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High Frequency Squatting 12 Week Program

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There was a (long) time during my lifting career where I thought squatting more than once a week was impossible. Scratch that – was insane.

Then I was introduced to a concept called fatigue management. Fatigue management is basically a fancy term for balancing:

  • Volume
  • Intensity (relative weight)
  • Frequency

To better explain fatigue management, let me provide a simplistic example.

Fatigue management and squatting

Let’s pretend that you are currently squatting once a week using a standard muscle building or lift-based split. You keep things simple, and perform 6 sets of 5 reps at 70% of your one rep max. In total this adds up to 30 reps at 70%.

Now let’s pretend you get the urge to squat 2 times per week. You decide to perform an additional workout of 6×5 with 70%, but find it nearly impossible to complete. You are still sore from the first squatting session of the week, and are far from fully recovered.

What is the issue? You doubled your weekly reps to 60. This is quite a jump.

Here is where we get into the concept of fatigue management. When you decided to squat twice a week it would have been wise to keep the same number of weekly reps, in this case 30. So instead on doing one weekly 6×5 squat session, you perform 3 sets by 5 reps twice a week.

Both approaches feature the same weekly volume and intensity, but have split it up to accommodate training frequency.

Let’s look at more possibilities using this 30 rep per week example.

  • Squatting once per week – 1 workout using 6 sets by 5 reps. 30 total weekly reps.
  • Squatting twice per week – 2 workouts using 3 sets by 5 reps. 30 total weekly reps.
  • Squatting three times per week – 3 workouts using 2 sets by 5 reps. 30 total weekly reps.
  • Squatting five per week – 5 workouts using 1 set by 6 reps. 30 total weekly reps.

Fatigue management is simply adjusting the volume, intensity or frequency so that you can properly recover and perform as needed within a given workout structure. We will use this principle in setting up a high frequency squatting program.

tom-platz-squats

12 Week High Frequency Squat Program

Here are the parameters of the program:

  1. Frequency – You will be squatting 5 days a week, preferably 5 days in a row, taking 2 complete days off for rest (the weekend).
  2. Total Reps – You will be performing 40 total squat reps per week. This excludes any warmup sets you require per day.
  3. Beginning Weight – You will start with 60% of your current one rep max.
  4. Weight Additions – Each week you will add approximately 2.5% of your one rep max to the bar. By the time you reach week 12, you will be using 87.5% of your previous max for up to 40 total weekly reps.

Here is the approximate weight you will use each week:

  • Week 1 – 60% of your 1RM
  • Week 2 – 62.5%
  • Week 3 – 65%
  • Week 4 – 67.5%
  • Week 5 – 70%
  • Week 6 – 72.5%
  • Week 7 – 75%
  • Week 8 – 77.5%
  • Week 9 – 80%
  • Week 10 – 82.5%
  • Week 11 – 85%
  • Week 12 – 87.5%
The 5 day per week training cycle

Starting each Monday, you will perform 6 singles with a given weight. Each day moving forward you will add one additional single. The weekly pattern will look like this:

  • Monday – 6 singles
  • Tuesday – 7 singles
  • Wednesday – 8 singles
  • Thursday – 9 singles
  • Friday – 10 singles
  • Saturday and Sunday – Rest

deep-squats

Training FAQ

Thoughts on weekly progression

This program will start out feeling relatively easy. It should feel easy. The point early on isn’t to beat yourself up. During the first several weeks you will be building up your conditioning level.

Then the fun (hard work) begins.

If at any point you feel like you might not be able to finish the next single, quit for the day. No exceptions. Do not risk injury.

If you don’t get all your reps, you don’t get all your reps. Whatever happens, try to make it the entire 12 weeks, squatting 5 times per week. Even if you can’t hit all your reps during the last several weeks, this program will still provide huge benefits.

About rest between singles

Rest as long as you need to between each single. Remember that this is a squat specialization program, and the point is to build strength, improve conditioning and work on form.

You should not be rushing from rep to rep. Take as much time as you need between reps. When you feel physically and mentally ready, perform another single.

Assistance work

Because this is a specialization program, I do not recommend performing a ton of assistance work each day. Hit your daily squat singles, and do no more than 2 other movements.

Your secondary movement can be another compound exercise, but after that it is recommended that you move on to a bodyweight, machine or isolation style lift depending on your goals and training preferences. Here is a general template that should work well for most of you.

  • Monday – Squat singles, deadlifts and dumbbell curls.
  • Tuesday – Squat singles, bench press and tricep extensions.
  • Wednesday – Squat singles, pull ups (or lat pull downs) and calf raises.
  • Thursday – Squat singles, military press and close grip bench press.
  • Friday – Squat singles, barbell rows and hammer curls.
  • Saturday and Sunday – Rest

Again, this is merely an example template. Feel free to adjust it, within reason, to fit your needs. I do recommend that if you deadlift that you do so on Monday. You will be coming in fresh after 2 days or rest, and better able to handle squats and deadlifts in the same session.

Suggested warmup sets

Here is a suggested warmup progression for lifters starting around 315 pound squat singles:

  • Bar x 10-15
  • 135 x 5-10
  • 225 x 3-5
  • 275 x 1-3

Here is a suggested warmup progression for lifters starting around 365 pound squat singles:

  • Bar x 10-15
  • 135 x 5-10
  • 225 x 3-5
  • 315 x 1-3

Here is a suggested warmup progression for lifters starting around 405 pound squat singles:

  • Bar x 10-15
  • 135 x 5-10
  • 225 x 3-5
  • 315 x 1-3
  • 365 x 1

What next?

If you would like to test your one rep max after the 12 weeks are done, I recommend resting 4-5 complete days first, depending on how you feel. If you do test your max and decide to run this program again, I would take another several days off before beginning the next cycle.

High Frequency Squatting 12 Week Program, 4.3 out of 5 based on 6 ratings

One comment

  1. I wrote an article on a similar topic. Fatigue management is super important for continual size gains.

    http://everythingweknowsofar.com/2014/10/09/making-high-frequency-training-work/

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