Wednesday, 27 July 2011

20 Rep Squats

Squats are the one of the best exercises for leg development, power, definition and strength, as well as cardiovascular health. Any exercise that forces you to use lots of big muscle groups is going to get your blood pumping and lungs working!

What I will often add to my training routine will be 20 rep squats. I was first introduced to 20 rep squats in John McCallum's book Keys to progress. This book was put together from articles written by McCallum way back in the 60's. Even with all the advancements in training, it is one of the best books i've ever read on gaining strength.

One of his first articles in the book is based on 20 rep squats. These will stimulate your strength gains and growth massively if done with the right intensity. McCallum, states that you must pick a weight you can do only 10 reps with and then do 20 with it. That's how hard you have to work. Every rep past 10 needs to be do or die.

In between reps you can take 3 deep breaths, on the third breath, you hold it and go down for the next squat, breathing out as you go up to the top.

They aren't for the faint hearted but will give you gains throughout your whole body if done with the right intesity.

Over the years, I have worked on more depth in my squats, taking my thighs below parallel, as seen in the above picture. I wouldnt adivse this if you round your lower back, parallel is fine. However, if you have the flexibility, this will give you extra strong glutes (bum muscles). A lot of people have weak glutes and bad backs to go with it. Deep squats, done with correct technique can really fix that.

A great stretch to get better at the bottom part of your squat is the deep squat stretch.

You can hold onto something in front. If you have a bit more flexibility, you can open you legs a little wider and hold onto your feet. I work on keeping my head up and back as flat as possible. You can hold this between 30-60 seconds. It doesnt have to be at the gym. I do this at home, sometimes daily. It is also good for healthy knees.

If you want to have a go at 20 rep squats, do them at the start of your workout while you are fresh and warmed up. Have a spotter, or use the pins on a squat rack encase you can't make one of the last few reps. You won't need many other exercises in your workout for that day. I could have gone home after doing them yesterday, but soldiered on!


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