There is simply no other exercise (and certainly no machine) that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat. – Coach Mark Rippetoe
We first posted the above quote after our first day (“ROCK THE SQUAT!“) on the squat cycle some 15 weeks ago. This past Sunday marked the penultimate day in the CFDC squat cycle, with everyone revisiting their old max for 3 singles.
Old max, as in that number everyone’s been basing their squats off of for the past 3-plus months.
Old max, as in that number everyone is about to smash through on the way to a new, and hopefully substantial, PR.
Some people got a little ahead of themselves and tacked on some extra weight to their squats this past Sunday – not ideal, but the enthusiasm is certainly appreciated. That just means of course, that even bigger and better things are expected of you next week.
What to Shoot For: back at the beginning of the squat cycle, Tom mentioned that a lot of people could/would see at least a 10% increase in their squat numbers. For some of you, for whom form was the limiting factor (rather than just strength), you may see slightly more than a 10% increase. Calculate out a 10% increase using your old max, and that will give you a rough goal to shoot for.
How to Shoot for That Number: We haven’t settled on an exact structure for attempts, but limiting people to 3 seems to be most likely. That being the case, you could plan to do Attempt 1 with a 5-7% increase over your old max, and then Attempt 2 at 10%. This would leave Attempt 3 to (A) retry 10% if you missed it because your form was off; (B) drop slightly to maybe 8-9% if you missed 10% because it was too heavy (or too big a jump); or (C) after a successful attempt at 10%, perhaps increase to 12-15% over your old max depending on just how easy your second attempt went up.
How Will the Squats be Judged: By a coach. Plain and simple – one of the coaches needs to see your squat and validate the attempt.
Feel free to ask more questions in the comments section.
3 x 5 Pause Squats, 5 Push-Ups, 5 Lunges/side, 5 Alt-T’s/side; then,
Squat Walk RT 50′ (Width of the Ct),
Squat Walk LF 50′ (Width of the Ct),
Hip Cross-Over Stretch (60″/side)
Squat Cycle 3, Week 3:
Back Squat 3 x 1 @ 100%
Warm-Up for the day’s working sets was roughly programmed at 1 x 10 @ 30-40%, 1 x 8 @ 50%, 1 x 5 @ 65%, 1 x 3 @ 75%, 1 x 2 @ 85%, 1 x 1 @ 90%, and 1 x 1 95%.
Just to reiterate – as was so bluntly written on the whiteboard on Sunday – remember to get a spotter before lifting. It can be a coach, or it can be a classmate (preferably two), but don’t just expect that someone will be watching, waiting to help you when things get heavy.
Also, just to clarify: Spotters spot, judges judge. They don’t mix well.
Your spotters are there to make sure you’re safe, NOT to ensure you’re getting depth. At max weight, it’s too much to try to watch someone’s depth as well as help them if they get stuck. That’s one of the reasons will be using coaches next week to judge everyone’s PR attempts.
Two weeks ago, when we started the 3rd wave of the squat cycle (“IN THE SQUAT SEAT“), our accessory was “heavy” KB swings, which included heavier than normal KBs, two KBs, or partner assisted power swings, in which your partner actively pushed the KB into the back swing. This past Sunday, we revisited the power swings, but combined them with partner assisted power leg raises.
For the leg raises, one person lays on their back and holds their partners ankles for stability, raises both legs all the way up and then has their partner actively push their legs back towards the ground. The goal was to stop your legs hitting the ground and immediately kick them back up towards your partner.
Partners rotated after every exercise – so P1 did 7 power swings, and then P2 did 7 power swings, then P1 did 7 leg raises, and then P2 did 7 leg raises. This constituted one round. Partners continued in this fashion for 5 rounds.
One final announcement/reminder: next Sunday’s 9AM Elements class will be devoted to Squat Mobility! We will use the hour addressing the majority of issues that plague most people when it comes to squatting, working through stretches and mobility exercises with an eye to improving the squat position. The idea, of course, is to increase everyone’s chances of success in hitting big PR’s during the 10AM class, and Coach Mike Choi has offered to lend us a hand in this endeavor. As such, I would encourage all of you to come out. We will re-post a reminder with Thursday’s blog post, but if you have specific issues you’d like us to address, please highlight in the comments section.