Matt Kroczaleski is a world renowned powerlifting champion. Matt’s a former marine, who at his peak weighed 255lbs at 5 ft 9.
The former MuscleTech sponsored athlete has recorded some monster lifts including a 738lb bench press, an 810lb deadlift and a 1,003lb squat. That’s a whopping 455kg! Not bad for a guy who weighed just 220lbs at his lightest.
So, if you want to copy someone’s squat routine – it almost certainly is Matt’s.
Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski alternates between heavy, explosive weeks and higher volume squat weeks. This constant switching between heavy and lighter weights will keep your strength from plateauing, as the different weights and rep ranges will continuously shock the system. The following squat program will not only take your squat strength to a whole new level, but it’ll also spark growth into your legs, increasing muscle hypertrophy.
Here is Matt’s 12 week squat cycle. Percentages are based on his current one rep max.
- Week 1: 5 x 75%, 5 x 80%, 5 x 85%
- Week 2: 10 sets of 5 reps @ 70%
- Week 3: 4 x 77.5%, 4 x 82.5%, 4 x 87.5%
- Week 4: 10 sets of 4 reps @ 72.5%
- Week 5: 3 x 80%, 3 x 85%, 3 x 90%
- Week 6: 10 sets of 3 reps @ 75%
- Week 7: 5 x 80%, 5 x 85%, 5 x 90%
- Week 8: 10 sets of 5 reps @ 75%
- Week 9: 4 x 82.5%, 4 x 87.5%, 4 x 92.5%
- Week 10: 10 sets of 4 reps @ 77.5%
- Week 11: 3 x 85%, 3 x 90%, 3 x 95%
- Week 12: 10 sets of 3 reps @ 80%
Rest. Rest 3 to 5 minutes between sets, or until fully recovered. The reason why Matt’s rest duration is significant is because he wants his legs to be fresh before each working set, rather than fatigued. This is more optimal for strength gains and hitting new PR’s.
Assistance Exercises. On heavy training days Matt Kroc follows squats with:
- Leg Press – 3 sets x 10, 8, 6 reps (pyramid up in weight)
- Walking Lunge – 3 sets x 20 reps
- Leg Curl – 3 sets x 8 reps
- Stiff Leg Deadlift – 3 sets x 8 reps
On light training days, Matt uses the following protocol:
- Leg Press – 4 sets x 25 reps
- Leg Extension – 3 sets x 30 reps
- Leg Curl – 3 sets x 15 reps
- Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift – 3 sets x 15 reps
Note: These are to be performed straight after the squats, to fill the legs with as much blood as possible, stretching the muscle fascia – literally forcing your legs to grow.
Straight off the bat when you look at this routine, it’s an insane amount of volume. He’s only doing 1 leg session per week, but he’s completing a lot of sets underneath the squat rack. Not many people are brave enough to do 15 sets of heavy squats in a single workout, followed by more pain-enduring exercises straight after. If you dare to follow this program, you might want to bring a sick bucket along with you.
One thing I like about only doing 1 leg day a week is that it’s extremely difficult to overtrain your legs, no matter how much you destroy them during the workout. Thus the intensity and volume can remain high without risking burning out the CNS.
You’ll almost certainly experience DOMS at some point during this program, making you need the next 6 days to fully recover. Thus it would be a good time for the wife to massage your legs (if you’re lucky) or for the foam roller to come out. Probably the latter.
It’s also interesting how high Matt’s rep range is during his light days. Some people will call 15 reps a lot, but we can see Matt going up to 30 reps on the leg extension. This is a great way to mix up your training and keep your body guessing.
One thing’s for sure – these workouts will test you as much mentally as they will physically.
Update: Matt is now known as Janae Marie Kroc, after changing gender from man to woman in 2015.
If you’ve tried Matt Kroczaleski’s 12 week squat program let us know how you got on; and if you were able to beat his 1000lb squat…