Do you even lift, bro? Outside of the bench press, the squat is considered to be one of the Kings of Fitness. And I’ve found nothing is more fatiguing than a squat program. I also know this. Just like buying a boat, where the best days come when you buy it and when you sell it, same goes for a tough squat program. The best days of the program are when you start and when you finish. Why? Well, when you start a long 12 week program such as Hatch, everything is new. New rep scheme, a sight on new accomplishments. Just the feel of the overall program, like you’re onto something different. And when you finish the program, it is a heck of a sense of accomplishment to be consistent in squatting for 12 weeks. You’ve come a long way and it is time to test your strength with a max day.
SO WHY SQUATS?
Squats tax the entire body and are an important part to your general health. You will know you’re getting a workout in as soon as you begin. You can’t be a sissy and get involved with squats. For instance, weak back, squats will fix it. Weak legs, you know squats will fix it. Weak mind, squats will fix that too. A program such as Hatch will fix you for the better.
If you’re new to Hatch, here is the premise. Two days a week of squatting for 12 weeks. You will hit back squats first for the prescribed reps/sets. Then you will follow up with front squats for sets/reps in the same workout. You’re hitting back squats and front squats twice a week turning your legs into steel. There’s no way your body can’t get stronger as a whole on this program.
It’s with this being said, that I provide this disclaimer. I completed this program over 12 weeks and though I feel much stronger than when I started, my back squat only went up 5 pounds during this 12 weeks and my front squat never increased. This could have been for a number of reasons but it is where I ended. I realize and you should too, especially after lifting for a while that weights aren’t fair. You have to earn every PR you receive.
However, though I did not PR vastly on my squat using this program, I did use Hatch for pressing by replacing the Back Squat with the Push Press and the Front Squat with the Strict Press. My Push Press increased by 25 pounds though my Strict Press didn’t change. Below is a video of my PR followed up by a “No-Rep” press at 250 LBS.
I won’t spend a lot more time explaining the program but will give you some resources below on where you can read more about Hatch if you are interested. Also, below are a few tips to help you get started:
- COMMIT! I have seen so many people start this program with excitement and then never finish it. Why? Because as I said, we all love to start programs and finish them. However, it’s the dark days in the midst of the program where we tend to make excuses such as not having enough time, etc. Don’t make excuses. Find time in your schedule to squat twice a week and then do it. Each session should take you 30-45 minutes based on overall recovery.
- Know your true 1 rep max on back squats and front squats. You will need this number when you get started, as this program is based off %’s on your max lifts.
- With the above being stated, start with your true max and base your training max accordingly. So if you have a 400 lb. back squat and you get entrenched in the program and see you are failing sets, take 2.5-5% off your max (10-20 LBS) and let 380 or 390 become the new training max. You’re not going to lose strength by doing so. The only damage done may be your ego but at least you’re completing the program as intended.
- If you fail a rep or two, it’s okay. Keep moving forward. There were 2 occasions during Hatch that I failed reps. First time was on week 7, hitting my training max at 100%. The second time was in week 11 going for a new PR at 103%. Just move forward. Don’t change your training max based on one rep. Gauge your body correctly and keep squatting.
- Get ready for some pain in the front squat. Not all the days are like this but there are a few. As you start with back squats, you will be feeling fatigued as you go into the front squat. It’s best not to think about how wiped out you may be. Focus on the fact you’ve gotten the back squats out of the way and now only have to tackle 3-4 sets of front squats.
Check out these links to read more on Hatch to see if this program is for you.