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How to increase your squat strength

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

Hit a plateau? Bored of your current program? Want to see just how far you can push your squatting limits?! Give this percentage based squat program a shot!




Before diving into this program, you have to first determine what your One Rep Max is. This is the max amount of weight you can move for 1 rep. You will then use that amount to base your percentages off of for the rest of the program. This program is for experienced lifters and a spotter is required, especially for 1RM testing. If you attempt to 1RM test without a spotter it will be assumed you have a death wish! (Kidding.. kind of.)






“This time allows for your energy systems to recharge and for you to begin each set as fresh as possible so you can perform at your highest capacity, which in turn will create the biggest increase in strength.”

The Program:


Week 1: 3x8 @ 75%

Week 2: 4x5 @ 80%

Week 3: 4x3 @ 85%

Week 4: 4x2 @ 90%

Week 5: De-load 3x10 OR Redo 1RM testing and repeat


It is noteworthy to mention that the heavier the weight and lower rep volume, the longer your rests between sets should be. For this specific program I would recommend 45s - 1 min for week 1, up to 1m 30s -2 mins for week 2, 3 mins for week 3 and up to 5 mins for week 4. This time allows for your energy systems to recharge and for you to begin each set as fresh as possible so you can perform at your highest capacity, which in turn will create the biggest increase in strength.


Each week will you will need to follow your primary lift, in this case squats, with accessory or secondary exercises. These are performed typically in a 10-12 or even 15-20 rep range and are meant to aid in the long term benefits of improving your primary lift. These can help in building more strength, range of motion, mobility, and muscular endurance (you'll be thankful for that when you hit your de-load or shoot back up to repeat week 1). Often these exercises can be superset to increase the intensity of the workout but do not have to be. Rest times for these exercises are shorter and you normally wouldn't want rest longer than 45s between sets. I also typically like to include some core specific exercises throughout or at the end of the workout, but again, depending on what the rest of your program looks like these are not completely necessary to include.


Lets take a look at a couple example workouts..


Example one - Week 1:

*Dynamic warm up and lower body mobility

A1. Squats 3x8 @ 75%

B1. Bulgarian split squats 3x12

B2. Dumbbell RDL's x12

C1. Barbell step ups 3x12

C2. Glute-Ham raise 3x12

D1. Double KB front squats 3x15

D2. Leg extensions 3x20

E1. Calf raises 3xAMRAP

E2. Swiss ball deadbugs 3x10


*AMRAP = as many as possible


Example two - Week 4:

*Dynamic warmup and lower body mobility

A1. Squats 4x2 @ 90%

B1. Leg press 3x8-10

B2. Barbell walking lunges 3x10

C1. Good mornings 3x12

C2. Pistol squats 3x12-15

D1. Swiss ball hamstring curls 3x12-15

D2. Calf press 3xAMRAP


You'll notice that both programs include all the major lower body muscle groups - quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves - as well as use a variety of movements. These don't even come close to covering all the different exercises you could potentially incorporate but it at least gives you a starting point. Don't be afraid to play around with different exercises and try new things, this will help your body progress faster and more well rounded in long run!


Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you either learned something or felt inspired to change up your workout if that was something you have been struggling with! If you found any value in this post at all I'd like to thank you in advance for sharing with friends and of course your gym partner!


Hope you all enjoy your day - now go absolutely destroy your previous personal squat record!


X Megan Poirier

#strongertogether #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning #squats


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