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Squatting Once A Week

So for the past 4 years, I’ve squatted 3-4x a week pretty religiously.

I think I’m at a point where I won’t lose my squat strength and my technique is almost textbook perfect. I mean at 5’7 182lbs I can squat (high bar oly squat) 500x3. To be honest, as much as I love squats, I’m kind of sick of them lol.

The past 16 weeks I’ve been basically do one day heavy (5x3, 5x5, etc) and one day lighter (4x8, 5x10, etc).

For you guys that squat once a week, what does your setup look like? Have you noticed any drop off in squat strength doing it once a week? I was thinking of doing a 531 type program where I have a focus each day:

DAY 1 - Squat Focus
DAY 2 - OH Press & Chin-Up Focus
DAY 3 - Deadlift Focus
DAY 4 - Bench Press & Row Focus

I’ve never squat once a week and a part of me is just “worried”. I know it sounds so stupid, but I’ve worked so hard to get my squat to where it is, I’m just hesitant to do something different. Any advice/input would be appreciated!

What do your “squat days” look like?

Significantly weaker than you, taller, and fatter, so take what I say with the proverbial kilo of salt. 5’9 200 lbs and a 450 x 1 squat.

The setup you have here is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few months. I’ve made some dumb decisions with my recovery - food and sleep and training like an asshole (Wendler quote there). I used to make my best progress on 5/3/1 2 days per week, where I squatted every other week. If I went to once a week or more, I’d end up compensating my form due to the soreness. Eventually I transitioned to the Forever version of 2 days per week, where you squat once a week, and made good progress.

Fast forward to making less of the aforementioned dumb decisions, I’m able to run 5/3/1 4 days a week and progress is the same from a strength standpoint. Body comp-wise I’m improving, which is cool.

My guess is that you’ll benefit from the lower frequency in terms of recovery and overall focus you’ll be able to put into each session. If your form is good (at 500 x 3, it has to be) I don’t see you having any issue with de-training or anything. How long do you plan to run this style of program?

Thanks for the input man!

I’m not worried about detraining as much since I’ve done it for so long. I plan on running something like this for a few months. I think it would be nice to really put my training focus into one major lift per session and just have more variety in my supplemental and assistance. I guess in a sense train more like a bodybuilder after the main lift. I think I’ve been doing the same shit for so long, I think this would be a nice change of pace for me.

In theory it should work:

If you keep pushing the weight up then you should be fine, the only thing I would worry about is possibly having some technical issues from lack of practice. For less experienced lifters I would advise squatting twice a week, but for you this could work. Just don’t overdo the assistance work because too much volume and being sore all the time won’t help.

I’m thinking of doing something like this myself, maybe just for a few weeks. I have been doing barely any volume on deadlifts, 2 work sets once a week and a light session every 3rd week, and I’m making better progress on DL than my squat or bench.

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Are you currently deadlifting?

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Thanks man! Yeah I would start with minimum volume and slow build up. I know it’s not like I’m going to lose 100lbs off my lifts doing this. Maybe some top end strength but I’m not really concerned about that. Maybe doing a program like this would be a good time to focus on other aspects of fitness for sure.

Yup I deadlift once a week. I usually rotate one week heavy working up to 540x3 or something and then the other week doing mid 400’s for like 8’s or something like that. Deadlifting once and squatting twice a week seems to be the sweet spot for me.

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Are you currently deadlifting on one of the squat days?

Yes depends on the week and how busy it is and if I’m using bumper plates or not. It’s no set program just a loose template.

Either I’ll deadlift by itself or if I’m using bumper plates I’ll work up to like 500x3 on squats and then dump the bar off my back and just jump right into my work sets for deadlifts. I don’t like doing back squats after deadlifts because my back feels pretty taxed. I don’t mind front squats after deadlifts though.

I have made faster progress on 1X a week squatting than I did on 3X a week. Never have tried 2X a week. Something to think about there.


Interesting, I have made better progress squatting twice a week than any higher frequency but never really squatted only once in recent times. Mostly I’m just feeling a little burnt out from not taking a deload in a while and I’m thinking of changing things up for a bit but who knows, maybe it will work out better.

Correct me if I’m wrong. It’s my understanding that your routine is primarily a powerlifting protocol.

What does a typical squat session look like for you?

Correct. But it’s not drastically different than what the OP here is doing, he just doesn’t really focus on the bench and deadlift as much because he doesn’t compete.

Hmmm. I wouldn’t really call it any sort of protocol. I don’t know really much about powerlifting to say that’s what I do. I use double progression model (just because it’s mindless, simple, and my body seems to respond to it very well) and every 5th or 6th week I’ll ramp up to a top set and then go back to double progression. I would say my basic template is the following on a good week. But as long as I hit all the lifts in 7 days, I don’t really care what order they are in.

Back Squat - 5x4-6
SLDL - 4x8-10
Chin-Ups, Quads, Hams/Glutes, Core Work, Hard Condition

OH Press - 5x4-6
CGBP - 4x8-10
Rows, Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps, Rear Delts

Back Squat - 4x8-10
Deadlift - 5x3-5
Chin-Ups, Hams/Glutes, Quads, Core Work, Hard Condition

Bench Press - 5x4-6
OH Press - 4x8-10
Rows, Chest, Triceps, Biceps, Rear Delts

I think he was actually responding to me, it came up in my notifications.

You do a lot of volume, I think if you pushed the intensity more on the main lifts and cut the volume down you could get stronger fast.


That’s where I was going though. The OP’s routine is more bodybuilding directed. FTR…I’m a fan of that approach if there is no intention of competing in the near future.

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Last session was 3x3 on main, then 3x3 on pause, then belt squats at 3x8, glute ham raises at 3x12. After that it is weighted pullups and other stuff.

It varies a bunch depending on meet proximity. I’m looking to squat 525 at the next meet for reference. Did 491 at the last meet, but it was not my day.

I have progressed from around a 350 squat which I got doing 3x a week squatting. Took two years to go from 350 to 500ish. Maybe it would have been faster on 2x per week?


@isdatnutty how did the switch to 1 day a week go ? I’ve increased my squat for the past few months to 3 days a week (heavy, light, medium) and seen some great progress, so dont have any real advice for 1 day a week. Just curious if you switched and if it has worked?

So I did squat on Monday, but then I ended up squatting on Friday lol. I haven’t actually tried squatting once a week just yet. I’ve been doing a very basic 4 day upper/lower. But I have put all my back squatting on one day and front squats after deadlifts. I actually really like the deadlift/front squat day even though I don’t really have energy to do much else after that.