I have come to two major realizations at this point in my life:
First, my squat sucks. Second, I’ll never be able to string more than 5-6 days in a row of squatting.
This leads me to my question: If I want to do a program that focuses on squatting every day (not Smolov… not quite yet), will I miss out on any gains if I miss one day a week? I’d love to bring my squat up within the next year or so. My squat is not proportional to my deadlift or bench and it’s infuriating, since squat seems to be the only lift anyone takes seriously (I know it isn’t, but that’s just how it seems to ME, because my squat is trash).
My job requires me to work 8-12 hour shifts where I’m on my feet the entire time; the few times that I have squatted the morning before a 10 hour shift have left me feeling broken, and very, very sorry the next day, so I’m not going to do that anymore. Thankfully, since I am a full-time student still living at home, I only work once per week, and that day is never a training day for me.
Keep in mind that, for the moment, this is purely hypothetical. I’m on 5/3/1 and love it, but this is something I’ve been very curious about for a while now. I’ve also heard that squatting every day is a good way to get down a couple bf% points and strengthen your core… so I might utilize this from February-May to simultaneously earn a manly squat and get ready for the beach. Who knows. Thanks guys!
Not sure how relevant this will be for you, but I ran CT’s Bulgarian program on here for a while. That has you squatting 5 days/week at different intensity levels. I liked it and recovery was never an issue (pretty low volume). Sometimes I missed the 5th day, didn’t really feel like I missed out on gainz. YMMV, good luck!
TLDR Squatting more frequently is an option to improve your squat but usually not a good one, unless you squat once a week or someshit, and almost certainly not attributable to the increase in frequency alone. If you have to ask these questions in all likelihood it is not appropriate for you. Stuff like "If I do a program but skip 14%ish…"
Better off perfecting your technique (post a formcheck) and reading up on the principles of strength training before jumping headfirst into something like squatting everyday having been on a program where all the principles of strength training had already been applied: the thinking and tinkering had been done for you. Leave everyday squatting for when you’re ready.
Frequency is only one variable to be controlled/manipulated in one’s program. As with any training variable that can be manipulated there are pros/cons to high frequency training e.g. technique development, practice and maintenance. Variables shouldn’t be thought of or treated as independent of one another when looking at programming. Kinda or looking at the big picture kind of deal.
High frequency can work well but squatting everyday seems to be the magic bullet/quick fix that especially attracts those who are not ready to use it.
Is good fun tho
Smolov isn’t squatting everyday. I’v run it. The frequency, being between 3-4 days/week is not what get’s people. It’s the high volume and workloads that often lead to poor recovery, drop out and injury. I could see this from a glance at the program however I was confident in my own work capacity built up over time would allow me to tolerate the volume. Also I was well versed with how it feels to exceeds my body’s recovery ability so was confident I could recognize the signs and back off if required.
Anecdotally you may hear of people doing well enough and other people ending up injured. One group was probably smart about it and manipulated training variables to allow for recovery, got lucky in autoregulating/bitching out lel their training or were running a program which tho high frequency, when other variables were taken into account, was not particularly challenging.
Squatting more is just one possible solution to your trash squat and may not be appropriate unless you only squat once a week. Stuff like aspiring to technical mastery, tracking and increasing workload over the long term etc. are basic training principles that are inviolable if you wish to continue making progress. They may be basic but its the minority of lifters who always apply it and frankly nobody can say that they’ve maxed out on either.
Learn the principles, consider your training in that context e.g. where you are doing well and where you are lacking, apply the principles in modifications that you make and put in the work with the peace of mind that you’ve built your base on solid foundations/principles and all that’s left is to put in the work and build up as high as you wish.
I was just curious if missing a day every week in a “Squat 100 days in a row” type thing would affect gains or not lol
Yes I believe this is why it’s recommended by some that an athlete have a 405+ squat before attempting something like Smolov. Like you said, good form is paramount if you want to squat heavy, and I personally have not seen someone squat 405 with bad form (I’m sure it’s happened, I just haven’t seen it). Now that I think about it, I’ve not really seen many 400lb squats at all. Hm.
This is what I’m worried about. I’d rather take some time and perfect my form than get injured. I’m not about to be confined to only bench press for months while my knee heals.
My squat has gone from 255x7 to 305x8 in the last few months because I’m finally squatting with regularity (1-2x/week). I agree with you 1000% that those are the basic principles that must be followed to make progress. For a year and a half prior, I didn’t pay any attention to anything and just kind of went into the weight room and squatted light weights for few reps and was surprised that I wasn’t growing LOL.
Squatting every day seems more fun than cutting food out of my diet
If this is working, why fuck with it? Also, please, for the love of Christ, DO NOT go from squatting twice a week to 5-6 days a week. This is why people knock squat everyday and programs alike. If you go from twice to multiple times immediately, your body will let you down, especially since you have no experience squatting with that kind of regularity. Just keep doing what works until you stall. The longer you can do the least amount of work and still gain, the longer you’ll be able to train. Doing more work too fast will only lead to injury or regression.
Just trying to save you from being too thicc mane lel
Missed the point: you could squat with perfect form and still injure yourself because you’ve done too much too soon e.g. upped volume and frequency.
Probably. If you could’ve recovered and adapted to that extra workload then its potential gains left on the table tho probably not significant amounts. Better to leave some in the tank now and up the volume as time goes on. More time for your body to adapt and more sustainable long run because it’s kind of a minimum effective dose approach.
^^ This is has been my plan for a while. New/younger guys like me tend to get too focused on the next cool program, and less focused on WHY they’re lifting and what brought them to that program in the first place. T-Nation is obviously a safe place to admit that I do 5/3/1, so I’ll let you know right now that it’s working great for me and that I’m going to stick with it for at least another year or two.
But eventually when i do want to try it, I should take a couple months to work myself up from 2 to 3, to 4, to 5x per week is what you’re saying? That’s good advice. I actually probably would’ve just said “fuck it, it’s time to get BIG” and jumped into it and gotten hurt on the 5th day. So thanks LOL.
Being young and stupid is hard, but t-nation makes it a little easier. lol
I didn’t know that was possible. The only person I know personally who’s been injured while squatting was my buddy who worked up from 315 to a 415 low bar after about 10 months on 5/3/1, then switched to high bar without changing his numbers. Obviously his body wasn’t acclimated to moving 400+ with high bar mechanics, so… a couple months of rehab and a long scar later, and he’s telling me to be careful just like you are. I appreciate it bro.
I like this wording. You don’t need to kill yourself in the gym for gains. Push yourself, yes, but “minimum effective dose.” I like it
Squatting every day (as 7 days a week) is not a good idea because you need to have time off to recover, you might be able to do it for a little while but you will burn out pretty quick. The Bulgarian weightlifting team lived in a training camp and had no responsibilities other than lifting weights, so unless that sounds like you then don’t try it. 5-6 days a week is manageable, depending on how you do it. Unless you want to do something like the Bulgarian method where you max out every day, which I don’t recommend, you will have to keep volume and intensity relatively low for most of it. If you don’t know how to write your own program then you’re out of luck because there isn’t a coherent high frequency program available on the internet.
Last fall I got sick and lost a bunch of weight, to try and get back to where I was previously I did a high frequency program. I was benching 5 days a week too because it would have been too much in a single session if I were to split my benching between 2-3 days on top of squatting. Anyway, my squat and deadlift (which I trained 2x/week) came back fast and I made some gains over 2 months, but probably not more than if I had just squatted 2-3x/week. I squatted 5x for the first month and then cut it down to 4 because I thought there was no point in having a light squat day before deadlifting since I was already squatting a lot. Bench came back to where it was before getting sick, but I made zero progress. I don’t know if that was because high frequency benching doesn’t work for me or due to the fact that my biceps and forearms hurt like hell from squatting so much. I was only squatting low bar twice a week, the other days were high bar or SSB, but I guess I had some irritated nerves or something in my arms because even high bar and SSB made my arms hurt. I did a bunch of myofascial release and stretching plus took ibuprofen before training, it made it somewhat manageable but it still hurt like hell and wasn’t fun. It was sheer determination that got me through those two months. That is the main reason that I personally wouldn’t do a high frequency squat program again, the only way it could work is if I did zero low bar squatting but then there is no benefit of more frequent technique practice so I might as well squat low bar twice a week.
Doing this to lose weight makes no sense at all. Reduce calories to lose weight and keep training volume high to maintain muscle mass.
There were two fairly well known powerlifters who used the Bulgarian method, Justin Caputo and Damien Pezzuti. Maybe it should be called the Italian-American method? Anyway, Pezzuti quit lifting for a couple years and now he’s squatting and benching twice a week (one light and one heavy day) and deadlifting once a week, he has surpassed his previous PRs. He said that his body was too beat up to continue due to the way he had been training, any kind of daily max training is not a long term solution a you can see. Apparently Caputo still squats every day but it’s more like a half-squat so if you add it up you could say he only really squats every second day.
You can make a lot of progress on your squat without trying to bash a program into a schedule it wasn’t designed for.
Squatting every day for over 3 months will be miserable. Unless you have done something a little bit less miserable (have you successfully trained hard 5 days per week for over 3 straight months?) I would look at something more sustainable.
I have but it’s been low volume so I know I’m not ready to squat more than 3x/week. 2x/week works really well for me so I’m going to stick with it; I was just curious about what the implications of squatting every day might be. Thanks man