No more squats for me!!

I just returned to running after a lengthy battle with a torn/injured hamstring.

I rehabbed for almost a year and a did a ton of strength training to get things strong again.

I used to incorporate squats after speedwork and found recovery between sessions brutal and CNS fatique was always high. (resting heart rate in the morning was elevated, twitching eyelids etc)

Since coming back I have been doing the following and have felt GREAT!

Monday - REST

Tuesday - CNS Workout 1: Short speed/weights
5 x 80m shooting for hitting top speed at ~60-70 meters (ham can’t handle short speed out of the blocks yet)
5 x 30m running A’s
4 sets stepups to high box
3 sets reverse hypers

Wednesday - Recovery (Pool) or Tempo
8 x 45 seconds running in the deep end
3 x B drills
3 x leg swings
static stretching

4 x 4 x 100m with 45 seconds rest and pushups/situps between sets

Thursday - CNS Workout 2 Thursday: Long speed/weights
4 x 200 8-10 minutes rest. Relaxed and fast (90%)
4 sets stepups to high box (8 reps per leg) or lunges with dumbells
optional 4 sets hamcurls (two per leg for rehab)
3 sets explosive calf raise
3 sets reverse hypers (8-10 reps)

Friday - Tempo
4 x 4 x 100 on grass with 45 seconds between reps @65% very light and easy. Some static stretching between sets
10 minutes on bike with intervals with core work (med ball, leg raises, weighted incline situps etc)

Saturday - REST

Sunday CNS Workout 3: Circuits with plyo component (Giant Set x 2 with 90 seconds rest)
Burpees (20)
Pushups (25)
Situps (40)
Squat Jumps (20)
Floppy fish
Lunge walk (15 meters then turn around and 15 meters back)
Alt knee situps (40)
pushups (25)
Duck Walk (same as lunge walk)
90 seconds rest

By dropping squats I feel like I can get 3 quality CNS workouts a week in easily without feeling fatigued. My strength stats before running again were:

full squat RAW: 340
bench: 265
deadlift: 425

I am going to stick with this for a while and see what happens. Testing the 200m soon and see where it is. I think until my ham gets used to the short stuff again I am going to train like a 200m runner. (I need the fitness work anyways)

Anyone here find squats with speedwork was too much? BTW I am only a recreational runner, not competitive.


As far as the squats and speedwork question, i think i can handle it pretty well. Although, when stress is high, it think it might become an issue. It is the squats on SE2 days that really kill me. :slight_smile:

One thing of note, i am not a 100 guy (i am currently training for the 400), so my CNS might not be developed enough for this to be an issue.

It’s most probably the intensity and volume that’s the problem, not the exercise.

Alternatively place the squats at the end of the week then u get more recovery time.

Different strokes for different folks. I really think that the issue of “I have to squat, as it is the big daddy of all strength exercises” is a fallacy now days with all of the alternatives and data available. It is; a) A damn hard exercise to perfect, and to consistantly perform this exercise incorrectly will do more harm than good, and; b) The time spent (and maybe wasted, if that is your thinking process) persevering with this exercise could be better spent (maybe not as efficiently, the purists would say) performing strength training that in the long run will acheive results somewhat similar (and maybe somewhat safer). Unfortunately we are not all full-time athletes who can spend hours perfecting the “perfect” training program.

Hey Chris, as I’ve mentioned to you in the past, weight workouts in season for some masters guys, especially squats, can fry us. Solution for me [which seems to be the same conclusion you may be arriving at], is to treat squats like a speed workout. I train speed twice per week. That means either 2 track workouts and no squats, or 1 track day and 1 day squats. My strength doesn’t go down and I’m still achieving PB’s. Only way my hams don’t blow. Squats on track day like the young guys? Not a chance!

Chris appears to have replaced squats with step ups. Whilst it is possible that step ups reduce CNS stress, I would argue that if anything, the latter exercise (due to the reduced stability) is more complex and carries greater inherent risk.

Remember also, with step ups the load is reduced but the volujme performed by the stabilizing muscles (i.e. erectors) is doubled! Also, the reduced stability will inhibit optimum force production.

I also think the: Track; Weights; Tempo/Rest etc approach recommended by Jonny would be a good option.

The stepups are fairly lightweight though. (I rarely go over 185 for them)

I think the problem is my total CNS pool of energy is lower than it used to be. A good heavy squat session can knock me out for 4 days or longer. Deadlifts sometimes take a week to ten days to recover fully from if I go really heavy. (95% of 1RM)

I am just going to concentrate on getting my fitness and speed endurance/dynamic strength up and then look at making changes as the phase progresses. I dont have a strength problem really so I think I need to concentrate on the other side of the curve and get that back up to where it should be :slight_smile:

It’s all an experiment and for fun so we’ll see what happens. So far though I feel great.



Keep up the good work. You have a tough schedule and you still manage to train. Good job man!!!

Just throwing some ideas out…

Have you ever thought about doing light loads as fast as possible. Something like squating 80% of your body wieght and getting 5 squats in 8 seconds? I did this type of stuff and to be honest it worked better for me than heavy wieghts. When I trained like this I also did really light harness runs up to 40m all out from the blocks and tons of ins and outs (30m drive 30 Stride 30m Lift) and (30m fast 30m easy 30m fast)…

Oh another good one was 10 bounds then sprint 50m…


Thanks man :slight_smile: Those are good ideas you have posted there. I have to keep the distances up a bit though till the ham feels completely good again. Lowest distance for me is going to be around 60-80 meters at ~95%.

I will definitely include work similar to that as my fitness/elastic strength improves :slight_smile:

If you say that squatting knocks you out for 4 days or more, then I have to wonder if you warm up properly and get enough sleep + protein.

Now when I say warm up properly, I dont mean this:
Bar x 8
135 x 8
185 x 8
225 x 8
250 x 8
275 x 8
315 x 8 workset

I have seen too many people doing crazy warm ups and when they get to their workset they are drained, pushing through 2 or 3 worksets and then proceed being sore for days on end.

I would Adapt a workout to look like something a powerlifter would do to warmup on a max attempt.


Now this cuts you reps and total load down, but you end up doing your quality work set while saving your energy.

IMO it only takes 1 good work set to maintain and even build strength to a degree.

I think cutting squats in season is a bad idea that might lead to pulled muscles.

Your second example more closely mirrors mine.

I do full OLY backsquats (ass to ankles)

Typical warmup is the following for a near max workout with NO running component that day

Bike ten minutes, light stretching (dynamic and static) etc
No wraps or belt.

135 for 5
185 for 3
225 for 2-3
275 for 1
315 for 1
340 for 1
225 for 3

Another workout might do 5 x 3 with 245 explosively with 90 seconds to 2 minutes rest.


yea i noticed that doing squats on a monday kills the rest of my week. My legs hurt for days and are stiff. on my squat days i also do good mornings leg curls and swiss ball one leg squats. From now one they will be done at the end of the week.

Looking at your programme i’m not suprised your cns is drained for days. You’re doing a lot of heavy singles there which are gonna stress you cns big time.

I would drop down to something like 3 x 4 and you need to use some form of buffer to regulate the work.

Also your workout is nothing like throwers suggestion man. The point of throwers warm up is you are doing less reps with less weight than your work set(s), it is really an aclimatisation to the weight than a ‘warm-up’ whilst minimising work load and it’s assoiciated stress. I personally would suggest more than one set, remember you are training the nervous system -> motor units and practice makes perfect, i.e. more sets = more learning time. The key is to balance the No. of sets against the stress they impart with more sets the better.

You need to select a suitable buffer that allows you to do an optimum number of sets that also allows you adequate recovery time.

I’m not saying squats are the be all and end all but i don’t think it’s the excercise that’s the problem, more the way the workouts have been structured.


The workout I listed was while I was OFF running. ie: NO running whatsoever.

When I was running I would do:

3-4 sets of backsquats at 80% 1RM for triples :slight_smile:

No heavy singles when doing track work


Whoah! The squat is a difficult exercise? First of all. There are about a million ways to squat. Second. The squat is one of the simplest exercises in existance. Anyone who can’t learn the squat has no business sprinting. Certainly an easier exercise to teach than the hang clean or snatch. Stop whining about the exercise. The way it is performed has far more to do with any problems you run into. Volume? Intensity? Recovery protocols? Maybe you’re spending too much time in the speed work. 2 sessions a week is plenty for most.

rehab the ham, bring the squats back along slowly, ull b fine…adjust volume and intensity to suit…id suggest reading up on"bullet proofing" your muscles, people who ahve done it swear by it, i cant remember the name of the oly lifter but she did this procedue, 100 leg curls with a 3 lb ankle weight everydays and said if she didnt do them shed tear her hams…ive had no prob but mayb it can help u…

“Bulletproofing” the hams with curls?

it doesnt have to be leg curls, but this is what she said in an old video, it can really b n e exercise, light weight tons of reps, like 3x30 w/ a light load…this was the post…
“i actually got bullet proofing from a really old louie simmons video…this video was the first sqaut video ever it wasfrom the early 90’s maybe the late 80’s even…it actually talked about a female olympic lifter who did 100 leg curls with a ankle weight on 3 times a day every day…she said if she didnt do this within a week she would pull a hammie”