Powerlifting

Building An Explosive Squat


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Reposted from Chad’s T-Nation Article “An Explosive Squat Is A Bigger Squat”

“Through the roof, through the roof, through the roof.” Those are the words that I kept repeating to myself, as I approached the bar, loaded with 905 pounds for the American Record raw squat in the 308 weight class. I wanted to launch the bar through the roof on that squat and explosive strength is what was needed to make that happen.

If you want to squat huge weights, you must be explosive, there is no way around it. Building an explosive squat requires a 4 part approach, consisting of jumping, heavy squats, speed squats and pause squats. These 4 training modalities will develop speed and strength through every portion of the squat and make you like a bomb ready to explode out of the hole with huge weights.

Jumps

With the exception of maximum speed sprinting, jumping, is the highest velocity you can move. I don’t advocate sprint training if your primary goal is improving your squat because it carries too high an injury risk with it. Jumps will serve to develop your rate of force development, enhancing your ability to accelerate the bar through sticking points. This program will employ weighted box jumps, box jumps and depth jumps to enhance your RFD. It is critical when performing box jumps to focus on displacing your hips as high as possible, not just pulling your knees up to land on the box, you shouldn’t use a box that causes you to land in anything lower than a parallel squat. Ensure you are landing on the box softly on all reps. Depth jumps are an extremely powerful training tool but are also very taxing to the body and nervous system, so they must be used strategically.

Heavy Squats

If you want to squat big weights, you have to squat big weights. Weight selection for your heavy work is critical, you need to ensure that you NEVER MISS A WEIGHT. Missing reps doesn’t make you stronger, making them does. You will be much better served to take 10-15 pounds off your training weights and dominating them, then going for broke each training session. Being able to walk away from a training set of 3 reps and telling yourself that you could have done it for 5 reps will not only build strength without overtaxing your CNS, it will also build confidence and confidence goes a long way when you looking to squat huge weights.

Speed Squats

Speed squats, also called compensatory acceleration squats, will ingrain your technique, build your work capacity and give you practice imparting maximal velocity to the bar. Your speed squats will be performed after your heaviest set of squats and done on controlled rest periods to improve your general fitness. It is imperative that you always try to move the bar as fast as possible during these sets. I try and do the whole set in one breath. Take a huge breath into your belly before beginning the initial descent and hold that air as you do the entire set. Think about trying to perform 1 rep per second, so aim to perform a set of 4 reps in 4 seconds or under. These sets are also the best time to perfect your technique, so while speed is critical, speed through the optimal technique is even more important. One of the most common errors made by people when squatting maximal loads, is lowering the bar too slowly or more slowly than you would during lighter sets, use these sets to become more comfortable without a quick descent.

Pause Squats

Right out of the hole is the most common place that raw lifters will miss squats.  To train the explosive strength qualities needed to improve this area of your squat, pause squats are a simple (there is a big difference between simple and easy) and effective answer. We will do pause squats with 7, 5 and 3 second pauses in the bottom position, these long pauses will force you to learn how to ‘turn it on’ coming out of the hole, as well as building strength in the hips and back. Paused work will also teach your body to find its strongest position and improve your ability to replicate this position during regular squatting. The other common way that raw squatters will miss weights if because they fall forward due to upper back weakness, so if you have access to a Safety Squat Bar, use that for your pause squats and you will correct that weakness, while you are building strength out of the hole with the pause.

These four components will come together to form a training program to turn you into explosive squatting machine.  Here is the program…

 

Week 1

1-Box Jumps holding 25# dumbbells-6×3 at 75% of max height2-Squat-Up to 80% of 1rm for 3 reps3-Speed Squats-60% of 1rm for 5 sets of 4 reps, 1 min rest periods4-Narrow Stance 7 Second Pause Squats-40% of 1rm for 3 sets of 5 reps

5-Weighted Situps-5 sets of 15 reps

Week 2

1-Box Jumps holding 25# dumbbells-5×2 at 85% of max height2-Squat-Up to 85% of 1rm for 3 reps3-Speed Squats-60% of 1rm for 6 sets of 4 reps, 1 min rest periods4-Narrow Stance 7 Second Pause Squats-42.5% of 1rm for 3 sets of 5 reps

5-Weighted Situps-5 sets of 15 reps

Week 3

1-Box Jumps holding 25# dumbbells-4×1 up to max height2-Squat-Up to 90% of 1rm for 3 reps3-Speed Squats-60% of 1rm for 7 sets of 4 reps, 1 min rest periods4-Narrow Stance 7 Second Pause Squats-45% of 1rm for 3 sets of 5 reps

5-Weighted Situps-5 sets of 15 reps

Week 4 (Deload)

1-Box Jumps-3×3 at 75% of max height2-Squat-3×3 at 60% of 1rm3-Weighted Situps-3 sets of 10 reps

Week 5

1-Box Jumps-6×3 at 80% of max height2-Squaat-Up to 92.5% of 1rm for 2 reps3-Speed Squat-65% of 1rm for 6 sets of 3 reps, 90 second rest periods4-Narrow Stance 5 Second Pause Squats-50% of 1rm for 3 sets of 4 reps

5-Weighted Situps-5 sets of 12 reps

Week 6

1-Box Jumps-5×2 at 90% of max height2-Squaat-Up to 95% of 1rm for 2 reps3-Speed Squat-67.5% of 1rm for 5 sets of 3 reps, 90 second rest periods4-Narrow Stance 5 Second Pause Squats-52.5% of 1rm for 3 sets of 4 reps

5-Weighted Situps-5 sets of 12 reps

Week 7

1-Box Jumps-4×1 up to max height2-Squaat-Up to 97.5% of 1rm for 2 reps3-Speed Squat-70% of 1rm for 4 sets of 3 reps, 90 second rest periods4-Narrow Stance 5 Second Pause Squats-55% of 1rm for 3 sets of 4 reps

5-Weighted Situps-5 sets of 12 reps

Week 8 (Deload)

1-Box Jumps-3×3 at 75% of max height2-Squat-3×3 at 60% of 1rm3-Weighted Situps-3 sets of 10 reps

Week 9

1-Depth Jumps from 12” box-2 sets of 5 reps2-Squat-Up to 100% of 1rm for 1 rep3-Speed Squat-75% of 1rm for 4 sets of 2 reps, 2 min rest periods4-Narow Stance 3 Second Pause Squats-60% of 1rm for 3 sets of 3 reps

5-Weighted Situps-5 sets of 10 reps

Week 10

1-Depth Jumps from 18” box-2 sets of 4 reps2-Squat-Up to 102.5% of 1rm for 1 rep3-Speed Squat-80% of 1rm for 3 sets of 2 reps, 2 min and 30 sec rest periods4-Narow Stance 3 Second Pause Squats-62.5% of 1rm for 3 sets of 3 reps

5-Weighted Situps-4 sets of 10 reps

Week 11

1-Depth Jumps from 24” box-2 sets of 3 reps2-Squat-Up to 105% of 1rm for 1 rep3-Speed Squat-85% of 1rm for 2 sets of 2 reps, rest as needed4-Narow Stance 3 Second Pause Squats-65% of 1rm for 3 sets of 3 reps

5-Weighted Situps-3 sets of 10 reps

Week 12 (Deload)

1-Box Jumps-3×3 at 75% of max height2-Squat-3×3 at 60% of 1rm3-Weighted Situps-3 sets of 10 reps

Week 13

1-Box Jump-3, 2, 1 reps, increasing height each set to activate Central Nervous System2-Squat-Work up to a new 1rm

If You Have Questions About This Article-Ask Them In The Comments Section Below!

Chad Wesley Smith is the founder and head physical preparation coach at Juggernaut Training Systems. Chad has a diverse athletic background, winning two national championships in the shot put, setting the American Record in the squat (905 in the 308 class, raw w/ wraps) and most recently winning the 2012 North American Strongman championship, where he earned his pro card. In addition to his athletic exploits, Chad has helped over 50 athletes earn Division 1 athletic scholarships since 2009 and worked with many NFL Players and Olympians. Chad is the author of The Juggernaut Method and The Juggernaut Method 2.0.
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