By Patrick Striet ProSource
I know what you’re thinking: “Great, another article about squats . . . yawn.”
Before you close this training article down and check out what your ex is doing on Facebook (assuming she hasn’t blocked you yet), give me a chance to “wow” you. I’ve always felt if you squatted hard and heavy, and gave it your all, you’d have little energy left to devote to anything else, and, let’s face it, no amount of lunges, leg extensions or leg curls is going to trump hard work on the king of all exercises.
When I see programs (ghost) written which list moderate to high repetition squats, taken to failure, and then 27 sets of other lower body exercises, I always call BS. If you squat hard and heavy, little else will be productive or possible.
With the above being said, instead of worrying about designing the perfect lower body workout, complete with 14 different variations of exercises which pale in comparison to the squat, just give this routine a try as a change of pace. It consists of 1 exercise — squats — and you won’t even have to leave the power rack. In fact, you likely won’t be able to, when it’s all said and done.
Before hitting this workout, make sure you do all the boring stuff: foam roll, stretch, dynamic drills, etc. You might also want to power up with a potent pre-workout performance maximizer, as well. I like 2 scoops of BioQuest’s AndroFury, which will definitely amp you up for the brutally hard work ahead. Once prepped and pepped, give what’s below “a go”:
Exercise 1: Anderson Front Squats 1×10+
Anderson squats involve a dead stop on the pins for a full second on each rep. Set the pins in the rack to the lowest possible safe position FOR YOU. If you have the mobility to squat deep, do it. If not, set the pins at a point just before your pelvis begins to tuck under you.
In either case, you will want to do low -rep, ramp-up sets building up to a 10 RM. I also like to include a single rep at about 10% more than my 10 RM to take advantage of post-activation potentiation prior to going all out on my 10 RM set. The 10 RM set will feel lighter than normal because your nervous system is primed.
Go all out on this set and make sure you are pausing for a full count on the pins. If you have more than 10 reps in you, do them. Once you complete the set, rest 3 minutes and move to exercise 2.
Exercise 2: Anderson Back Squats 1×10+
After your 3-minute rest from the Anderson front squats, I want you to use the same weight and do a set of Anderson back squats. Again, try to shoot for 10 reps. If you only get 7 or 8, that’s okay, and it signifies you really gave it your all on the first set. If you can get more than 10 reps, go for it. After this set, again, rest 3 minutes and move to exercise 3.
Exercise 3: Partial Anderson Front Squats 1×5+
This time, I want you to move the pins in the rack up several notches. This is going to be an individual thing, and you’ll have to auto-regulate based on fatigue from the first 2 sets, but you get the gist. Again, use the same weight from the first 2 sets and try to get 5 or more reps at this higher setting. Once again, rest 3 minutes and proceed to exercise 4.
Exercise 4: Partial Anderson Back Squats 1×5+
You are probably catching on by now. Use the same weight and perform 5 or more all-out reps at the same partial setting you used in exercise 3, but, this time, perform back squats again. At this point, if you picked the right weight and gave it your all, you are probably smoked. However, pull it together, and, after another 3 minute rest, move to exercise 5.
Exercise 5: Back Squat Stage Reps
This is the finale. This time, we ditch the Anderson style paused squats and just perform a normal full squat, with a caveat: you are going to perform them in stages. In regards to weight selection, I’d suggest reducing the weight from the first 4 sets by about 20% (this may be more or less on an individual basis). So, if you were using 225 lbs. for the 1st 4 sets, I’d use about 185 lbs. here. For stage reps, I want you to do 5 reps from the top position to the mid position, focusing on tension, not locking out, and transitioning smoothly. After you’ve performed 5 reps, immediately perform 5 more from the mid position to the bottom position. Finally, DO AS MANY FULL SQUATS AS YOU CAN.
That’s it. 5 sets. Workout complete. If you want to do anything else, you didn’t do it right. Warm-up and warm-up sets included, you should be in and out (or crawling out) of the gym in under 40 minutes. Due to the harsh nature of this workout, I wouldn’t do it more than once a month. Make note of the 10 RM weight you used on the first set, jot it down, and when you do the routine again, try to break the rep record or use a little more weight for the same number of reps.
To wrap up, let me reiterate, you don’t need 10 different exercises and 30 sets to get an extremely productive workout. Sometimes, it’s best to devote all of your energy to one single exercise and work it as hard as you can, leaving nothing in the tank. The next time you hit the gym to train lower body, adopt this mindset, set up shop in the power rack and give this sick squat session a try . . . you won’t be disappointed. Stay strong and live fit!