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Build More Mass with this Power Squat Workout

Posted in: Training Articles, Articles by ProSource
By John Davies - Chat with Coach Davies on the ProSource Fitness Forum | Sep 14, 2009

Build More image Despite being overly mythologized in the fitness media, the "Iron Game" is relatively simple. It might not sound "exciting" but effective resistance training consists of either Pushing, Pulling, Squatting or Pressing movements. Add to the mix Reaching, Lunging and Extending and you've gone a long way to summarizing important resistance work. Pardon my sardonic tone but couple in the idea that you're either raising, lowering or keeping a weight steady, and you have "revolutionized" the way you look at the iron game today by returning to a simpler time when a remarkably simple approach, applied correctly, was unsurpassed in effectiveness.

Given that many within the Iron Game are concerned with developing muscle mass, the route to achieving this goal is not through endless isolation exercises but the hearty movements that stimulate the largest amount of growth per exercise. While many will do what they can to avoid it, there is one exercise more than all others that can put muscular development on the fast track. Long-time readers of mine will be unsurprised when I reveal that the Squat rack is the answer. To kick start your mass development goals of 2009/2010, its time to take back the squat racks with a devilish workout that I have used for few decades now, to pronounced effect.

This past year the program, with a few special updates, was deployed at the institution of a coaching colleague who I have enormous respect for. Concerned with the lack of lower body size and strength in his (football) interior line and "big skill" positions that he inherited, this program was instituted at the start of winter off-season (read, the day following the end of the season) with superb results.

From the get-go the workout is distinguishable from others because you are required to perform two workouts per day, each day of the week with a third workout on two separate days for an alarming sixteen training sessions over a seven day span. Clearly the demands are heavy, but excluding travel time to the weight room, workouts are short, fast and direct to the point. Workouts must be arranged with a minimum of four to six hours between sessions, making a strong organizational sense paramount to its success. The theory of the training session makes use of perfecting the "skill" of lifting and creating an over-compensatory effect of the total body adjusting to heightened workloads that will prove highly effective over a four week window. It is highly advisable that this type of training model is be used beyond that time frame as the athlete will acclimate to the program and, as the law of diminishing returns notes, the training effect will diminish greatly.

The program will make use of two basic movements; Squats (see "Squat Power, part I") and Snatch-grip Deadlifts, with Bulgarian Squats, Russian Split Jumps (see "Unilateral Leg Work" for both), Single-Leg Reverse Box Squats (eccentric loaded), Box Squats (with some qualifications), Good-Morning Squats, Glute Ham Raises (natural see "Squat Power part III" and the RED2 / DMC program found in the "In Search of Power" series.

Should you require convincing of the program's track record, including the recent adjustment to it, the institution that used in last year, besides heading to a very prominent Bowl game, had extraordinary success and boasted twenty-pound increases in lean muscle mass among those who used the program. Considering these were already highly advanced athletes, this bodes well for dedicated bodybuilders, more inclined to maintaining strict diet and lowering any sprint (or cardio) demands.

Within each of these days, dynamic range of motion work must be performed, either through hurdle mobility drills or the very easy to manage walking lunging movements from the RED2 program found in "In Search of Power, part 2".

Day 1
Squats (medium to wide base, feet pointed straight ahead): 3 sets x 5 reps x 50% Bulgarian Squats; 3 sets x 5 reps x 30%. Please make sure that in the base - lowest position of the lift the lead shin is approximately perpendicular to the floor with the trailing knee near the ground. This will require the athlete to step forward considerably and most likely take a longer step than typical. (see "Squat Power part VI" for additional details)

Note: Alternatively I will use a Box Squat (with the same protocols) to a ten-inch depth with the athlete taking a wide base that is roughly that of a standard squat rack. At the time of this writing this is considerably difficult for most athletes as they do not have sufficient hip and hamstring flexibility as well as core strength and tend to lean forward as a "torso squat", effectively negating the intended benefit.

Single-Leg Reverse Box Squats: 3 sets x 5 reps x 30%.  It is important to note that this is absolutely not a basic single-leg bodyweight squat, typically termed a "pistol squat". To perform this movement, place back of heel against box which is at knee height or above. The key to this movement is that the knee does not "tuck" inside, a sign of hip strength and flexibility issues and the height of the box should be set no lower when this occurs. With one leg raised as in Rx position 2, push butt back to box, drive leg off ground back to starting position and repeat with opposite leg. In the preferred "eccentric loaded variation" place a barbell on back, "reach" buttocks back as you eccentrically lower weight and once the engaged on the box bring leg foot to ground, stand-up and repeat. (see "Unilateral Leg Work"). For those progressing in this movement, one option is to grasp the lead foot with both hands as you eccentrically lower to the box.

Squats (medium to wide base): 3 sets x 4 reps x 75%

Bulgarian Squats; 3 sets x 4 reps x 75%. As opposed to AM version, the walk forward is roughly 4-6 inches shorter so that in the lowest position the knee is in line with the lead toe.

Single-Leg Reverse Box Squats: 3 sets x 5 reps x 75%. As opposed to AM version the box which is 3-4” above knee height.

Day 2

same as session a.m. session Day 1

same as mid-day session Day 1 except loading is 50%

Day 3

same as a.m. session day 2


same as midday session day 2


Pause Squat (wider base) six sets x 3 reps @ 80% 
(week 2 82.5% max, week 3 perform 5 sets x 5 @ 85%, week 4 perform 3 sets x 5 @ 87.5%)

Snatch Grip Deadlift 3 sets x 3 reps 85-90%

Russian Split Jumps 2 sets x 3 reps (each leg)
Good Morning Squat 2 sets x 3 reps 85-90%
Natural Glute Ham Raise 2 sets x 3 reps 85-90%

Following this section, optimally the athlete should go through a section from DMC  performed with the template from "In Search of Power, part 6") best for the purposes of this article.

Day 4 - repeat day 2

Day 5 - repeat day 1

Day 6 - Saturday
repeat day a.m. session day 1


repeat day a.m. session day 2


Dead-stop Squat (wide-base with pins set such that upper thigh is parallel to ground) 5 sets x 3 reps 85%
(week 2 increase load to 87.5% max, week 3 perform 5 sets x 3 reps @ 90%, week 4 perform 5 sets x 2 reps @ 92.5%)

Snatch Grip Deadlift 3 sets x 3 reps 85-90%

Russian Split Jumps 2 sets x 3 reps (each leg)
Good Morning Squat 2 sets x 3 reps 85-90%
Natural Glute Ham Raise 2 sets x 3 reps 85-90%

Following this section, optimally the athlete should go through a section from DMC  performed with the template from "In Search of Power, part 6  best for the purposes of this article.

Day 7 - repeat day 1


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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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