Go To Squat Session

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Geoff Chafe, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I am getting back to the barbell. I have been doing Back Squat twice a week for a few weeks. Couple sessions of fives, couple of threes, now some singles.

    Give me a time efficient, 2 day a week, Squat protocol. No real goal in mind just to Squat for general size and strength, and suffer a bit. I have been pressing 1-2 days a week also with Press, Push Press, or 30deg Incline Bench, with a similar protocol, depending on how I’m feeling and free time.

    A typical Squat day is 10min of movement, start with 135lb, and add 20-50lb each set, working up to some uncomfortable sets of 1-5, and drop down for a few back off sets of 3-8. I have been supersetting with Gripper Crushing. One of my all time favourite supersets.

    I have been thinking of a rep or dynamic day and a heavy day. Maybe box Squat or Pin Squat on the second day. I have never spent time with the box Squat and it is an interesting exercise to me.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  2. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Box Squats

    They are an interesting exercise.

    As a Powerlifter, I have used them for years. Initially, I did not quite see the value or carry over.

    With that said, they have a place on the Training Table, dependent what your objective is.

    The History of Box Squats

    As most know, the Westside Powerlifting Training Program put Box Squats on the map. Louie Simmons took George Frenn and Joe DeMarco's Box Training Program and mainstreamed it into strength training.

    On a side note, George Frenn was a former Olympic Hammer Thrower who also competed in Powerlifting with the Culver City, CA Westside Barbell Club.

    Joe DeMarco was one of Frenn's cohorts when it came to innovative training. I got to interview DeMarco years ago. DeMarco is brilliant.

    DeMarco along with Frenn devised "The "Original Westside Box Squatting Method". DeMarco also invented the Lever Action Powerlifting Belt and came up with some unconventional training method; DeMarco was decades ahead of his time.

    However, DeMarco remains an unknown with most Powerlifters/Strength Athletes. Initially, I had no idea of who DeMarco was until I met another lifter who was being trained by him.

    Geroge Frenn Squatted 853 lbs at a body weight of 242 lbs in 1972 in a wrestling singlet using the "The Original Westside Box Squat Method". Frenn's 853 lb Squat in 1972 was around 50 lb more than the rest of the world.


    The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban: Conditioned Legs Break Squat Records - George Frenn (1972)

    "The Original Westside Box Squat Method"

    This method isn't the same as Simmons Westside Box Squat Method. In my interview with DeMarco, I ask why. As per DeMarco, Simmons only read about the method. Simmons never spoke with Frenn nor DeMarco or visited them to learn about "The Original Westside Box Squat Method".

    With "The Original Westside Box Squat Method", Low Box and High Box Squat Training is employed.

    As I learned in a training session demonstration with Demarco, "The Original Westside Method" is more of a "Rocking Box Squat" ( as Ron Frenando described in an article years ago.)

    The Method is as follows...

    1) Sit back on the box, then rock back a little.

    2) To get up off the box, lean and rock forward. Think of it like getting off of a sofa.

    3) Just prior to driving up, while still sitting on the box, lift your heals up but keep your toes on the floor.

    4) As you start your to ascent, drive your heals hard into the floor, slam them into the floor.. Yea, I know this sounds weird. It took me some time to coordinate that.

    Driving your heals hard into the floor increases your power in coming off the box.

    Think of rocking forward and then driving your heals into the floor as getting a "Running Start" in a sprint.

    Getting a "Running Start" in let say a 40 meter sprint means your time is better than starting from a dead stop, coming out of the blocks; the same occurs with "The Original Westside Box Squat Method", you move more weight with a "Running Start".

    The Simmons' Westside Method

    With this method, a slight pause is taken on the box before driving the weight up. As Simmons' notes, it breaks up the Eccentric-Concentric Movement.

    Research show that a pause of 4 seconds or longer kills the stretch reflex (Supertraining)

    The Plyometric Box Squat

    In Powerlifting one of the keys to increasing your 1 Repetition Max is to develop your stretch reflex in the bottom of the Squat. The only way to develop the stretch reflex is by training it.

    Developing the stretch reflex has been show to increase Power Output up to 18%.

    Think of the hole position of the Squat as a mud hole that you are going to drive your car through. The more power (stretch reflex) you can produce come out of the hole the greater the likelihood you'll get out of the mud hole/get the weight past your sticking point.

    "Squatting: To Be Explosive, Train Explosive"

    This article appeared in the 2003 issue of "Powerlifting USA" magazine.

    This article involves an unorthodox method; performing a Box Squat with a bounce off the box. This article by myself and Tom Morris, MS (Exercise Physiology) was/still is controversial due to the concern of trauma to the lower back.

    With that said, it took me some experimental time to develop the "Plometric Box Squat Method".

    There is definitely a risk factor involved in the "The Plyometric Box Squat" but it definitely works.

    I used this method to Squat 562 lbs/255 kg at a 208 lb body weight. So, the information provided is based on research and practical experience.

    I still use this method.

    However, due to the risk, I am not an advocate of it, without expert supervision.

    With that said, some types of plyometric squatting needs to be employed.

    Below are some recommended progressions in the development of the stretch reflex from "Squatting: To Be Explosive, Train Explosive"...

    Jump Squats: Jump squats involve performing a typical squat with the only difference being that the individual aggressively explodes up during the concentric phase of the lift. The powerful extension of the hips and knees should propel the lifter into the air as if s/he were performing a vertical jump. Initially, the lifter should perform the exercise without weight just utilizing their body weight. As one's tolerance improves, external weight may be added. When performing non-resisted jump squats, the authors suggest using an aggressive arm swing as a form of sprint assisted training (over speed training) to more fully exploit power output.

    Load Release Jumps. Load release jumps are similar in nature to jump squats. Two of the methods that can be utilized are dumbbell release jumps squats and barbell jump squats with weight releasers attached to the bar.

    Dumbbell release jumps squats involve a bench or box and a dumbbell. Place the Bench or box in front of you. You will be jumping up on it.

    Get a dumbbell and hold it in front of you. Quickly drop into a squat. As you drop into a squat; the dumbbell will end up between your legs.

    Just prior to exploding up onto the bench, release the dumbbell. Wearing a weight vest can provide additional loading to this movement.

    The second form of load release jumps is barbell jump squats with weight releasers. Weight Releasers are attached to the barbell. The weight releasers can be set to fall off the bar at a selected height, thus a load release effect is achieved. Once the load is released, the lifter explodes into the air in essence performing a vertical jump.

    Depth Jumps: Depth jumps involve stepping off boxes of various heights and upon landing on the floor with both legs simultaneously, exploding vertically into he air…again aggressively using the arms the added power. "The average heights for depth jumps are 0.75-0.8 meters (27-30 inches). Athletes over 220 pounds should use heights of 0.5-0.75 meters (18-27 inches)." (Dassie, 1999).

    To reiterate, the method below should not be used without expert supervision.

    Plyometric Bouncing Box Squats: Plyometric bouncing box squats involve performing loaded squats to a box placed under the lifter's mid hamstring-glute area. By allowing the legs to hit in this area, it reduces the loading on the spine, the legs absorbing the majority of the impact. As the lifter eccentrically lowers him/herself down to the box, they quickly reverse the movement by bouncing off the box and forcefully exploding upward completing the squat.


    "The Original Westside Box Squat", Simmons "Westside Box Squat" and Plyometric Box Squat Training Exercises" each elicits a different training response.

    One is not better than the other, they are just different.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  3. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Is there a typical box height?

    I recently saw a protocol by Matt Wenning where one week was medium box, slightly above depth, one week was low box, at depth or slightly below, and one week of free Squat. He did not see value in squatting to a high box.

    How does that appeal to you?

    The rocking box Squat is not like anything I have ever done. I see the benefit for general strength and odd object carryover.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  4. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Box Height

    My Box Squat Height is just below parallel. However, I sometimes preform the various versions (Original Westside, Simmons Westside, and my Plyometric Box Squatting) off a low box.

    "The Original Westside Box Squat"

    Wenning use of a High and Low Box Squat is what Geroge Frenn and Joe DeMarco did.

    The rotation of a Medium Box Squat one week, a Low Box one week and a Free Squat one week is just a variation of "The Original Westside Box Squat."

    High Box Squats

    There's some value in High Box Squat for the Squat.

    However, a High Box Squat would carry over have a greater Deadlift, since the Deadlift starts off in a Quarter Squat (High Box Squat) position.

    Sounds fine.

    "The Rocking Box Squat"

    I'd never see or tried anything like it until training with DeMarco. It was nothing that I've ever done. It's definitely different.

    You definitely generate momentum by rocking back and lifting your heals, then rocking forward and driving your heals into the floor as you ascend. I used it from time to time.

    "An Odd Carryover"

    Why would it be an odd carryover for general strength and specifically for a Powerlifting Squat.

    "The Original Westside" crew in Culver City, CA like George Frenn, Joe DeMarco, Bill "Peanuts" West, etc. demonstrated that it works.

    More than likely, it's just something new and different to you (everyone else, as well) that you have never tried. So, it's hard to comprehend.

    My initial reaction with something new is similar. Many of the training protocol that I advocate were things that I initially did not see any value in.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
    Geoff Chafe likes this.
  5. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I meant carryover to Odd Objects from the Box Squat. Stones, Barrel Lifting, Heavy Sandbags, etc. You use a similar momentum to the Rocking Box Squat.

    I do lift Odd Objects for fun and in my job I have to manipulate odd objects like pumps, motors, gearboxes, etc.
  6. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    This was my first Box Squat practice. It felt good. I hoped to hit 3 plates for a few triples. It surprised me a bit. Now that I have my setup dialed next week I will throw some bands on and go for a medium box, about 3” higher and try that probably with fast triples again.

    For my volume day I will go with heavy goblet squats, or sets of 5-8 beltless high bar squats, and two hand swings.

    PGSQT+KB SLDL- 32kg x 3 x 5+5ea

    Bar Ankle 2min

    Rack Stretch 2min

    Box Squat- 135 x 3, 165 x 3, 195 x 3, 225 x 3, 255 x 3, 285 x 3, 315 x 3, 335 x 3, 365 x 3 x 3 *low box *OT3min *belt

    *Gripper Crush- filed COC#2.5 x 11 x 1ea *hold and slow negative *bts

    Inch Trainer- 156 x 5 x 1ea

    RT Pullup- BW x 5 x 2 *max top hold last rep

    I used the Box Squat technique as prescribed by @kennycro@@aol.com. It was a different practice for me. Probably closest thing I have done is a heavy Zercher Squat where you use some momentum to get the bar off the thighs. I can see good carryover to Stones from the Box Squat.
    Antti likes this.
  7. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Interesting you bring up this topic; I just recently started doing ladders again and am beginning to realize they are my go to. For squats, I do either 1-2-3 or 2-3-5 rungs for three ladders. Depending how I feel, I will do a max rep set on the last rung (9th set).

    1-2-3 progression
    Week 1: 75%
    Week 2: 80%
    Week 3: 85%
    Week 4: 90%
    2-3-5 progression
    Week 1: 70%
    Week 2: 75%
    Week 3: 80%
    Week 4: 85%
    I did some conjugate a while back and I felt that the dynamic box squat days helped my pull a lot but not my squat equally as much. I used to box squat heavy a bunch in high school but that was because I could go a little heavier because I didn't have to worry about collapsing too far below parallel.
    Geoff Chafe likes this.
  8. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I have never used ladders for Squat or Deadlift. Looks tough.

    Percentages based on 1RM or TM? 85% x 3 x 2, 3, 5 sounds brutal

    How would you program rest periods?

    Once a week?

    Couple minutes between rungs and five minutes or more between ladders?

    I typically do the higher rep sets first and step down, not up. Probably because it’s easier that way.
  9. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to go up the ladders. This year as I've done a couple of AMRAP sets in a row or done three straight sets or so, the first set has typically always been worse than the later one(s). But of course, the set of five in the end is a lot more reps so the intensity should be carefully tailored for the session.
    Geoff Chafe likes this.
  10. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count


    Squat Monday, deadlift Thursday

    Its usually about 2-3 min between both rungs and ladders when the percentages are low amd 4-5 min when the percentages are high. The low reps are easy to recover from going up and are easy to knock out after the higher reps so rest isnt very critical. Its a great way to increase volume density.

    I like going up because it makes the first two rungs part of the warm up. I do 5x at 50% of the highest weight I'll hit for the day, 3-5x @75%, then start the rungs at 100%.
    ShawnM and Geoff Chafe like this.
  11. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    A good gauge of how I am doing has been 315 x 5 x 5 with five minutes rest, in a fasted state.

    What is my BW? Is it easy or hard? Is there pain or restriction? Are reps technical or sloppy? How do I feel one day, two days, five days later?

    On Saturday I did:

    PGSQT+1HS- 32kg x 2 x 5 x 5ea *rack stretches bts

    Bar Ankle 1min

    BSQT- 135 x 3, 185 x 3, 225 x 2, 275 x 1, 315 x 5 x 5 *belt *OT5min

    2HS x 10- 48kg, 56kg, 64kg, 56kg, 48kg OTM

    It felt easy, but I am pretty sore. No surprise there. For being relatively detrained I feel good about my performance.
    Philippe Geoffrion and Antti like this.
  12. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Bro Mo You use this protocol for Deadlift?

    That sounds even worse than using this for Squat.

    I like it though. I will have to give it a go for Squat
  13. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    For DL I do 3x1,2,3 ladders. For bench, I do one day of 3x2,3,5 and a higher volume day at 5% lower of 3x3,5,7.
    Geoff Chafe likes this.

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