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Presently I high-bar olympic-style squat twice per week. My one rep max is about 335 lbs with "shaky" form, which I think is not bad, but not excellent for my height and weight (6'1", 200 lbs). I'm looking to start getting comfortable with doing three plates plus for reps with solid form.

Presently my program is Wendler 5/3/1 with an extra squat day. I've been using it with good success for about four or five months now, but my squat gains seem to be tapering off. I think I need to add more volume. In the past I've tried Bulgarian style training (squatting to max at least once a day), but as a natural lifter, it became too difficult to recover for me after a couple of months.

I'm willing to put the rest of my gains on hold in favor of increasing my squat. What would be a good program to get my squats up?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can try Smolov method for squating

How Smolov Works

The Russian Smolov Squat routine is split into 3 phases for a total of 13 weeks. As always, start with a weight you're 100% sure you can Squat instead of starting too heavy and hitting plateaus. The 4 Smolov cycles.

Weeks 1-2 - introduction cycle to prepare your legs. Week 1 you Squat 3 day in a row working up towards heavy singles, rest of the week is stretching to speed up leg recovery. Week 2 you Squat every other day.

Week 3-6 - the base cycle where you'll Squat 4x/week for 3 weeks. 4 sets of 9 reps Monday, 5x7 Wednesday, 7x5 Friday, and 10x3 reps Saturday. The weight increases each workout, each week. Week 4 is a rest week where you'll only Squat once and attempt to break your PR.

Week 7-8 - the switching cycle is a 2 week deload to give you a well deserved physical and mental break before the next cycle.

Week 9-13 - the intensity cycle where you'll only Squat 3x/week, but 44% of the time it will be using weights between 81 and 90% of your maximum... and for 4 weeks on. Most guys agree this is the hardest part of Smolov. Week 5 you attempt to break your previous Squat PR.

Do NOT Deadlift with Smolov. One, it would mess with your Squats. Two, Squats work similar muscles as Deadlifts, so it will almost always increase anyway. Just do some Bench Press, Pull-ups, band pull-aparts and lots of stretching.

The full routine is as follows (taken from this article, which offers a lot of good advice):

Week 1
Day 1 – 3 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%
Day 2 – Exactly the same as day 1
Day 3 – 4 x 5 @ 70%, 1 x 3 @ 75%, 2 x 2 @ 80%, 1 x 1 @90%

Week 2
Day 1 – 1 x 5 @ 80%
Day 2 – 1 x 5 @ 82.5%
Day 3 – 1 x 5 @ 85%

Week 3
Monday – 4 x 9@ 70%
Wednesday - 5 x 7@ 75%
Friday – 7 x 5@80%
Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85%

Week 4
Monday – 4 x 9@70 + 20 pound increase from Week 3
Wednesday - 5 x 7@ 75% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
Friday – 7 x 5@80% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 20 pound increase from Week 3

Week 5
Monday – 4 x 9@70 + 30 pound increase from Week 3
Wednesday - 5 x 7@ 75% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
Friday – 7 x 5@80% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 30 pound increase from Week 3

Week 6
Monday & Wednesday – Rest
Friday – Work up to max single
Saturday – Work up to max single

Week 7 & 8
Deload with no recommended rep scheme. Keep max loads below 60% 1RM and don't go to failure. Rest.

Week 9
Monday – 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 75%, 3 x 4@ 85%, 1 x 5@ 90%
Wednesday – 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@ 90%, 2 x 5@ 85%
Saturday – 1 x 4@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 70%, 5 x 4@ 80%

Week 10
Monday – 1 x 4@ 60%, 1 x 4@70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@90%, 2 x 4@ 90%
Wednesday – 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 3 x 3@ 90%, 1 x 3@ 95%
Saturday – 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 85%, 4 x 5@ 90%

Week 11
Monday – 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
Wednesday - 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 3@ 95%
Saturday - 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 4 x 3@ 95%

Week 12
Monday – 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
Wednesday – 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 4 x 3@ 95%
Saturday – 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 80%

Week 13
Monday – 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 5@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 95%
Wednesday – 1 x 4@ 75%, 4 x 4@ 85%
Sunday – Max attempt

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Thanks! This is the kind of material I was looking for. I added the full routine to your answer, feel free to roll back my edit if you'd rather I hadn't. –  Doc Jan 13 at 21:31
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A friend works like that sometimes :

you start squating arround 200lbs, maybe less, maybe more, you adapt !

1 rep
1 min rest
2 reps
1 min rest
3 reps
1 min rest
...
10 reps
30 sec rest
11 reps
30 sec rest
...
until you fail.

he only uses this exercice for "leg day", there's no leg extension and whatelse.. Don't increase weight.

good luck

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I totally fail to see how your friend's bodybuilding program using a squat of 200 pounds is going to help the OP, who is looking to increase his squat 1RM above 335 pounds. It looks like a great leg hypertrophy program though! –  Dave Liepmann Jan 11 at 8:18
    
Thanks for the suggestion, e1che! I've done sessions like that for conditioning and they really work great for hypertrophy (they're called death by clean and jerk, or death by "whatever"). There's a really impressive video of Mikko Salo using that rep scheme here. However, I'm looking for a more formulaic workout to get my 1RM up, as Dave mentioned. –  Doc Jan 11 at 18:50
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I found the Starting Strength method of squatting a good way to increase my squats. You do a 3x5 workout and add 5 lbs each session. Emphasis is on proper form.

It's natural to hit a plateau as your body gets accustomed to the work you're doing. The solution to this is to do a reset: drop the weight by 10% and continue your workouts from there. You'll drive past the plateau in a couple of weeks. You'll end up plateauing again in the future, and can do the reset again.

Once you've done two resets and stall again then you should be squatting considerably more and will have to look into a more advanced program. I have no advice there as I haven't reached that point yet.

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A beginner program like Starting Strength is definitely not appropriate for someone who is squatting 335, already on 5/3/1, and looking for an intermediate program. –  Dave Liepmann Jan 11 at 8:17
    
briddums, thanks for the suggestion but I'm already a pretty experienced squatter and I'm looking for something to put me solidly into the "advanced" category. As Dave said, SS is great for beginners though! –  Doc Jan 11 at 18:47
    
Ahh... I saw Doc was doing a beginners program, the 'shaky' phrase, and he'd hit a plateau. Hence I gave advice for getting past a plateau and didn't mean that he should switch to SS. I didn't understand that he was looking for an intermediate program. –  briddums Jan 14 at 23:43
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