Unless you have been hiding under a rock as of late, you have probably heard the buzz surrounding squatting every day based on the Bulgarian method and brought to life by Coach John Broz.
However, I originally learned about the method of squatting every day from Cory Gregory, President of Muscle Pharm. You can check out his podcast when he was a guest on Barbell Shrugged and find his latest “Squat Every Day” program here.
Listening to Cory speak came to me at a perfect time as I just finished up the Hatch squat program and needed something to get me excited about getting under the bar. To say the least, this program lit a fire under me after bombing out on the Hatch squat program.
Bombing out on a strength program (in my case, a 5 lb back squat PR over 12 weeks) can really screw with your mind if you let it. However, I wasn’t going to let it. Time to rise above and get to work.
Squat Every Day, The Program
The basic premise that revolves around “Squat Everyday” is to go heavy everyday. What does it mean to go heavy? Answer is a heavy single for that day.
If you have a back squat 1RM of 400, you may only get up to 360 one day, 380 the next, 350 the next. The point is to work up to a 1RM for the day, hit a few double and triple back off sets and call it after that. A really simple yet effective program.
If you are one who needs more of a structured program, you can have that too. I know I suffer a bit mentally when I have to auto-regulate how far I push myself each day. So to give yourself more of a structured program, you have a couple options:
- Decide on a daily minimum weight you must hit everyday. Make this a weight that will challenge you but a weight you can definitely hit on any given day.
- Hit your chosen minimum weight. If weight goes up smoothly and it doesn’t feel like you just killed yourself, go a little heavier until your technique starts to break.
- Hit 2 sets of 2 for some back-off reps. Choose a weight you can handle. Adjust based on feel. (example, 95% of heavy single)
- Finish up with 2 sets of 3. Adjust based on feel. (example, 90% of heavy single)
- Decide on a daily minimum weight you must hit every day. Make this a weight that will challenge you but a weight you can definitely obtain every time.
- Use Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 methodology to work up to your daily max. On a side note, if you don’t already have Jim’s book, well, shame on you. Get it, read it.Even if you don’t use the program, there are so many nuggets of good information regarding training. You’ll be a better lifter for it. Note: I got the idea to use some sort of 5/3/1 variation from Matt Perryman’s book, “Squat Every Day“.
- Take your 1RM and multiply it by 85% to get your training max.
Below is the formula you would use for a 400 lb back squat. Obviously you need to warm up to the first set of 65% first.
- The idea is to work up to the heaviest weight possible and then back off to around 80-85% for 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps. I usually hit back-off sets of 2*2 at 90% of my training max followed up by 2*3 at 85%.
- Use this as your starting point and every 3 weeks increase your training max by 10 lbs.The motivation here is as you increase your training max that it stays at 85% of your 1RM. You should be striving for this at all times.
Option 2 will give you more of a structure each day and you’ll know exactly what weights to hit. And it’s not set in stone. You can go a little more or a little less based on these percentages but at the very least it gives you a map for your progress.
Regarding the concern of over training, that’s a crock. I will not even bother to entertain this as it is covered in TNation’s article and you can listen to John Broz himself explain his programming style on Barbell Shrugged. For me personally, everyday is leg day and my quads, glutes, hamstrings, knees, calves and ankles thank me for it.
That being said, if you are new to this hardcore style of training, you will be sore for a while. 2-3 weeks in are what is called the dark days because you have to be mentally strong to get under the bar as your body is telling you, “No.” As John Broz states, “How you feel is a lie.”
Look, if you are offended by this type of training, you can move along. This type of training is for the people who aren’t looking for excuses and who want to get strong.
If your concern is the amount of time it takes to perform squats everyday, you should be looking to complete your squat workout within 30 minutes.
This means no talking to the next guy during your workout, getting under the bar, taking your desired rest and then getting back under the bar. For me, I always set a timer to ensure I get this done in 30 minutes. No excuses here, just hard work.
Want more reading on this program? Check out the BreakingMuscle.com article.