Road to 3X BW Squat (2.8333 Currently)

hello guys, i m a chinese lifter. I want to know ur experience on frequent squatting and ur result on it. How many of you westerner are able to squat 3x bodyweight raw without equipment? I will like to discuss chinese method and compare it to westerner method of weightlifting/powerlifting .

In China, To sum all up, mostly lift based on feeling of the day ,focus on smoothness and good form/speed along with high volume of training. There are some that can achieve 4x bodyweight squat as well. Guys i will appreciate it if anyone can join the discussion

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Hi, welcome to T-Nation. I do not squat 3x bodyweight but I’m very much interested in hearing what you have to say regarding the Chinese methods. As far as I know, most western type programs are very heavy into periodization where you allocate different periods of time to work on different qualities such as volume/speed/intensity. I’ll wait for the rest to chime in. If you don’t understand what any of us are speaking, feel free to ask me for a translation, I’m Chinese after all. It would be helpful if you could upload a video of your squat, might help spark interest in this topic.


good luck. I am try to get into Olympic Weighlifting. So I need to get a good squat too. I have been relying on my deadlift for too long.

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I was reading about Chinese weightlifting on a site called LiftHard a while back, interesting stuff. Seems like a mix of the Bulgarian style of training with frequent maxes and going by your capabilities at that moment combined with the Russian methods of using lots of special exercises and submaximal volume.

Do you compete in/train for powerlifting or weightlifting? We all need big squats but I was interested to know how these methods are applied to powerlifting.

I am currently training with high frequency, squatting 4x/week, benching 5x, deadlifting 2x. I have made good progress over the last two months that way. I have also experimented with a Bulgarian-inspired training cycle, it worked in the short term but it wasn’t sustainable and it seemed to me that going to a max every day was unnecessary.

Shoulder and arm pain from frequent heavy squatting seems to be a common issue, how do you guys deal with that in China?

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I ain’t @chineselifter but I’ve done periods of time where I’ve went up to 14 sessions of heavy (90% plus) single squats in a week. Personally, I’ve never had an issue with my shoulder/arms. How do you squat? Is it more upright like an olympic squat or is it low bar? I can’t imagine how upright olympic style squats would put much pressure on your arms/shoulders. Do keep in mind that I’m not exactly squatting a shit ton of weight so maybe I just have lesser stresses on my body.

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Best squat was 3.01 at a comp. 530@ 175.75. Also have done 560@187-8 ish in gym.

Before I hurt my back ( healed now and getting back into it) I squatted 5 days a week with a day off to be ready to deadlift the next day. But I usually work up to a heavy set of up to 4 reps. And always trying to either add 5lbs or get one more rep. Whole squat session would be about 25-30 reps warm up to done. After about two weeks legs don’t get at all sore.


Right now I have two days where I squat low bar, one day is Olympic/high bar squat, and one day with the safety squat bar. Strangely, it’s the high bar and SSB squats that cause the most pain. It isn’t in my shoulders though, mostly in my forearms and a bit in the biceps, but I did have shoulder problems during my Bulgarian experiment. Amit Sapir gave me some advice in his squat thread that helped a lot (mostly myofascial release stuff) but I still get some aches here and there, I’m just hoping there is something else that can help sort things out.

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I don know many about westerner methods.However i will upload soon a video of my 3xbodyweight squat in a month or so. However 3xbodyweight squat alot of young people can do it. Most of my dage( big brothers) can do 3.5xbodyweight squat easily. However i m not top lifters of our country, just average. As we approach competition before few weeks, we started to drop alot of assistance exercises and focus on main lifts. Normally we highly focus on very high volume of heavy main lifts like squat(2-5reps) and variety of bodybuilding style assistance exercises to improve weaknesses. A very good balance in flexibility ,endurance and tendon training in rest days is good. Is ur squat journey going good?

ok good. get a good basic first

there is powerlifting here too but not popular. so my bench press is very weak as i never focus it. So i depend on my deadlift and squat. bulgaria program is more for peaking and not good for long term as it will get injury. squating 4x a week is good enough, it just depend on what u do for squat, u need to work 10-20 reps sometimes, not just heavy squat. and make sure its consist of alot of sets 5-8. during this time u must eat alot of clean food.

for now i do squat 4-5x per week, alternating between front squat and back squat. always heavy . 5-8 sets of squat of same reps since my legs are weak. with high volume it can bring consistency and i rarely fail in squat.

i not good with injury. it can come from past, not flexible or weakness of ur muscle group. here we have massages, acupuncture,hot bath. Unless the injury is too pain, u should try an assistance exercise that doesnt hurt the muscle group and strengthen the muscle at the same time. otherwise u need to rest and see physical doctor

thats good , u can update ur progress here. waiting ur good news…

I really hope u guys can find a certain weakness of either ur form, or ur muscle group . Then u find the right assistance exercises to fix the problem, this is done after the main lifts. This will be the hardest part. For squat weakness like knees cave in need to be fixed too. Perfect form is always chased by us. With very good form its very easy to squat heavy. I have alot weakness to fix too.

I update on my training log. But its going to take me a few weeks to get back up there. I hurt my back squatting and the heaviest i’ve gone in about 6 weeks was 465x3 at 184

I don’t do a lot of heavy singles normally, I was working up to a heavy single (something I could do 2-3 reps with) once a week for squat and deadlift for the last month but only because I was planning to compete in January. For a number of reasons I’m not going to that meet so I’m going to drop the singles, most of my training is in the 3-5 rep range though. I have been having good results with submaximal volume, in other words doing low reps but lots of sets and staying short of failure. I do training phases where everything is for higher reps, like 5-8 as you say, but for a month or two and mostly to take a break from heavier training. If you keep doing the same thing all the time it stops working eventually.

I hear that weightlifters in Poland use the Bulgarian method as a peaking program. That’s basically how it worked out for me, I peaked my strength and improved technique with heavy weights but didn’t make much actual progress. I know a couple people who have had good results using that method for several months, but as you say there is a high risk of overuse injuries. From what I read about Chinese weightlifting it sounds like most of your snatch and clean & jerk training is max singles and low reps at 80%+, is that how you do things year round or only approaching a competition? If you were going to compete in powerlifting, would you train the squat differently?

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Heavy singles and 3-4 reps for the snatch and Clean and jerk all year round. Never do more than 4 rep its no use. I will train abit differently but with squat as main focus, my legs are very weak point compare to back. I not so like my coach so i come here and intend to take a break from weightlifting. He is very strict and says i am below average. I want to switch to powerlifting to work on basic first. i will still training olympic lift but less assistance exercise like jerk from block and pulls, and start adding more assistance exercises for legs as my legs is very weak

How much do you weigh anyway? In the higher weight classes in raw drug tested powerlifting the squat records are not that much over 3x BW. In fact, Ray Williams, who just recently set an all time record with a 1005lbs. squat, is only at 2.5x BW because he weighs 400lbs. I assume you don’t weigh anywhere near that or you wouldn’t be much of a weightlifter, but my point is that if you focus more on absolute strength in the squat, bench press, and deadlift there is a good chance you will be able to reach a high level in powerlifting. Less volume on snatch and clean & jerk means you will be able to put more effort into the power lifts.