20 rep sqauts

how would theses affect my athletic perfomance. i ma gonna do theses so i can gain weight fast

i do 50 rep quarter squats once a month as described by joe defranco (first 10 finish on toes, next 10 flat footed, next 10 finish on toes, etc)
with my full squat max weight. this has increased my vertical a lot (combined with other stuff as well,) maybe 3 or 4 inches.

Something you do once a month is responsible for an increase in your vertical? Are you sure? Aren’t you doing anything else?

Depending on how hard they are on the body and how different they are to the rest of the programme, it’s quite possible that the shock could cause a rapid over compensation to all training elements. Often when an athlete switches coaches (who have very different training systems) you see a very rapid improvement followed by a slight plateau for this very reson.

20rep squats? A recipe for muscle soreness

20 rep squats are usually associated with the Hardgainer/HIT/Leistener style of training. i used to believe their training philosophy because for me it made sense (at the time) that the harder the training the better the results, until i learned and became wiser. I would not do these at all now. They are far better at building will power than strength/power/speed/muscle (although 20 rep squats will add muscle). The returns will not be great due to the low intensity of the exercise (yes, i define intensity as the % of 1rm, not how close one takes a set to failure) because you will be forced to use a low percentage of your 1rm.
20 rep squats will NOT make you a functional athlete. They are so demanding that you will feel really tired in the days after performing them (this will definitely affect your life outside the gym- they are that demanding), you won’t feel like doing any other training,and not only that but even if you do have the desire to do sprint or other kinds of training, you won’t be able to because as David W says, 20 rep squats are a recipe for muscle soreness. You will literally ruin your athletic career doing these. Your power to bodyweight ratio will remain almost stagnant. 20 rep squats are not good for serious athletes. Also if you are a sprinter you should not be trying to add muscle anyway, because this will also interfere negatively with your power to bodyweight ratio. It is power/speed/strength we are after, not muscle. Remember the goal is to have the smallest car with the biggest/fastest engine.This translates to speed. If you really must add muscle, then do sets of five reps (no higher) because the weight used will be fairly close to your 1rm, but do plenty of sets (volume) so that the cumilative effect will tear down some muscle. The five rep sets will still influence athletic attributes such as strength and power. Remember you don’t have to (and indeed you shouldn’t) take any of these sets to failure in order to build muscle.
I hope my two penneth has helped.

I see these 20 rep squat workouts advocated by many ‘hardgainer’ style programs. Personally I’d stay the hell away from them, they provide a more cardiovascular/ endurance based workout than anything else. Certainly not a great strength builder in my opinion. It may indeed cause hypertrophy in some individuals, but whether any athletic improvement develops as a consequence is another matter.

Would you guys also avoid performing depletion/fatigue pushups etc.?

You’re aproaching it entirely from the wrong angle, falling into the trap that weight training is purely for maximum muscular strength with no other applications. Think for a second what benefits an athlete could derive from doing such work instead of focussing on the negative. Put this into the perspective of a full programme - not an all or nothing perspective which is becoming common place on here.

It’s quite possible that these weights could play an important role in the development of an athlete. However for these benefits to become apparent you will need to change your attitude towards training systems and abandon the same dogmatic approach that ha let systems such as HIT and Hardgainer down.

There are so few absolutes. Above are many good arguments against 20 rep squats. But as Dazed said, it depends on your goals (loosely interpreted).

I had an athlete on a hypertrophy program for 6 weeks this spring and we used breathing squats and deadlifts (2 sets of 20) with other lifts and set/rep schemes. It was a hypertrophy program by Ian King that was published on T Mag´s site. This particular athlete gained weight/muscle through training, good eating plan, supplements (ZMA, Glutamine, Creatine) and reduced sprinting (he is not a sprinter, but needs speed in his sport). After the first week he had little soreness and was able to improve his technique in his sport-related movements. He gained approx 4 kg in this time, and he has gained about 6 kg total since April. His power has increased, and most of his max lifts as well.

It is very tough to say that a particular program in any circumstance will definitely NOT work.

the 50 reps do shock my system as i usually perform lower reps. Its a change of pace and i have noticed good results from inserting them into my program. only once a month though.

Something I’ve been advocating all along…Not because one doesn’t like it mean it’s useless.

Btw, Clemson, you’re right! “Rule #1 never get high on your own supply.” Off subject, but I couldn’t comment on your statement in a close thread :cool:

I’m all in favour of variability of training load, which is a means of “shocking” the body from a plateau (a training PB is just such a “shock”) but I wouldn’t equate that with the kind of shock ideas often written up in muscle mags, which can cause prolonged muscle soreness and increase the risk of injury. Because I favour general strength development, I restrict depletions to the upper body to greatly diminish the injury risk. Certainly weights and/or pulleys could be used along with free-body exercises and med ball work. If working with weights, I would keep it light.

Often, when an athlete switches to a coach with a radically different approach, results drop for a while (unless the previous program was bad)

Charlie you do believe in lower body calisteinics though? What are some type of reps and set schemes would you do for bodyweight squats?

We never did body weight squats per-se but we did incorporate “around the body” rotations with the med ball with up to 30 reps per side (looks like a hammer throw motion)

It’s ok to be dogmatic when you have uncovered the truth through both experience and knowledge! First of all let me say that ANY kind of training will produce results to some extent, in comparison to being in an untrained state. However, the HIT garbage etc is not a recipe for continued successful training. Their training does NOT make them athletic in any sense of the word. Mike Thompson (one of the sensible Hardgainer authors) made this same point himself, by stating that in his 25 years plus of strength coaching/training he had never seen HIT style training work beyond the beginners phase Do you honestly think that paul Anderson for example could have squatted 1000lb+ IN THE MID 1950’s by doing 2 sets x 20 reps to failure twice per week. Anybody who thinks so needs to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act!
Of course i would avoid performing depletion/fatigue pushups! The attributes that strength/power athletes are training for are developed best by avoiding fatigued states. Performing exercises in fatigued states causes hypertrophy, stiffness, slower training speeds, muscle soreness,etc. The former Russian coach Dr Tabachnik stated that his biggest criticism of western training was that athletes train far too hard; fatigued muscles are not capable of fast and powerful contractions. Fatigue push ups and 20 rep squats whilst not only being poor choices for reaching one’s goals in the weightroom, will cause enough soreness and fatigue to prevent quality speed work being done for several days afterwards. One of the key variables to successful training programs is regularity, how on earth can you perform regular and quality workouts when you are still knackered from performing non- functional ones that place enormous stress on ones recovery ability?You can’t.

I’m glad i’m approaching it from the ‘wrong angle’ and falling into the ‘trap’ that weights are just for increasing maximum strength and power, because in my opinion they are. Respected strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline has made exactly this point. Trust me, i have thought about the benefits of performing 20 rep squats for an athlete and i am not just focusing on the negative. I myself performed 20 rep squats for 3 years when i first started training, so i know from experience what i am speaking of. Experience taught me this- every drop in reps i made resulted in greater strength/power and less post- workout fatigue, allowing me to perform better in my track workouts. If it was a case of nothing or 20 rep squats then of course i would choose the latter, it’s not that i am trying to score points off people who advocate these. The point is that there are far better PROVEN methods for sprinters, that don’t interfere with their other training. There are no benefits that 20 rep squats can give that can’t be achieved better by something else. The negatives of 20 rep squats FAR outweigh it’s positives. 20 reps is a very poor number (too high) for developing strength/power and is a very poor number for muscular endurance (too low). You will end up achieving very little, other than being good at the specific task of performing 20 rep squats. It’s like some idiots i know who because they box say that they need to keep their reps around 15 reps in the weightroom because they need arm endurance for boxing and they don’t want to get stiff from performing low reps. What nonsense! As Tsatsouline advises boxers/martial artists, use weights for developing strength and power and go and develop your punching endurance by punching bags/pads etc. These guys achieve neither strength/power or punching endurance.The same applies here, if you want sprint speed endurance get it on the track, because you will not get it by performing 20 rep squats. The muscle ‘endurance’ you develop will have little relevance on the track, you will just become good at performing 20 rep squats.

I agree with you that it is wrong to rule everything out and that things that i rule out MAY have a contribution to make (definitely not worth the trade off in my opinion) in the overall programme, but for athletes who have work/school committments it is counter productive to place excessive demands on one’s recovery ability and the time allocated for training. Even if one had all the time in the world to train i still think 20 rep squats would be a poor waste of training time and may be counter productive due to the fatigue and soreness that they create.

We have many factors here and I see points that have very little specifics! Sounds like Monday morning quarterbacks!

What athletes-

What age-

What training background-

I have young elite swimmers in high school that do depletion leg work for work capacity and hypertophy while doing powerball throws to feed the nervous system the right message…but my elite sprinters post college did very little leg circuit work but all of that type of training was done early in the fall.

My feelings track should do far less and doesn’t need it…swimmers should investigate it.

Rob, All you have achieved in your post is confirmation that you are incapable of looking at things in terms of possibilities. No capacity of original thinking all you have posted are generalities and thought where they wouldn’t work rather than where they could.
Again you are guilty of spouting doctrine without first looking at context.

Tell me you say that the author Mike Thompson believes the HIT system (not advocating HIT just using it as an example) does not work beyond beginning athletes, yet you don’t explain what “work” is. Whether something works or not is relative to what you’re trying to achieve. With these types of squats we would not be attempting to directly to achieve a 1000 pound squat, peaking for a competetition or be in the midst of heavy sprint training. We would be trying to lay the foundation for later training gains.

You make the statement:

“Experience taught me this- every drop in reps i made resulted in greater strength/power and less post- workout fatigue, allowing me to perform better in my track workouts.”

May be true of your experience, however can you be entirely sure that performing 20 rep squats to start with didn’t set you up for these later strength gains? No there is no way you can be, so there is no reason to rule them out of the equasion.

The problem you have in regards to weight training and your approach to different different systems is illustrated by the fact that you did only 20 rep squats for 3 years. It sounds like you not lacked variety, you did not add progression - an “All or none” approach, which will inevitably end in fail.

Rob, do you periodise your weight training?

There are benefits in many different methods of weight training. However, the worst thing you can do is find one method that works really well and stick with it all the time. After a while, somehow, it mysteriously stops working really well anymore.

I know that there are benefits from performing other types of weight training, but my goal is to improve my power/strength to bodyweight ratio. I am aware that olympic weightlifting combined with it’s assistance exercises has by far the most efficient protocols when it comes to achieving a better ratio. I believe there are far too many people, including many on this board, who try to complicate and confuse the issue to make themselves look like smart guys (i am not reffering to yourself). All i am interested in is results and progress, and this is best achieved by sticking to the tried and tested programs of world class weightlifters of the 1950s. Their training was laughably simple yet they achieved levels of strength and power that would make all but the strongest of today look like pygmies in comparison. Check out naturalstrength.com and look in the history section at the routines of the old timers like Davis, Anderson, Hepburn, Kono, Schemansky etc (funnily enough the guy who runs the website is a HIT guy, so i completely ignore current training advice on there. He has the right exercises down- compound, but is way off when it comes to rep selection, training frequency and avoidance of muscular failure. You would think he would be influenced by the old timers that he looks upto, ALL of whom state in their old books/articles from wayback that one should resist going to ones limit in training).
I do sort of periodise my weight training, but not in the manner that i think you are reffering to. If i hit a brick wall and cannot progress, before i change my routine i will eat and sleep/rest more to make sure it is not a recovery issue (more often than not it is). I will also lower the weight by 10% and build back up. If after all this i am still in the same position, i will take one week off training and start a new training period with different exercises. As it is known that training in the 1-5 rep zone has the most effect on fast twitch fibre, strength and power, i would never use stagnation as an excuse to do the high rep garbage. But you are correct, at times a lack of progress will cause me to alter things in my training. These are likely to be exercises, rep speed, training frequency etc. I do change reps however, but it’s not a dramatic change like doing 20 rep squats or anything like that. I may go from doing 10 sets x 1 rep at 95%, to 5 sets x 2 reps at 90% or even 3 sets x 5 reps at 82.5%, etc.
My motto is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.