T Nation

How to Program Squatting 2x a Week


#1

(I'm not posting this in the 5/3/1 forum due to the fact that they'd refer me to the programs Jim wrote in his books. I want to learn to program for myself, hence, I'm here)

currently I'm on 5/3/1 (set up as 3/5/1) working on a template that suits me. Something along the lines of benching twice a week, squatting twice a week and deadlifting once a week. Anyways, I have it set up so that on the 3's and 5/3/1 week I'm doing 5x3@85 percent. Whereas on the 5's week I don't go for amrap sets and I'm doing 5x3 paused squats @60 percent. I've run it through for a couple weeks now and considering all the factors, it's been going good.

my question is: do you guys see anyway where I could squat twice a week (fairly heavy) on the 3's and 5/3/1 weeks more optimally? I utilize the pause squats on the 5's week with lower percentage to help recover for the next week. Is this a good idea? bad idea?

any suggestions are appreciated.


#2

So you want to figure out how to program for yourself but want to mix up a 5/3/1 variation? Id recommend against squatting heavy 2x a week but some people are able to pull it off. If you like higher frequency programs or think youd respond better Id suggest looking at sheiko programs 29&37 are popular ones though ive never ran them


#3

Just do one day with 5/3/1 followed by FSL work (these could be pause squats) and then the 5x3@85% on the other squat workout. The first day would be about breaking records and the second day would be about getting in quality volume.


#4

What are your reasons for wanting to squat and bench twice a week?


#5

What does the whole week look like? Are you using a full body approach?


#6

I had originally posted this in the powerlifting forum, mods must have moved it. That’s why the beginning of the post is the way it is

Reason for wanting to bench and squat twice a week is due to the fact that 1. I need the practice. It’s a huge mental thing with squatting. It took me a long time to get it down where I could squat comfortably and squatting twice a week simply just let me get more comfortable with the bar on my back. 2. I’ve grown to love both the squat and bench and honestly just like doing them.

Before anyone gives me any kind of shit for asking this: I’m just asking for training advice, not anything else thanks


#7

Average week looks like this

Monday
Squat

  1. Squat - 5/3/1 + Jokers (10Lbs increments)
  2. RDL 5x4 @65%
  3. Leg curl 5x10-15
  4. Leg Raises 5x10

Wednesday
Bench

  1. Bench - 5/3/1 Pyramid + Jokers (5lbs increments)
  2. Close grip bench (paused) 5x5 @75% (5’s week 5x8 @60%) + pull downs with various grips for sets of 10
  3. Tricep Pushdowns 5x10
  4. Curls 5x10-12

Thursday
Deadlift

  1. Deadlift 5/3/1 + TM for single/double/triple (Joker)
  2. Squat 5x3 @85% (5’s week 5x3 PAUSED squats 65%)
  3. Leg Press 5x10-15
  4. Back extensions 5x6-8

Saturday
Press

  1. Press 5/3/1 Pyramid
  2. 3-count Bench 5x5 @75% (5’s week 5x8 @60% not paused) + pull downs for sets of 10
  3. Row Variation 5x6-8
  4. Side shoulder raises 5x10 (light weight)

#8

I’m going to answer outside of the context of 5/3/1, since I originally saw this in the BSL forum.

I don’t have an answer for you, but maybe some information to help make your decision.

I did a month where I squatted 6 days a week, 5 of them heavy, 1 medium. During that time I also researched the hell out various protocols that involved near-daily squatting. But this could apply to other lifts too.

Since I squatted to daily maxes, I had a decent feel for how my strength fluctuated.

The setup was:
Monday: heavy
Tuesday: heavy, then do overload work (limited ROM pin squats)
Wednesday: heavy
Thursday: heavy, overload work like Tuesday
Friday: heavy
Saturday: medium
Sunday: rest, or some other light lifting (not squats)

There was no real change in volume between, it was just working up to a daily 1RM, and some backoff sets. The intensity fluctuated according to what I could handle, but not by any external calculation or whatever. So you can kind of say that everything was held constant.

What I found was that Mondays were my strongest days, and Thursdays were my second strongest days. The lighter weekend allowed for some recovery so that I could hit PRs every Monday. Then I think the Thursdays were because of the overloaded work on Tuesday getting adapted to 48 hours later.

However, this approach also relied on accumulating fatigue over the course of the weeks. I was more run down as each week progressed, then the 4th week was a light week, and at the end of that week I set a fairly significant PR. The weekends were “mini” recovery periods, even though I was still pushed down, then the last week was a true recovery period where I was able to take advantage of all the gains.

Long story short… doing it more than once a week can lead to some improvement, but be careful of that “second layer” of fatigue, and make sure that whatever you do that you allow yourself to recover from that. If you don’t, you might make good progress for several weeks, and then hit a serious wall.

Even shorter explanation, 5/3/1 was designed like it was for a reason. If you tweak with the weekly loading and volume, you’re not really doing the program and you’re moving into untested waters. Managing long-term recovery is going to be your biggest concern this way.

EDIT: I did get a ton of really good practice with the squat this way. I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did, but there’s definitely value in just getting in lots of squats under the bar. Maybe just do some 50% squats after every session focusing on the same form as your heavy sets… light enough to have no real effect other than practice.


#9

Also maybe helpful, I really like keeping heavy work on Monday and Friday, since you get 4 and 3 days to recover, respectively.

I can’t tell you how that would fit into 5/3/1 loading, but that’s where I’d start.

Monday/Friday: Heavy Squatting and/or Deadlifting
Wednesday: Light technique work, or Off
Tuesday/Thursday: Pressing (bench or overhead). Saturday too if you wanted a 3rd day.

You have minimum 72 hours to recover from the heavy work, and 48 hours for the pressing work.


#10

I’m squatting 2X per week right now. One 531 with FSL the other front squat 3’s pro. I like it a lot. Going full body 3x per week, only using 7 movements, best progress I’ve ever made.


#11

LoRez, thanks for sharing your experience, means alot man.

Beara, sounds like a solid idea.


#12

[quote]Beara33 wrote:
I’m squatting 2X per week right now. One 531 with FSL the other front squat 3’s pro. I like it a lot. Going full body 3x per week, only using 7 movements, best progress I’ve ever made.[/quote]

I’m planning to do something similar after my current template ends. I would be doing Squat once a week with 28 weeks of training progression and doing FS with 5’s pro after DL. Im curious, what your whole template looks like?


#13

[quote]Rattus wrote:

[quote]Beara33 wrote:
I’m squatting 2X per week right now. One 531 with FSL the other front squat 3’s pro. I like it a lot. Going full body 3x per week, only using 7 movements, best progress I’ve ever made.[/quote]

I’m planning to do something similar after my current template ends. I would be doing Squat once a week with 28 weeks of training progression and doing FS with 5’s pro after DL. Im curious, what your whole template looks like? [/quote]

Day 1
Front Squat 3’s Pro
Power Clean 3’s Pro
Rows x 50-100

Day 2
Deadlift 3’s Pro
Floor Press x 50

Day 3
Squat 531 some jokers if I’m feeling it or FSL 3x5.
Bench Press 531 with FSL 3x5
Power Clean (hang) 3’s Pro

I realize day 3 is a little heavier work load but 1 and 2 are done at home with only a barbell (with weight of course)and day 2 I only have had about 40 minutes so just focused hard on the 2 lifts. So far my clean is strong enough to keep up with my front squat…in fact all the extra cleans to set up the front squat have really helped. Just finishing the 6 week cycle now and the rep PR’s just keep on coming with my big 3, looking forward to testing.


#14

5\3\1 with BBB.

Set it up for your desired outcome.


#15

If your recuperating from your routine, you should do it…if not and your doing it because you like it you should change it; maybe it will work for a little while, the choice of like and progression is key as personally I would like to workout more but am hindered by one thing that I have found out…much less for me is working better.


#16

This has work for me in the past. Granted I am 55 so 2 heavy days a week on squats was more that I could recup. from.

Monday
Squat 5/3/1
Bench Press 5/3/1
Straight Leg Deadlift 3x10
Chin-ups 3x10
Pushdowns 3x10

Thursday
Squat Deload
Deadlift 5/3/1
Press 5/3/1
Dumbbell Rows 3x10
Barbell Curls 3x10


#17

[quote]bmcinnis96 wrote:
Reason for wanting to bench and squat twice a week is due to the fact that 1. I need the practice. It’s a huge mental thing with squatting. It took me a long time to get it down where I could squat comfortably and squatting twice a week simply just let me get more comfortable with the bar on my back.
[/quote]

If it’s purely a mental thing and you’re not expecting to get massive strength gains from increasing frequency, why not squat every workout? It doesn’t have to be heavy or difficult sets, just do some every session.