong impression with all the information you provided, it looked like you had plenty of questions. Anyway, just squat after deadlifting, it’s that simple. You can keep front squat on your squat day and just back squat again after deadlifts, or use another variation like high bar or SSB squat.


Just a thought…

Day 1
Front Squat - rotating between 3RM and 5RM with back off sets at 80% of those RM’s for some sets/reps
OH Press - start at 80% and do a bunch of triples or doubles (prilepins chart…)
Rack Pulls - 8-12 moderate to hard reps for a few sets

Day 2
Any bench variation for a Heavy Single and some back off sets
then all your accessory/fluff stuff for back/core

Day 3
Back Squat - just do a simple 5x5 or 3x3 progression, as long as the total volume increases from week to week, but I would plan a deload or reset every few weeks depending on how you recover/adapt
OH Press - use this day for volume, pick a weight and go for Rep Maxes
and you could superset it with something like a SLDL and a carry to get a little of the strongman-ish feel

If surfing is more of a priority, and I don’t see how it wouldn’t be living where you live, then keep it the priority. You have a family, a job, a higher priority hobby/passion, so you only have some much energy to spread around. Make sure whatever you do in the gym is complementing those other pursuits, and not taking away from them. Just my 2 cents.

Or don’t listen to anything I suggested and find a program you like! (Texas Method has an app thats easy to use and includes presses and multiple squat days, sheiko squats multiple times a week and the bench could be replaced with presses, a conjugate approach…)

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Thank you for the advice. I like your setup as it targets the main lifts and leaves out all the extra stuff.

As far as rep ranges I will probably stick with the cube method recommended percentages as it almost self regulates my recovery by modulating the intensity week to week.

Would you throw out the deadlift from the floor completely or throw it in every third week or so?
Work up to a heavy single and triple then back off sets?

I would allow your surf schedule/fatigue to dictate how much accessory work you can get in. But I think the main lifts are a non-negotiable. I live in Florida, so we have a decent surfer population, and most of the ones I’ve worked with or are friends with, have great pressing strength and fairly developed lats. So when you pick your accessory movements, try to not double up what you are already getting from surfing.

I’ve ran cube one time for my press, and loved it. So right on. Having anything to follow helps.

I wouldn’t throw it out. no. Do it on Day 3.
I recently did it as infrequently as once every other week, working to a single, a triple or a set of five, and some back off sets. After like two months of that, I saw a 10 pound jump when I tested. So thats like four real deadlift workouts. You ultimately have to find what works for you. But no, don’t completely throw it out.

Could try a run of something like this below -pretty low impact so can do other activities and fine to add in extra rest days here and there…