Crazy leg and squat workout session to push your 1-rep max
Rob “Rhino” Hagar is a competitive power lift and Body Spartan’s head power lifting coach. This squat session was organized to push every person on the team to their limit. In this workout you are going to find the correct process for working up to your 1-rep max in squats, along with proper form and execution of the squat. Leg and Squat workout that will make you think twice about leg day.
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Get the right gear for your squat session
Anyone who is even considering attempting a 1-rep max on squats is going to need a weight belt, knee sleeves, and or knee wraps. Those are the three critical pieces of gear you must have. The fourth is a good pair of shoes. You can wear old school “Chucks” by converse, or you can level up and grab a pair of power lifting shoes. When you push the limit, you have to take your safety into consideration.
1-Rep Max Squat Session
Remember, this session is about pushing yourself to the limit and seeing what your 1-rep max is. This is not something you should do all the time. Rather, once every few months. This article is going to show you the proper way to increase weight and the proper number of reps to accomplish this.
Squat warm up
Before starting any leg workout or squat session, it’s imperative that you properly warm up. Now we know you’ve heard this before but we can’t stress how important it is. Our team will typically use a foam roller and roll out their quads, hamstrings, IT bands, and glutes. They’ll also roll out their backs since they know they will be undergoing a lot of compression from the heavy weight when squatting. A good 10 minutes should be spent on foam rolling (AKA: myofacial release) before anything else.
Next, you want to get blood into the muscles – even before stretching. Free squats (squats with just body weight) and squats with the bar will do just that. We do sets of 20 on both of these and then begin to stretch out quads, hamstrings, and the piriformis muscles. You can stretch the piriformis by sitting on a bench and crossing one of your legs with your ankle resting on your knee. Then, slowly push down on the knee that is being crossed. You’ll feel a nasty stretch deep in your glute. That’s your piriformis, and it wants you to stretch it.
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Starting the squat workout
When you are good and warm, you can begin adding weight to the bar. You will want to do three warm up / working sets to ensure that your muscles are good and warm and so that they are used to having some weight on them. Here’s our standard start to our squat workout.
|1||135 lbs||20||2-4 minutes|
|2||225 lbs||10||2-4 minutes|
|3||315 lbs||5||2-4 minutes|
If you aren’t able to perform the reps at the example weight, here’s a quick formula. First, pick a weight where you can easily get 20 reps and it feels a little more difficult than a warm up set.
Your next set will be at 167% of that weight. So multiply that weight by 1.67. So 135 x 1.67 = 225
The third set will be at 140% of that weight. So multiply your second set weight by 1.4. 225 x 1.4 = 315
Squat session working sets
Since we’re pushing for our 1-rep max today, we don’t want to expend our strength doing higher reps with weight that we know we are good at. In this case, once we are warm, we can simply do 1 rep for each set, increasing the weight in incremental amounts. Everyone’s ability and strength will be different, but if you can knock out 5 reps at 315 with no issues, then a good model to follow is to add 25’s on each end of the bar each set until you begin to struggle. So set 3 would be 365, set 4 would be 405, and so on.
Once you begin to grind and struggle with the weight, you can back off and start increasing your weight by either 10 lbs on each side, or even 5 lbs on each side. Only you know your body and your strength and what you are capable of. There is really no formula for this part of the session. For example, Shane Hall skipped from 315 right to 405lbs and banged out a single rep like it was nothing. He then jumped to 455 lbs, and then right to 495 lbs (5 plates on each side). That’s where he started to feel like he was starting to push it. He still put 25 lbs more on each end for the 7th set and was able to get it but he was starting to really test his strength and ability. From that point we decided to have him add only 10lbs to each side from that point on. So Shane stacked 565 lbs on the bar for set 8 and got it. Finally at 585 lbs Shane needed a small spot to get him out of the hole. He was able to smash the remaining range of motion but we found his 1-rep max safely.
For those of you that aren’t comfortable increasing the weight by 25lbs on each side, you can try 10lbs each side and then when you find you’re struggling, add only 5 lbs on each side of the bar until you need a spot.
Proper form for squats
Our team has been taught to take a stance slightly wider than shoulder width. We point our toes outwards slightly and ensure that during the downward motion of the squat, several things are happening:
- Our back is straight
- We are looking straight ahead or up, but never down
- We sit into the squat, hinging at the hips
- Weight is always on our heels and never on our toes
- Our ankles do now roll slightly out or in, as this offsets the tracking of the knees and puts massive strain on the IT band and can result in injury
- We follow the downward motion below parallel (AKA: “ass to the grass”) – no partial squats or partial range of motion
- Inhale as deep as possible at the top of the squat, filling the lungs not only on the front, but also on the sides. Then engage the core and create tension against the weight belt the entire time.
- Exhale slowly on the upward motion of the squat.
Squat workout final thoughts
If you’re looking to add mass to your legs, workouts like these that completely mix up your leg workout are going to do the trick. You need to continuously shock the muscles though and never allow them to adapt to what you’re doing. From attempting one-rep max’s, to high reps, variation is one of the keys to success. Nutrition and supplementation are also key to muscle growth. Without them, you’re just working to work, without the hope of any major results. Our Unleashed Bulking Program has all of these elements. It has over 80 different workouts. No two workouts are the same and the intensity of the workouts increase as the program goes on. It’s over 11 weeks of training with 4 days of “pre-season”. The program automatically calculates your macros for you, along with your daily cardio time, heart rate, and it also has a body composition tracker. The program is made specifically for bulking.
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