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Improve the Squat Without Squatting

I have heard and read many times that to increase your deadlift you don’t need frequency, just build the muscles that are involved during the pull.
But what about squats? And I am not talking about barbell variations used by westside (ssb, front squat, box, zercher etc), but just pure intense hypertrophy(see doggcrapp) to build muscles used in the squat
For example:
weighted hypers abductors and adductors machine, belt squat, hack machine squat, rdl, sldl, gm, ghr, lunges, leg curls, leg press, ab work etc.
Provided that technique is good, will this help the squat?

Are you going to squat some, and also do assistance?

Or just do assistance, and never squat?

Only when I want to test my 1rm

I would not get rid of the squat completely your form will suffer so your 1rm will suffer as well.

Something like that is definately going to be suboptimal. First of all, you can’t just assume that your technique will remain on point without actually practicing the lift, it will deteriorate. Secondly, how much weight you can move is not just dependend on the size and strength of the muscles involved, but also on how efficiently you can realize that strength through neural pathways. If you don’t teach your body to perform the lift, even if your technique magically remained sharp, your ability to move heavy loads will suffer.

I’m sure others can explain all this better and in more detail.

As far a as the deadlift is concerned, I can see two major factors why training in this fashion might make more sense than with the squat:

  1. Deadlifting is more taxing, making it harder to maintain higher frequencies.
  2. At least conventional deadlifting is a bit less technical than squatting, so frequent practice isn’t as important.
    Personally, I’m a bit doubtfull about improving the deadlift without deadlifting, but it has worked for some. For squats, I think the idea is terrible.
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If you are an undersized, young dude with very little experience squatting (like you’ve squatted 6 separate sessions in your life) you’ll probably add a bunch to your squat, just by getting way bigger and way stronger. If you were really skinny, and especially clumsy in squats, you might even gain faster doing assistance stuff.

If you are super experienced and great at squatting, like pure virtuoso, maybe this would work. If you knew how to somehow make the hack squat and belt squat and GMs “feel” and work just like a real squat.

If an “intermediate” tried this, I think his knees would go way out over his toes on the descent and hips would shoot up and back on the ascent of a real squat.

Bad idea.

Even at Westside they eventually started doing speed deadlifts every week.

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So doing maybe high volume speed squats once a week to make sure my technique remains good ?

Well, it’s better than no squatting at all. I’m curious, why would someone who calls themselves “ilovesquats” try to design a training program with as little actual squatting as possible?

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I am just a very curious person when it comes to training.
Also because for some time I just practiced the big 3 with high frequency and I want to try something new, and honestly my physique sucks so I wanted to use more hypertrophy to actually look like I lift

You could do enough squatting to improve your squat.

Then do enough weighted hypers and enough hack squats to build up your hamstrings and quads.

Follow that with enough belt squatting and lunges to build your hips and glutes.

You can TRAIN your squat by squatting, and BUILD your squat by developing the muscles used in the squat.


It might transfer but you won’t see it by attempting a 1RM. I’m about to switch to single leg movements to let an injury heal. Squats hurt but other things don’t. You can increase size and strength but it will take some time training the squat before seeing the effects.

My first hand example (as a novice): spent the summer doing only DB bench. Gained 20 lbs and got a lot stronger all around. Returned to school in the fall and had to barbell bench. Initially I sucked because I hadn’t practiced the movement. Once I retrained the movement my new size and strength gains showed up.

I think the same would happen with squat but only with significant size and/or strength gains and after 4-6 weeks retraining the squat.

Something along these lines sounds reasonable. Dave Ricks, who holds the 93kg open squat record at 58 years old, only does one work set for the main lifts on his heavy days (plus 8x3 sets with 50% on light squat and bench days) and mostly does high rep assistance work. It might not be optimal for everyone, but you can’t say it doesn’t work.

Sounds like an injury waiting to happen

If you train the main lifts hard enough, along with appropriate assistance work, your physique should be just fine.

Since no one has asked @ilovesquats what is your current bodyweight and your current 1 RM on squats ?

Wait, why don’t you want to squat? It’s b/c you’re tired of squatting and you aren’t seeing results (at least in terms of your physique)?

I would reevaluate your programming, intensity and diet before throwing squats out the window.

I have a special affinity for deadlifts, but I believe squats have done more to put on mass than anything else.

180kg raw.
Bodyweight 90kg.

I love squats I would do just that if it was for me. But as I said I am curious about different training methods. I am new to this sport and I have only trained the 3 lifts for some time, no hypertrophy at all. That’s why I was thinking about do most of the work with intense heavy high reps exercises for legs and back in order to get a stronger squat, and practice the movement with speed work

Just add hypertrophy work. Can be high reps of squats or squat variations too. No reason to stop squatting or only do speed work.