If you have ever been online and search squat work outs, chances are that you have seen the ‘Super Squats’ work out. This comes from the book “Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks” by Randall J. Strossen (Ph.D.). If you have ever tried this workout, then you know just how hard it is. This work out program is based around doing one set of 20 reps of squat super setted with a pullover. This goes back to the old school system of lifting, where the goal was to build dense, think muscle to move heavy ass weight; not just lift for a “pump”. The original Super Squat consisted of doing one work (see box one) out each time you lifted, two or three times a week. I’d like to mention this workout system was written in the 1960’s and is based around drinking a gallon of milk a day. The diet part of this book is a little outdated and should probably be skipped, however, the work out is a standard.
The original Super Squat
Press behind neck – 3 x 12
Squat – 1 x 20
super setted with Pullover – 1 x 20
Bench press – 3 x 12
Rowing – 3 x 15
Stiff legged deadlift – 1 x 15
Pullover – 1 x 20
One of my favorite book on training is “Dinosaur Training” by Brooks Kubik and in this book, Brooks talks about old school training and a little on the super squats working. His focus was on the one set of 20, “To get results from heavy, high rep work, you need to train HARD. You can only train hard if you use heavy poundages and if you constantly try to add weight to the bar. You MUST go over 300 pounds for 20 reps before you can expect to see very much in the way of results. Shoot for 20 reps with 350 or more. Once you get up to that kind of poundage, the high rep squat WILL have transformed you.”
This may sound extreme to most of us, but this is how you build real muscle. Hard ass work! Now I know what you might be thinking, 20 reps at 300 plus pounds is crazy! And yes, yes it is, but it is also doable if you are willing to work at it and put in the time. This is not the work out where you should start with 80% of your max and try to hit 20 reps. The idea is the keep building on a foundation of heavy high rep volume. Each time you squat the goal is to add weight to the bar, not a lot, just 5 to 10 (ten is the max) pounds. So if you started with 135 pounds on day one, hopefully by week 10 you would be closer to 200 pounds. The super squats one set of 20 has one major rule, once the weight goes on your back it cannot come off until all 20 reps have been done. Let’s be clear, there are not half reps, this is an ass to grass. If you really want to be walking around with two oak trees as legs, you need to get low and move the weight.
So you’re probably asking yourself how you could ever start training this hard. Could you just jump right into an old school style of training after years of just pump work outs? Yes, you could! However, start out a little slow and do not just run into something like this without thinking first. Pick a weight that you could hit for a set of ten in squat. Warm up and put that weight on the bar. It’s time for your first set of 20 reps in squat. Remember to go deep and come out of the hole fast and after every rep, take a deep breath. This is the deep breathing technique and works well with the super squats. This forces you to keep a big chest and make sure every rep is his just like a single. Don’t forget to superset your one set of 20 squats with pull overs x 20, and after squats do some RDLs or Straight Leg Dead lifts. Play around with the auxiliary lifts after squats. Just keep in mind that this is based on one set of 20 squats. Try to squat every three or four days. This is because the work out was meant to be a 2 to 3 time a week program, every three or four days keeps you in about that range but also gives you time to recover. Add five pounds every week and go until you cannot hit that set of 20 anymore. Might only be four to six weeks, but you will notice a difference in your training. Tom Platz was able to squat 500 pounds 23 times, while going deep, there is more to training then for a “pump”.
To end this, let’s look at one more quote from “Dinosaur Training” by Brooks Kubik, “Anyone who claims to be working hard on the squat but who is handling 120, 135, 150 or 185 for 20 reps is only kidding himself. Sure, that may be the type of weight you use when you start the program, but you need to add weight to the bar regularly and frequently. You need to push yourself over 200 pounds as quickly as possible. You need to move into dinosaur territory. Don’t blame the program if you don’t get results. That’s like getting mad at the messenger when he delivers bad news. Remember the famous line from JULIUS CAESAR: “The fault … lies not in our stars, but in ourselves…”. If heavy high rep squats have not worked for you – or if heavy high rep deadlifts have failed to produce results – you probably were not working them at maximum intensity. When you train these moves HARD, you WILL grow. Nothing else is even possible.”
- Kubik, Brooks D. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development. Louisville, KY: Brooks D. Kubik, 1998. Print.
- Strossen, Randall J. Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks. Nevada City, CA: IronMind Enterprises, 1989. Print.