Looking for a challenge? A real test of mental fortitude? Well, look no further. The 7/13 squat program will make men out of boys. Seriously, it’s no joke. 7/13 originally came from The Outlaw Way programming when Spencer Arnold of Power and Grace Performance, was involved with them. If you don’t know who Spencer is, check this out, or this, or this.
As Spencer states on his blog, “The influence of this program has its roots in three different places. Firstly, we have all likely heard of or completed the Hatch Squat cycle. This program has the lifter performing both Back Squats and Front Squats in the same session. The second influence came from one of my coaches, Richard Flemming, has always loved making his athletes perform front squats followed by back squats at specific times during his program. So his influence was HUGE. The last influence came from the love/hate relationship I have with 20 rep back squat programs. I love the size they develop in my legs but hate the process. However, I loved the 20 rep idea. Hence 7+13=20 reps.”
By first glance of the overall program, you tell yourself it doesn’t look that bad. I mean, come on…only 7 front squats followed up by 13 back squats. It’s then you realize, you have to do this for 4 sets, 4 different times over 2 weeks. And from there, the rep scheme changes as you work yourself up to 100% of your training max over a 10 week period.
When I tackled this squat program, I started with my true 1 rep max as my training max. 2 sets in to the 4 of the first workout, I could barely breathe and realized I needed to set my sights a bit lower if I was going to make it through the program. So I continued on and dropped the weight down to 94% of my 1RM. However, if you can go full throttle at 100% of your 1 rep max, by all means. The video below is of me hitting a 20 LB PR on my front squat at the end of the program. I know others who have hit up to a 35 LB PR over this 10 week period.
If that doesn’t motivate you to try this program out, watch Spencer’s highlight video of his lifters on max day.
So if you’re stuck in a lull with your front squat or are ready to try something challenging this might be the program for you. If you’re worried about whether or not you’ll have to back off your other programming while doing this, I can say that I was able to keep up with my regular Crossfit programming for the most part. I can’t remember exactly but there may have been a day or two during this period where I had to take my foot off the pedal in other areas a bit. However, for a 20 LB front squat PR, it was well worth it.
Read more on Spencer Arnold at Power and Grace Performance.