T Nation

Squatting Routine


Recently I had a look at one of Bulgarian training program posted on the internet (actually it's not that recent, and I forgot where I got it) and one of their squatting regiment is like this:

  1. 1x2 70kg
  2. 1x2 90kg
  3. 1x1 100kg
  4. 1x1 130kg
  5. 1x1 150kg
  6. 1x1 170kg
  7. 1x1 210kg
  8. 1x2 230kg
  9. 1x1 235kg (max)
  10. 2x1 230kg
  11. 2x2 220kg

When plotted it looks like this:

Total weight lifted is 3115kg.

Since right now I can only squat 100kg (BW 69kg) I think this kind of squatting isn't effective for me, and I've read that beginners should do set across (3x3, 3x5, 5x3, etc.). But I like to squat to max everytime I squat (not sure why, but perhaps why not if I snatch and c&j to max everytime I train?) so it probably goes like this:

  1. 2x5 20kg (bar)
  2. 1x5 40kg
  3. 1x4 50kg
  4. 1x3 60kg
  5. 1x2 70kg
  6. 1x1 80kg
  7. 1x1 90kg
  8. 1x1 100kg (max)
  9. 1x2 80kg
  10. 2x3 90kg

Total weight lifted = 1890kg

Usually I just do number 1-6 (above) and then followed by 4x3 of 90kg/90%. With a recently calculated total of 2080kg, I just realized that it's 2/3 of some elite Bulgarian lifter's which makes me thinking if I'm squatting too much volume?

What's your routine like? It would be interesting to see how each of us squat! (too lazy to look up the log thread)


I don't think such a volume calculation is meaningful. Especially when you count your initial warmup sets.
You could do 6 x 25 with 20kg = 3000kg of volume which I'm pretty sure would do jack for your squat other than getting you to 'feel the burn'.

I'm currently running Smolov intense cycle week 2. Ended up with a 160kg max @ 86kg bodyweight after the base cycle. Have to cut it short due to o/s holiday starting from Saturday, so I'm planning to max out on Friday. Last session was on Monday so I'm taking it easy this week. I don't keep track of volume.


True this. I'm thinking about how much my volume correlates with my recovery time because I'm currently trying to squat 6x/week (comp lifts only 3x/week) just to see if there's any benefit to my squat number.

BTW I keep forgetting about doing Smolov/RSR and looking for other things instead....


If your worried about volume then stop playing around with 40,50 and 60 kgs so much. just take slightly larger jumps to get to your workout weight, 7 sets to get to your max is way more then most lifters need. This way you get to keep the bigger weights and still lower the total volume.

When i did my best squat to date, I did 6 warm up sets (70*3/100*2/120*2/140/160/175) then hit 190 (with kgs to spare). your also taking 16 reps in warm up (not counting the bar), so do less sets of 3-5 and more sets of 1-3 when warming up as well.

so for you, if you want to work up to 100 (your 1RM) it should probably look more like 40*3/60*2/80*1/90*1/100*1 or 50*3/70*2/90*1/100*1. then go ahead and do your back-off sets.


how often do you squat?


He said 6x a week in a later post.

If you squat first, yes do more warm ups, if your squating after lifting then you should be fine to do less warm ups.

I always do more warm ups if I squat first, but jump straight to 100, 120, 140 for 2-2's and get on training sets at 160.

I'm doing a hybrid Russian Squat Routine. On the days I feel weak I'll do the recovery 2reps x 6sets. On other days I'll increase the rep.

Just get on the Russian mate. If your squating 6x a week you don't need more volume. Are you squating first or after your lifting?

If your current routine isn't providing the results you got to change it. It's madness doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

Try going to a heavy single and then doing 2-3 drop sets where you take off 10-15kg and do more reps. It's worked for some lifters I know.

For me I like to pound out the reps at 160kg. I start with 2reps x 6sets and each session I try and add another rep for straight sets, so next is 3reps x 6sets then 4reps x 6sets. By the time I get to 6x6 I'm feeling pretty f0cking good.



Thx for the advice, tork. Yours is similar to a lifter's in my gym that I shouldn't do too many "warmups".

I used to squat 3x/week (no max attempt) but just for kicks I'm trying to squat 6x/week (less volume per session but with max attempt). So far there's no apparent problem.

After the oly lifts. One day in a squat only day, I tried doing snatches after squatting (and pressing) and it was horrible.

I think I'll try the RSR on my "off"/squat only days (in between the oly lifts training sessions). I hope that will go well.


if you are squatting that often you can't try for a PR or max out every single day and do olympic lifting as well. It will work for a week or two but then you'll reach a plateau and that'll be it.The bulgarian system, was for elite athletes, people who have near perfect technique and have very high strength. When you reach that level your recovery is different.

Coach abadjidev(sp??) was very careful about choosing exercizes for them because they had limited recovery capability. If you look at powerlifters of the same level, the most common thing(that I see anyways) is they go heavy 1 day a week, maybe something like 6 doubles for a very heavy weight. The bulgarian system is kind of similar in the volume. The difference is they'd go for 12 singles over a period of a week.

The reason for this change, according to abadjidev is to keep testosterone levels high and it made more sense to him to train more often.Don't be worried about volume numbers, because a) the bulgarians lifted 2-3 times a day, you are only lifting once, b) you'll get used to it.

I think you are better off alternating one heavy one light workout(maybe do front squats on "light" days). If you want to do heavy weights low reps, try something like 4-5 sets of doubles with 90-95% of your max. Light days does not mean you'll do 60% or something, something more like 80% similar sets*reps can work fine.

If you are gonna try this start with 90% for the first week, then increase 2.5 every week. If you start as heavy as you can you'll just burn out and plateau faster. Its better starting a bit lighter in the long run.

Concerning warm ups, what koing said. I personally almost never warm up for squats after snatches and clean and jerks, unless I'm feeling kinda crappy (knees tight for example). If I squat first thing, then I'd do 4 sets at a light weight then 2-3 a bit heavier and then start the normal sets.



Because I'm nowhere near elite level yet, doesn't that mean that I can max more frequently instead? Yeah I'm thinking of doing 4x BS and 2x FS per week.

Also what's your current routine like, lordstorm?


"Because I'm nowhere near elite level yet, doesn't that mean that I can max more frequently instead? Yeah I'm thinking of doing 4x BS and 2x FS per week. "

You could, but you'd still plateau fast. I've done similar stuff in the past. Might work better for you I don't know. I just doubt going for a PR every day, while exciting, is the best way to go about building strength.

My current program for squats(or do you want all of it? its in sets*reps*weight in kgs):
back squat

front squat

back squat
3,4,3*120(as in 2 sets of 3 reps and 1 set of 4 reps done inbetween the 2 with 3 reps)

thursday is same as tuesday, friday same as wednesday. If i manage to get a 6th day in, it really depends on how I feel about what I'll do, but probably front squats same as tuesday.

The rest of the program includes every day(or some variation of them): snatches, clean and jerks, some pull, some press(sometimes 2 kinds of pressing) either overhead or bench press or push press.. stuff like that, and sometimes good mornings and pull-over(some tricep minor exercize)


Hey Koing, I've been doing 6x6 M/W/F with front/back/front and just yesterday decided to ditch the overhead squats I was doing T/T/S/S because I was probably squatting too much to be making progress... Having trouble with increasing the weight (6x6 feels like a bloody endurance event to me).

Anyway, I read about your picking a weight that you couldn't initially get 6 reps with and progressing by increasing the number of reps each training session. I like that idea... Is there a reason why it might be silly for me to do that?


It appears that yours is more volume oriented. What's your max BS and FS BTW?


Front squat to max single before and after session with 2 doubles at 10kg less than the max achieved in the second round. Every fourth day or so I do BS to max single then FS to max+2x2 after the lifts. Do this pretty much 6 days a week.


ehh i thought I edited the post

anyway my back squat when i started the program was 150, front squat haven't done more than 110 still, probably around 130.

Note that before I started it I had been doing up to 110 in back squats with about the same program. If I was rested and trained 3 times a week just squats I'd be doing 130 instead of 110 and about 135-140 for 4s now instead of 120.

You can train with heavier weights lower reps but really, you just can't go for a PR every day and make it. Even the bulgarians had days with -10 and -20 kgs a lot of times.


Do you front squat more than back squat?

Noted. I still wanna try how well it goes though. By the end of next week I'll know.


Volume-wise yes, weight-wise no.


Yes ditch the OHS. As long as you squat strict your good to go and that you can hit the correct positions.

Yes it's hard progressing 6x6. But it'll benefit your OLifts a lot. It's no use if you have a fat 1RM but you can't squat 6reps well. Remember you need leg volume to get through your OLift training. If you can't Snatch 2-3reps x 5-6sets whats the point of your 1RM? Also remember in competition you have 3 big Snatches and 3 big C&J to do. Your 1RM isn't going to really cut it. People will run out of steam, more so when you have to follow yourself.

When you can do 6x6 on a weight, increase it by 2.5kg or 5kg depending on what weight your using.

See how the progressing the weight works for you. I'd recommend doing 6x6 for at least 12weeks of hard graft. Your training will be much better for it imo. Then you can move to increasing a weight you couldn't do for 6x6. Like 85% of your 1RM.



i started with a weight i could do 10 reps with then added 2.5kg total to the bar each week 6x6 is very hard it helps alot when you train the lifts in high volume and doing reps on the front squat works wonders for your rack strength and clean recovery, i'd ditch friday 6x6 and just work to a max triple so you dont get bored though


The weight is going up on 6x6 now that I've ditched the overhead squatting on my off days (turns out the overheads were impacting significantly on my recovery). Just by 2.5kg each time - but that is an embarrassingly high percentage of my squat weight. I'm just on the look out for strategies involving less than 6 reps because 6 reps feels like a lot / is hard for me. Heh. Guess the strategy is 'if that sucks then keep doing it. Once you have learned to love it then it is time to move to something that you hate'.

What you say about conditioning makes a lot of sense, Koing. I'm just impatient because the only thing preventing me squat cleaning 40kg is my inability to stand the fucker up. Still... Am on 30kg front squat 6x6 and 32.5kg back squat 6x6 so shouldn't be too long before I can stand it up for 6 ha!