Square Progression

I’d like to share with you a training progression used by some of my friends. I think it would interest some of you. It gave them a lot of size and strength alike. It’s very similar to the double progression training I’m doing. It’s called Square Progression. Here are the basics:

-Select one of the following exercises: Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Military Press, Chinup, BB Row (basically the big compound exercises). NEVER DO MORE THAN ONE OF THESE IN THE SAME WORKOUT.
-Select a number of reps each set. That will also be the number of sets you’ll do.
-Only possible set-rep combo: XxX. In other words, do X sets of X, where X=X (couldn’t be any clearer than that).
-Progress not by increasing weight, but by increasing X. For example, from 5x5, do 6x6.
-Select a reasonable range of X. Going from 1x1 to 20x20 is stupid. 4x4 to 7x7 makes more sense.
-Start at the bottom of your range. Once you increase X to the upper limit of your range, up the weight and restart at the bottom.
-Rest periods should be 3 minutes between sets NO MATTER WHAT.

It’s also a form of double progression training since you’re increasing reps and sets simultaneously. It’s called Square Progression because the set-rep scheme forms a square. 5x5 is a square, after all.

My friends’ favorite range comes from the 80s rule. Basically, you select the range of X based on the RMs within the 80-89% intensity range, which is usually a 4-7RM. Here’s what they do when they start training like this.

-Select current 4RM and do 4 sets.
-Continue until you can do 4x4 (all 16 reps).
-Increase reps per set to 5 and do 5 sets.
-Continue until you can do 5x5 (all 25 reps).
-Increase reps per set to 6 and do 6 sets.
-Continue until you can do 6x6 (all 36 reps).
-Increase reps per set to 5 and do 5 sets.
-Continue until you can do 7x7 (all 49 reps).
-Increase weight to your new 4RM and repeat.

It usually works for them for 2-3 cycles before stagnation occurs. A cycle can take 2-3 months. This means you can use it for 4-9 months before a plateau. In any case, I didn’t stick to Square Progression that long because I enjoy my own double progression more. Haha.