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big_swede 06-21-2013 04:20 AM

Squatting Big by Sam Byrd
Fantastic article!


I have never used box squats in my training. I have never used good mornings either. Nor I have I ever used the reverse hyper. I tinkered with using chains and bands for a brief period but did not find them as beneficial as purported. I have never even done the Westside or Smolov programs! It would seem that I have avoided doing all the things the powerlifting world believes is necessary to build a big squat. Nevertheless, I have managed to break multiple All-Time World Record Squats over my powerlifting career, both raw and geared. If you are wondering what the secret is, then listen up. It’s no secret at all.


Much of my training philosophy comes from studying the word of Dr. Squat himself, Fred Hatfield. If you are serious about squatting big but you aren’t familiar with this name, you should be. He was a phenomenal squatter who spent his life studying the science behind the movement and how to use the science to excel at the lift- which he did. I adhere to two core precepts of Dr. Squat’s research: the scientific formula for Power and the principle of Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT).

Basic high school science can help you determine the right amount of weight to use on the bar by understanding the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration. Remember, Power equals mass x acceleration x distance, all divided by time. That’s right, those four years weren’t a total waste after all. Ehh, who am I kidding- I hated this crap then and I hate it now so I’ll save you some headache and skip all that crap to tell you how the research breaks down. It basically showed that light weights moved to fast to create much power and heavy weights moved to slow. What this means is that the optimal training weights for power and rate of force development fall somewhere between the ranges of 55-85% of maximum effort.

Compensatory Acceleration Training is the idea of increasing force output by accelerating the weight throughout the entire range of the lift. I often see this idea confused with “speed training,” in which the purpose is to move the weight “fast.” However, the idea of CAT is to continue to move the weights FASTER as your leverages in the lift improve. The traditional Westside Method speed day is not the same, primarily because of its focus on accommodating resistance by adding chains and bands to compensate for the improved leverages and make the lift harder at those points. It is not the same. The increased resistance will force you to remain at a constant speed, or worse, slow down, when the goal of CAT is to accelerate all the way to the top.

Now that you have a basic grasp of the “why” of my training, let’s take a look at the “how.”

Squatting Big - Juggernaut Training Systems - Juggernaut Training Systems

Off Road 06-21-2013 09:14 AM

Interesting read, thanks for posting it.

I have seen Paul Carter talk about the same stuff and I admit that I'm intrigued. I wonder if this is a better way for advanced lifters that will only be able to make small improvements from year to year, or is it something anybody could use? I know that linear progression is a great way for people to get started, and then a waved progression can be used after that. Would this be another progression step?

BendtheBar 06-21-2013 01:35 PM

Is CAT for these guys generally used on all reps, or just with certain weights?

Off Road 06-21-2013 03:30 PM

This is intriguing to me. I guess we need somebody with experience in it to answer the questions.
Carter says it is good progress when a certain percentage (say 80%) starts to feel lighter and you lift it easier.

brad1224 06-21-2013 04:30 PM

Great read. Thanks Big

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