Monday, November 29, 2010

I’m Back Squatting Again! (figuratively & literally)

"It's a lifestyle – train like there's no finish line."

My last time back squatting?? Last set 265 X 5… sad I know.


Before last Wednesday it had been 10 months since I had last back squatted. Why? No, it’s not because I work at Boyles, and yes that is me performing the “forbidden” heavy back squat at MBSC in the video below…

There were a few reasons: Last February Kevin and I were training for our first powerlifting meet and we were only competing in a push/pull. So we focused all of our training around the bench & deadlift for 3 months straight. After the meet I took some time off from lifting heavy to let my body heal up after months of pushing it to its limits. This was also around the same time I was about to graduate from college which was one of the craziest time of my life, and it wasn’t because I was busy in my room studying for finals. Then summer rolled around and I decided to switch to front squats to save my back and to train an exercise hard that I had never really trained for before. By the end of the summer after 3 months of training the front squat I hit 245 X 3. Not great, but good considering I started at 185 X 5. Then came the fall when my internship with Boyle’s began, and intern workouts took over my own personal workouts. I had never done so much movement prep, plyometrics, medball work, core work, and single leg work in my entire life!! but I must say it was good for me. I continued to trap bar, bench, military press, and front squat but to a much smaller degree during the internship.


Then came last Saturday when Kevin and I went up to Lebanon, New Hampshire for the Accelerated Strength Seminar. It was here that my romance with the back squat was rekindled. It was my first time under the bar in 10 months and damn did it feel great. Smitty tore my form apart like one my high school English teachers with a red pen, but it was exactly what I needed to get back on the saddle. So what did I do? We'll I took my new found form and the tips I got from the guys in NH and put them into practice… and WOW what a difference!

Here’s what my first squat session in 10 months broke down too:

Warm Up, Foam Roll & Medballs for about 45 min… I wanted to be good and ready to go.

Bar X 5

95 X 5

135 X 5

185 X 5

225 X 3

250 X 1

275 X 1

300 X 1

315 X 1 See Video

335 X 1 See Video

Decided to call it a day.

I hadn’t done over 315 since sophomore year of college when I was doing more of a “lean squat knees forward good morning” type of thing. I was pumped that the squats felt that light and I have Smitty, Joe, and Scott to thank. I will now be back squatting regularly and they will become a staple in my program again along with cleans, deadlifts & presses. Single leg work, push ups, pull ups, chin ups, rows, chops, lifts, kettlebells, and hip lifts will be my main assistance exercises. Now that its winter its time to try and pack on some muscle and get as strong as possible... thanks god for baggy sweatshirts and sweatpants October through March, bulking is never a problem in New England.

Also want to give a shout out to Christine Beauchamp. I came across her blog and an article of hers this weekend Normal Eating . This may be the best article I have ever read on eating decisions and not letting food control your life. While I was on her site I also came across this absolutely AWESOME video of her back squatting 135 with perfect form while some broseph does quarter squats with gloves and the pu**y pad in the back ground while his loser friends bro him on… not shown in the video, at the end of his set the “This Girl Squats Better Then You” police walk over and immediately revoke his man card. This video brings a smile to my face. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and please don’t forget to check out our NEW Online Personal Training Page!

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  1. Do you believe in going below parallel?

  2. haha. Ya. I love that I can squat better than guys :) Keeps my thighs and butt nice and firm.

  3. I'm curious about your thoughts on a weightlifting belt. I'm still in the beginner phase according to Starting Strength though near the tail end, doing 3x5 at 260. What's been giving out is my back.. Should the belt only be used for your heavy singles and maxing out or do you think it can be incorporated into your everyday strenghth work as well?

  4. That dude in the video has a sweet fruit basket...

  5. Also getting back into squats, working the 20 Squat program with a couple of my trainees. Very effective method because you start out light and work on form as you build up over time. Mentally tough also. So far we are showing good strength results without sacraficing form.

    Which will give you more overall benefit, 1/4 squating 225# or full squating 135#?

    What I have found is people get caught up in "how much" instead of "how".

  6. @ Anonymous - I believe that every rep should be parallel or below parallel but not so below parallel that your lower back rounds. So people can go deeper without their back rounding then others. Everyone has different body mechanics. I get right to parallel in both my heavy reps above and will usually get an inch below parallel on my lighter sets but if I go too far down my back begins to round.

    @ Amanda - Girls who back squats always have the nicest legs and nicest butt... coincident? I think not.

    @ Jason - This is a highly debated topic. I personally only use a belt for my last 2 or 3 sets. I never use it for warm ups, light weights, or high reps. So in my workout above I used a belt on 300, 315, and 335. You can ask this question to 100 strength coaches and get 100 different answers. This is how I do it, and it's the same for my deadlift, and military press. I do not use it for any other exercises then those 3.

    @ Kevin - Your fruit basket was much too close to my squat when I hit depth... I think thats why I blasted the weights up so fast... NO MUSCLE TO SHOW

    @ Al - great to hear your getting back into back squats as well... and FULL squatting will always trump quarter squats. And the "how much" instead of "how" is something as coaches we struggle with everyday and always will for EVERY exercise. It your job as a coach to rein your athletes in and make them do it right. Great stuff Al.

    Thanks for all the comments. Keep em coming people!

  7. good post and good links! KCarr, you're pushing the limits of heterosexuality with the fruit basket so close to Brendon while you spot him hahaha


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