Gain strength in the lower body and improve your squat 1RM with this 12-week squat training program. This program is designed for healthy experienced squatters with no injuries and it’s great for athletes who want to get in better shape.
Squat Training Program Overview
This program takes you through a unilateral preparation period into a final phase of maximal strength. It includes sled work to get you out of the weight room and build volume without the added load of muscle damage on the body caused by eccentric movements. With sled work you can maximize concentric-only movements and do more work without inhibiting recovery.
This is a 2-day a week program: Train this squat training program twice a week and then perform an upper body training program the other 2 days of the week (such as this 16-week chin-up program).
Goals For This Squat Training Program
The aim of the first 6 weeks of this squat training program is to develop structural balance and hypertrophy. The first 3-week phase is designed to build correction and balance to ensure you are ready for each successive training block.
The goal of the second 6 weeks is to maximize strength gains and elicit a neurological response. You also get to max out and work to set a PR in your 1RM effort in the squat.
A note on sled work: Sled training uses concentric–only movements, which are great for building power without lasting muscle pain. In the case of pull throughs with the sled, it will teach explosive hips and posterior chain without having to worry about end-range hip extension and deceleration due to the load of the machine wanting to take you back. This is great for improving dynamic movement patterns that athletes use in real life.
Weeks 1 to 3
Day One, Sets, Reps, Tempo, Rest
A1. Cable Split Squats, 5 sets, 10-12 reps, 30X0, 60 s
A2. Standing Leg Curl, 5 sets, 10-12 reps, 40X0, 100 s
B1. Front Step-ups, 4 sets, 8-12 reps, 30X0, 60 s
B2. Seated Good Mornings, 4 sets, 10-12 reps, 30X0, 100 s
C1. Toe Press, 3 sets, 12-15 reps, 21X1, 60 s
C2. Seated Calf Raise, 3 sets, 15-20 reps, 11X1, 10 s
A1. Petersen Sled Drags, 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
A2. Forward Sled Bows, 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
For the Sled Bows, face away from the sled with straps over the shoulders and held against the chest. Bend at the waist into forward flexion, pulling the sled behind you. As you go into extension, the tension is off the body.
B1. 45° Knee Flexion Walk, 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
B2. Pull Through w/ Sled, 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
For the 45° knee flexion walk, take a ½ squat position and walk forward with the sled straps held by your knees and torso erect. It looks like you are picking up a wheel barrel that is behind you but you never stand up. For the whole set you are dragging the sled in ½ squat position.
Weeks 4 to 6
A1. Back Squats 1 1/4, 5 sets, 8-10 reps, 31X1, 100 s
A2. Lying Leg Curls, 5 sets, 6-8 reps, 50X0, 100 s
B1. FFE Split Squat, 4 sets, 9-11 reps, 40X0, 75 s
B2. Good Morning, 4 sets, 9-11, reps, 40X1, 75 s
C1. Standing Calf Raise, 4 sets, 15-20 reps, 30X0, 60 s
C2. Seated Calf Raise, 4 sets, 15-20 reps, 20X1, 60 s
A1. Walking Lunges w/Sled, 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
A2. Backward Sled Drag, 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
B1. Side Walk (Shuffle), 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
B2. Back Ext / Step, 5 sets, 25 yards, xxxx, 75 s
Weeks 7 to 9
A. Back Squats w/Chains +30% 1RM weight
Wk 7: 10 sets, 3 reps (45% bar weight), 30X0, 60 s
Wk 8: 10 sets, 3 reps (47% bar weight), 30X0, 60 s
Wk 9: 10 sets, 3 reps (50% bar weight), 30X0, 60 s
B1. Side Step-ups, 5 sets, 8-10 reps, 40X0, 100 s
B2. Lying Leg Curls w/ 30° Concentric Pause, 5 sets, 4-7reps, 31X1, 100 s
A. Back Squats
Wk 7: 10 sets, 1 rep (75%), 10,0,X,0, 180 s
Wk 8: 10 sets, 1 rep (77%), 10,0,X,0, 180 s
Wk 9: 10 sets, 1 rep (80%), 10,0,X,0, 180 s
B. Barbell RDLs, 5 sets, 5-7 reps, 40X0, 100 s
C1. Walking Lunge, 5 sets, 12 steps, 30X0, 75 s
C2. Cable Pull Though, 5 sets, 12-15 reps, 30X0, 100 s
Weeks 10 to 12
A. Back Squats w/Bands
Wk 10: 10 sets, 1 rep (55% bar weight), 20X0, 75 s
Wk 11: 10 sets, 1 rep (60% bar weight), 20X0, 75 s
Wk 12: 10 sets, 1 rep (65% bar weight), 20X0, 75 s
B. Dynamic Band Pull Throughs, 5 sets, 12-15 reps, 20X0, 60 s
C. Squat Jumps, 5 sets, 6 reps, 10X0, 60 s
A. Back Squats
Wk 10: 6 sets, 4,3,2,3,2,1 (70,72,75. 72,75,77%), 20X0, 180 s
Wk 11: 5 sets, 3,2,1,2,1,1 (75,77,80,77,82,85), 20X0, 180 s
Wk 12: 4 sets, 2,1,2,1,1,1 (80,85,82,87,85,90+), 20X0, 180 s
B. Leg Curls, 5 sets, 5-7 reps, 40X0, 100 s