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Throwing Down the Gauntlet/New Year's Challenge: 20 Rep Squat+20 Rep Deadlift

I had some interest for this in my training log and figured I’d extend this out to the greater forum.

Folks, I heard of a hellacious workout from Jon Andersen (recently featured here on an AMA) on a Matt Vincnet podcast.

Squat 405 for 20, drop the weight, turn around and deadlift it for 20.

I, NOT being Jon Andersen, adapted it. I train in my garage, typically in the early morning hours, and thus, won’t drop the bar to deadlift it. I also am not 300lbs of Deep Water, so I used 3 plates. This was my first attempt

My second time, I mixed it up by using an axle instead of a texas deadlift bar. This was because my next day’s workout was axle clean and press and I felt like being lazy and pre-loading the bar.

And this weekend, I made it even nuttier by throwing on the “Fran” WOD from crossfit, using kettlebells.

It’s a New Year. It’s time to transform. This is how you do it.

Lets all share our 20 rep squat and 20 rep deadlift workouts

EDIT: Relevant article


Right - rules?
I assume same sight for both, wraps and straps I saw. Man I can see me doing 350lb for the squat but deadlift will be shit.
I’m in. I’ll feed up and do it next weekend.

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I wore no wraps. I used knee sleeves.

No rules. Don’t make this powerlifting.

Excited to see what you do dude!

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Now now. Play nice.

Sunday night it is. This is going to be SO crappy.


Total poundage moved for the win?
Edit, i still wouldn’t be a competitor as my squat is so weak!

This is a challenge, not a competition. I don’t care about poundage: I want to see effort. Move the weights that make you transform!


If anyone is curious about me being opposed to rules and winners, enjoy this train wreck

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Truly a classic.

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Oh God. That got bad quick. I can see why you want to avoid excessive rules and stuff. Just do the work.

I’m thinking 160kg / 350lb. I know I got the squats in the tank. I smashed out 20 reps at 150kg 6 weeks back. As a drop set. I worry about the dead lifts. But screw it. You only live once. And its more fun is your bad arse about it.

I’ll not be as fast as you Pwn. No way. I’ll be lucky to get my squats done in under 4 minutes. Dead lifts will be about the same.

If I can get the whole thing done in under 8 I’ll be happy enough.

I’ll post a video on Sunday.

  1. Wow

  2. those 20 repper squat sets were damn quick, some just under 60 secs

  3. I think everyone in the Ellington Darden/ overtraining forum just pissed their pants :sunglasses:


I might have to move some plates around between sets, but I’m in.

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@boilerman Hell yeah! That’s getting to yes right there.

@carlbm As long as you push yourself harder than you think you can, you’re meeting the challenge.

@RampantBadger high praise from you dude! And man, if those cats only knew that this was my SECOND workout of the day…and usually done the day after squats or deads, haha.


Yeah that’s the bit where I was a intimidated. I can do 320lb for 20 reps fairly standard (in fact I’m doing a 300lb widow maker this afternoon). But it takes time. My bench mark is 1 rep every 10 seconds. So all all 20 in just under 3 minutes.

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Well if you’re looking for a workout to help you get your 20 rep time down, do I have one for you…


I can guess lol.

Say I can do 300lb widow maker - I bailed at 15 reps. But its been abut 8 weeks since I last did this these. I got spooked. I have this about me. It really is something I dislike about myself. I can talk myself out of stuff half way through.

It’s worth appreciating that the 320 I’m using is very much below my best weight for 20 reps on the squat. It’s being conservative enough to permit me to finish that deadlift set. THAT should be where the “fear” exists on this particular workout. The squats are just “pre-exhaust”, to bring up some ancient t-nation history, haha.


I did this this morning with 275. I didn’t necessarily plan it that way, but I started squatting and said “let’s get this over with.”

I thought 275 would be too light… but it wasn’t! I think I’ve got more in me, though, so this will be coming back around.

Since I didn’t really plan this, I wasn’t set up well. I did the squat and around rep 8 decided I was doing it. So I had to rack it, then unload it to 135, then drop that to the floor (nearly injuring myself embarrassingly because I was sweaty and out of breath), then load it again, then deadlift. I think this broke the spirit a little, because it definitely gave me at least a minute or two between.

I thought the deadlifts would be easier, because that’s a relatively lighter weight, but my breathing was making it tough. They became some stiff-leg sloppy hybrid.

My lower back is absolutely smoked.

I didn’t video this, so it doesn’t count (not that I know how to post one anyway). It wasn’t really planned, though, and I do intend to try again slightly heavier.


Hell yeah dude! That’s outstanding. The breathing on the deads after the squats is real tricky! It’s why, on my very first attempt, I pull a single deadlift and rest at the top. I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do next, haha. A little experience is helpful. Love to hear how future attempts go.

If you ever are interested in posting a video, easiest way is to upload to youtube and post the link here.

Good work!

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Thanks man! I really do appreciate that coming from you.

I do want to post a video. I like the little extra bit of reality when people do it.

I’m literally laying down listening to my conference calls right now, and it’s been 5 hours. The sleepy/ hangover feeling has set in.

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My best 20 rep squat is 152kg / 335lb after 5 reps of back squat at the same. So I thought I’d be okay. I also did my 152 on a standard bar. Today was axle. Axle is harder all over for me.

I think I’m gonna stick with a slightly higher weight. But get to the gym and do it on standard bar.

Reason number 2 to go the gym - I can use 2 bars. There is not way I want to try and manoeuvre a bar to the floor after 20 squats.

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