T Nation

High Rep Squats


Jim, I'd like to know your thoughts on high rep squats and wether it makes sense to fit them in as accessory-lifts (I do not know if i have overlooked some other posts or passages in your book). Dan John just advocates them again in his latest article on this page and a lot of other coaches seem to praise them as a muscle and strength building secret (20 reps breathing squats etc.). Thank you for your time!


5/3/1 for Powerlifting has a 20 rep squat drop set in the Mass template.


You can easily add them also by using the BBB-rule of 50.


Boring But Big has you doing a minimum of 50 reps every time you squat. As I recall, Dan John's Mass Made Simple peaks with doing 50 reps at better than bodyweight using whatever rest periods you require. There's some similarity there.


My thoughts on high rep squats:

Understand that the majority of my training has been wrapped up around training as a means to an end, not the end itself. In other words, for sports. So high rep squats were not part of the training because you had to do other stuff, besides lifting, to be a better athlete. And being sore all week isn't something I could afford.

Because of this, I first heard of the Super Squats program while in college. It was in a skin mag (aka Flex or something like that) and it talked about how it could pack on X amount of muscle or whatever it claims. Since I had been training for awhile I knew this particular line of bullshit and passed it off. Programs that claim X or guarantee Y are worth the sanitary napkin they are written on.

Having said that, I do believe they have worth. But understand that there is a "push/pull" in training. You push high rep squats into your training and something will suffer. So don't be so naive to think you can push "breathing squats" (really?) and the rest of your training to not take a hit. Thus why I believe in 6 week cycles and why this is written about in the Beyond book.

Understand that everything in training has its place but not all at the same time. If you keep your principles strong and solid, you can pepper in just about anything without losing your way. Too many "experts" have zero principles and you can tell when they constantly fall and trip on whatever hand jerks their crank this week.


You mentioned training for sports, how important do you think strictness when it comes to depth is for people lifting for sports or general strength and hypertrophy?

I see a lot of rugby players squatting at my gym and some of them are hitting large numbers but they are always at least an inch or two above parallel. Would you say that those two inches are inconsequential for general strength and mass or would you say that they are really fucking up?

I ask because I have heard guys at the gym ridicule rugby players squatting 500lbs and not quite hitting depth who have really thick and strong posterior chains and then I watch them do strict form squats with around 200lbs and their criticism just seems kinda meaningless.


Are they good rugby players? If yes, it obviously doesn't matter. People in this industry tend to over estimate their importance to skill athletes. It's laughable. Just like when people who have zero experience coaching large groups of collegiate athletes or large groups of high school athletes criticize those that do.

People lack perspective and also lack the tact to shut their mouths.

We all like to think squatting to parallel is going to make you some super athlete. It's not. Of course, if you are going to do the movement, try to do it right. But to think being a "professional exerciser" or "Grand Technique Wizard" somehow eclipses skill and talent and "field knowledge" or just simply being mentally suited for the sport - you are just fooling yourself. Seems like there is a whole crew of NeverBeens telling the TheDoers "how it's done." Some people just love being the stooge.

It's like reading a book on guitar theory and telling Hendrix he's doing it all wrong.

If you ever need a laugh: find a video of a major college or professional team training. Now find comments on forums about how they are "doing it all wrong". This also helps with constipation due to amount of laughter that shakes free stuck feces.


Thanks for the replies! And thanks for the perspective and putting the picture right, Jim - for all three: squats, principles and training for sports.


I feel that unless you're a powerlifter, your squats should be done for high reps.


You are welcome. When asked, I will give my opinion. If not, best to keep my mouth shut.