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When to Deload Squats?

Hey guys, first time poster with a question.

I’m 38 and have only been squatting for about 18 months, so keep that in mind.

I have been doing a 3xweek squat program:
3x8,3x5,3x3… 80,90,95%

On my 8 day I hit 225x8 and on my 5 day I hit 245x5, both with decent form.

Today I attempted 3x3 with 265 and it didn’t go well. Form went to shit, knees caving, good morninging the weight, moved to toes.

One thing that I suspect is that my glutes weren’t firing at that load.

Not sure where to go from here. Should I deload to 255 on my 3 rep days? Or keep attempting 265x3 until I can get it with good form?


Any good program has built in recovery.

If you’re doing a program and you aren’t recovering chances are

  1. it’s a bad program
  2. your sleep is off
  3. nutrition is shit
  4. over estimating percentages/rpe

What are your goals for 6 months from now, 1 year from now, 5 years from now?

What is the actual program? 3x3 @ 95% is nearly impossible for most people. 3x3 at 90% is hard as hell.

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Deloading and taking 10lbs off are two different things, a deload is an easier week of training that is meant to allow you to recover from accumulated fatigue. If you just take 10lbs off and work back up then most likely you will be stuck again in 2-3 weeks.

I’m not even sure I can squat 90% for one set of 3. And there is no way I can do 8 reps with 80%.

How long have you been using this program? Are your other lifts still making progress?

You need to get a new program. Even if this is one of those “set your 1RM to 90% of your actual PR” kinds of programs, 95% for 3x3 is still waaay too much, especially considering it’s your 3rd time squatting in the same week.


Thank you everyone for the replies. I have been consistent in the gym but not really with a program. My goals are to become intermediate with my lower body lifts. I was a bench bro for years and am intermediate with both bench and OHP, but my squats and deadlift struggle. My squat 1 rep max is 285 and my dL max is 355.

I would love to get to 315 x 5 in squats and 405 x 5 deadlift by this time next year. Again i am new to this and am really looking for a program that will have me focusing on these two lifts.

I am 38.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am taking two weeks off for vacation in Europe and would like to jump into a serious program upon my return.

Periodization Training

The foundation of a well written and executed training program is have planned progressive intense training session followed by planned recovery periods; where muscle growth occurs.

Periodization Training is cyclical training that incorporates a specific number of weeks of progressive increasing the load/intensity, pushing yourself to the limit.

The final week of the training program is then followed by deloading.
going down to a lighter/lower intensity for…

Active Recovery

Active Recovery means using light loads/intensity. It increased blood flow to the muscle which promotes faster recovery; recovery is where muscle growth occurs.

Active Recovery can be something like going for a bike ride, playing some basketball, etc.

The General Adaptation Syndrome

Essentially, this means the body learn and adapts. Once adaptation occurs,progress stops. That means you need to make some changes: decrease you training intensity and vary your exercises.

Novice Lifter

Novice Lifters can use the same training program for 8 - 12 week before they making changes. That because adaptation occurs slowly.

Advance Lifters

Advanced Lifter need to change their training program about every 3 - 4 weeks. That because they quickly adapt to a new training program.

A Simple Rule For When to Change

When your progress stalls or you start going backwards with you weight and/or repetition, you need to start a new training cycle with a lighter load/intensity.

" Changes in exercises are more effective than in loading schemes to improve muscle strength." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24832974

Research and anecdotal data have demonstrated that varying exercise rather than constantly using the same exercise increase strength.

That is also true for hypertrophy training. Attacking a muscles from a different angle (exercise) is how bodybuilder make progress.

Changing an exercise can be as simple as going from a Wide Stance Low Bar Powerlifting Squat to a Full High Bar Narrow Stance Olympic Squat.

Passive Recovery

This means taking time off from training. It promotes recovery but not as well as Active Recovery.


  1. Constantly pushing training training intensity eventually lead to overtraining.
  2. Short deloads initially may help. However, in the long run don’t work well.
  3. Periodization Training: This method is the foundation of a well written training program. It incorporates progressive overload to stimulate muscle growth, implementing Active Recovery, which allows fo muscle growth.

Kenny Croxdale


I’d stick with squatting 3x per week. Mixup your rep schemes. Try 4x6 for your high rep day and 5x2 on your strength day.

Here’s how I’d run this. You could plug and play different sets and reps, but I’d stick with the strength, hypertrophy, power layout.

Monday (strength): 5x2 @ 85-90%
Wednesday (hypertropy): 4x6 @ 65-75%
Friday (power): 5x3 @ 75-85%

[quote=“baumbodies, post:7, topic:259064”] Monday (strength): 5x2 @ 85-90%
Wednesday (hypertropy): 4x6 @ 65-75% Friday (power): 5x3 @ 75-85%[/quote]

Overall, this looks good with the exception of…

Power Training

  1. Traditional Exercises

Research shows that power is best developed in movements like the Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, etc with load of 48 - 68% of 1 Repetition Max.

300 lb Squat,1 Repetition Max Example

That means power training for a Squat would be with loads of right at 145 lbs to 185 lbs.

  1. Olympic Movements

Power is best displayed and developed with load of between 70 to 80% of 1 Repetition Max.

200 lb Power Clean, 1 Repetition Max

That means power training for a Power Clean would be with loads of 140 lbs to 160 lbs.

Kenny Croxdale

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