Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fuck Your Legs Day

Zangief before squats. Wrestles donuts.

Zangief after squats. Wrestles buildings.


If you want to gain lean muscle mass, you need to squat. Period. Most lifters allocate all of their leg work into a single day so it can be glanced over in favor of more curls. Fuck your legs day, it's time to squat.

The Problem
Legs day is greatly feared in the casual lifter's routine. You will typically see this expressed in two ways: Using pussy exercises that create a muscle pump, or performing squats for millions reps like there's a prize involved for a high score. In my case, squatting once a week wasn't really cutting it (advised by 5/3/1, although hamstrings were worked via Deadlifts on a different day), so I started experimenting with the frequency of squats included in my program.

Try Uh
At first I went a bit overboard on my lower body work by including some sort of squat on every day.
   Heavy Front Squats - 75%-95% 1RM
   Light Front Squats - 60% 1RM
      Upper Day 1 - Heavy Front Squats
      Lower Day 1 - Deadlifts, Light Front Squats
      Upper Day 2 - Heavy Front Squats
      Lower Day 2 - Heavy Back Squats, Light Front Squats

This worked on the lower levels of 5/3/1 (see my old post for details on 5/3/1), but quickly became a hindrance when the weight jumped up. The original thought was to stimulate my lower body (emphasis on quadriceps) everyday while providing active recovery through relatively light front squats. What ended up happening is that my heavy days were hindered by never getting enough rest (especially in between Upper Day 2 and Lower Day 2).

Try Duh
   Upper Day 1 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 1 - Deadlifts, Heavy Front Squats
   Upper Day 2 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 2 - Heavy Back Squats

My second attempt actually worked quite well until I completed a DB Bench like a retard and strained my shoulder. Front Squats were right out of the question after that. Placing Powercleans on my upper days was a fortunate move, as I am able to complete them without too many repercussions (Deadlift day has strangely never been affected).

Try Tree
This is my current workout configuration. Considering my Back Squat is far behind where it should currently be, I've decided to work up my 3RM for as many sets as possible. The main alteration this will cause in my week is that I now include another day of rest in between Lower Day 1 and Upper Day 2 (ex: U1, L1, rest, rest, U2, L2, rest) due to the increased stress from Deadlifting and Squatting in the same day.

   Upper Day 1 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 1 - Deadlifts, Heavy Back Squat Triples
   Upper Day 2 - Powercleans
   Lower Day 2 - Heavy Back Squats

The squat triples workout looks like this in action:
      1. 250x5
      2. 290x5
      3. 330x5+
      4. 395x1, 395x1, 395x1 Level Up to 400
   TBar Row
      1. 145x10
      2. 145x10
      3. 145x10
   Squat Triples
      1. 250x3
      2. 250x3
      3. 250x3
      4. 250x3
      5. 250x3 Level Up to 260

Get out there and squat. Get stronger. Repeat.

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