T Nation

One Month To Get Ready

Hey all-

I play football at a D3 school in NY and just got back home for my winter break. When we return in the middle of Jan we will max in squat, clean and bench. Since the end of the season we have been doing a basic routine of 3x8 for each, 3 days a week with one day devoted to each.

They want us to continue this, but I know that 3x8 isnt a great way to prepare for a max. So, I plan on using a westside template as I loved it when I did it in the summer. The problem is that my squat form has been garbage as of late, and needs to be fixed. Im worried doing ME days will be hard on my form as I wont have enough reps to work on it enough.

So, would something like 3x8 at a light weight or maybe 3x5, after going heavy work?


I think the simple solution would be to do a “squat technique” day in between your ME and DE day. It will even serve the bonus of acting as a restoration technique. For instance, if you follow the template of:

Monday: ME Lower
Tuesday: ME Upper
Friday: DE Lower
Saturday: DE Upper

On Wednesday, do squats with just the bar. I would do something like 10 sets of 5. I would keep the number of reps in your sets fairly low to make sure you don’t lose your focus, but keep the rest periods nice and short. I would aim for something in the neighborhood of 40-60 total reps. The key is to treat them like real squats and use the same form you would normally use.

That sounds pretty good. I think Im going to rock a mon, wed, fri, sat split. Would I get any benefit from doing form work after ME work, or would I be too tired that it wont be useful?

Also, does the technique stuff work better on its own day? I would rather just add it to another day, be it DE lower or DE upper.

The technique day is a good idea, but it’s important to remember that your technique with the bar has almost no influence on your 1RM technique. Your brain literally thinks it’s a different lift. There’s a couple of things you could try to fix your technique (if you think it’s really that bad):

  1. Do your technique work on DE day. Don’t do box squats, do regular squats with good form for the standard Westside set/rep protocols. (probably what I would recommend last)

  2. On ME day do regular squats for three weeks (you don’t have that much time until max day anyway) and do this:
    week 1: 85% for 10-15 sets of 1
    week 2: 90% for 10-15 sets of 1
    week 3: 90%+ for 10-15 sets of 1 or standard ME
    All with 1.5-2min rest.
    This option would be very good because you’ll practice moving heavy weights while you’re fresh (technique with near max weights). Obviously lower the percents if you think your max has decreased.

  3. On an off day do this:
    week 1: 85% for 15 sets of 1
    week 2: 87.5% for 15 sets of 1
    week 3: 90% for 15 sets of 1
    All with 2 minutes rest. This shouldn’t be that challenging because of the long rest interval, but it should improve your form for your max day.

    If you decide to do option 3 you might want to back off on one of your assistance exercises the workout before. Also, remember that Louie emphasises technique too, despite all the talk about assistance exercises. The point is, the assistance lifts are there to facilitate technique development as well, so choose them appropriately.