20 Rep Squats, who's still doing them?

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    20 Rep Squats, who's still doing them?


    For the last few months of training I've been performing 20 rep squats once weekly, and ever since starting them I've grown to love the intensity and fire needed to complete the set. I started pretty low in the weight department, to conservatively measure my leg strength, with what if I recall correctly was a 120 pound (plates only) set. That was quite the change from the 300 pounds I was squatting with poor form and a drastically less than stellar range of motion.

    Since starting up on the 20 rep squat sets, a pre-existing knee injury I suffered from last summer has been progressively improving, from the point where it used to bother me almost all the time, to now where I almost can't notice it most of the time. I've only had one week where I failed to make the full target 20 reps without racking the bar for a few moments, but that was because my phone rang after a few reps into my set, and I just couldn't properly get myself fired back up after anwering the call. It just threw me out of the world of focus and intensity that I tend to immerse myself in before attempting these sets.

    Mental preparation is even more key than the physical preparation of warming up with light sets and stretching that I utilize before attempting the set. I tend to put on the vilest, angriest raging death metal that I have at my disposal, as it tends to put me into the place where I need to be mentally, literally seething with energy and waiting to explode into the bar as if it's my worst enemy.

    On Monday I'll be attempting 200 pounds of plate weight for the first time (I use a 15 pound standard bar at the moment), and this is a number I didn't expect to see quite so soon, but with the lack of setbacks I've seen each week, and the positive progression of weights even during my last pct, and current cutting phase, I'm ready to tackle this weight headon!

    I'd just like you guys to throw out your own personal methods for prepping for these brutal, murderous 20 rep squat sets. I know that for me personally, this quickly became my favorite exercise, and the last few times have been the hardest I've ever pushed myself, both physically and mentally.

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    I've done them in the past, just for 4weeks at a time to change up my routine. I don't squat anymore do to back surgery. Quick quetion you said you use a standard 15# bar , is this a home gym setup or at a gym? Standard bars usually weigh 45#s.
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    Max,

    Your on to something, keep doing them!!! I don't squat as much anymore because of my back and knees but do 20 rep trap bar deadlifts at least 50% of the time. As you are finding out they are BRUTAL. Look for the next 50 lbs to be fairly easy to get to also. Most people find that as long as the workload is low volume the progression for lower body is almost linear until they reach a fairly heavy (for them) poundage.

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    Jetset, I am indeed working out at home. I bought the bar and plates a few years ago, and haven't quite needed to upgrade to a heavier bar just yet. There were a few instances where I had 300+ pounds loaded up on the bar, and the flexing was a little extreme, but thankfully the bar held up just fine.

    Iron Addict, I definitely have no intentions of quitting the 20 reppers anytime soon. I've found that my hamstring strength has been improving at the same rate as well, in 5 pound increments every week since starting this program. I do 3 sets of 6 rep stiff legged deadlifts with heavy weight (for me anyway, I'm up to about 260 pounds now), but will throw in a few extra reps at the end of the final set if I'm able to do so.
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    I started 20 rep squats about 3-4 weeks ago, and i also love them. I started out w/ 250lbs, and have worked my way up to 285, and going for 290-295 next workout. As far as getting psyched up for 20 rep squats I go about the same route as you w/the music. I've definately found them to be more of a mental challenge then a physical challenge. It will definately test your manhood, you can either push through the pain or rack the bar like a *****.
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    I do 20 rep squats - right after I run a mile of cardio. Feels awesome when I'm done. Sweat like crazy.

    Depending on the day/week, I've also started doing 20 rep benches and deadlifts too. It's definitely different than the low-rep powerlifting moves I used to do. Whether or not it's working - I dunno yet. But it's part of the program I'm on now, and I'm giving it a chance.

    Mentally, I just break it down into doing 5 reps, four times. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. etc. I've had more success with that than counting straight to 20. May sound stupid, but it works for me...
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    I use the angry death metal in my 20 reps as well..definitely helps feed the fire. A little ALCAR in the pre-workut drink seems to help as well.

    Right now I'm using pretty low wieght because summer is more of a maintenance season for me as I am unable to get to a gym with any regularity. This fall when I get back into the swing of things and start bulking I'm going to hit the squat rack hard
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    Just reading this thread is making my heart race. 20 rep squats are an integral part of my workout and make every legs day a physical and psychological battle.
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    Sweetness, good so see more 20 rep squat "warriors" here, because I think that it takes a real warrior mentality to finish a hard 20 rep set. I've had to wait a good 7 or 8 minutes on several occasions before pushing onto the rest of my leg workout many times from the exhaustive effort put forth. Usually by rep 15 the dominating thought in my head is to get the damn set done at any and all costs, even if it takes a 10 breath pause in between these last few reps to get it done. You know the feeling I'm talking about, forearms are numb, upper back/traps/shoulders are screaming for mercy, and those are just the areas holding the damn bar! Definitely good stuff.
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    You mean you do something after them? Then you haven't REALLY done them yet--lol. After a REAL set of 20 rep squats or deads I am usually still on the floor a good 7 or 8 minutes later.

    Iron Addict
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    Laf, I guess I haven't reached the point of near-death experience yet with these. As I mentioned before I lift at home, and don't have a proper safety cage, so I'll keep slowly moving up the weight with amounts I can handle for now. No sense in pinning myself under weight I can't get back up really...
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    I've been doing 20 rep squats (ass to the grass) every other week for the past two months. By far, since doing these, I have had the best leg development in my life. I am a true believer! Last week I thought I was going to puke after rep 15. Toughed it out and thought I was gonna pass out after I racked the weight. Legs were all tore up for the weekend. Wimpered like a baby whenever getting out of my car.
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    Yes, I have been doing 20 rep. squats for awhile now. I started at 185 (including bar) and the last week I did them, I was at 215. That is quite an improvement for me. I have big legs, but just aren't that strong in the squat department. I didn't do them the last workout and will start doing them again here shortly. But I find the biggest battle is getting psyched out before the set and during the begginning. As I go down even on the first five, the weight feels heavy for me. By about ten I am like there is no way I can do this. But then I dig deep and leave it all on the line. By the last five I am taking a good 8-10 breaths between each but each time I get it up. Upon completion I lay there for about 10 minutes and think, damn, I am glad I have two weeks until I do them next (I rotate squats and deadlifts each week).

    I tell you what though, even though my squats aren't the best, this is the biggest my legs have ever been, by far. And that is the first time I saw constant improvement on a weekly basis for the long of a time frame (12 weeks).
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    20 rep squats...Luv em! I 've been doing them going on 4+ months and really like the 'psych' on squat days. I started at 265lbs and have worked up to 350lbs, at this point generally adding a consistant 5lbs each run.

    I only go to break parallel...if I tried the 'ass to the grass' method I would likely watch my patella pop off and shoot across the room. I'll let you guys with good knees make up the extra angle for my lacking.
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    Excellent, I just made 200 pounds today, and I'm still pumped about it. The last 3 or so reps were pretty rough, I swear it felt like those last 3 took like a minute.
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    damn only your last 3 were rough? my experience with 20 reps squats has been good. But i have gotten more than a few people asking if im ok while lying on the ground trying to breath
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    Oh god no, that's not what I meant at all. The last 12 reps were tough as nails, but I was just saying the last 3 were particularly taxing, enough so that I wasn't so sure that I was going to finish. But I stuck with it, and did manage to complete the set when it was all said and done.
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    I'll do my regular squat routine followed by 20 reppers. Last workout was 405 for 6 for the last set, 5 minute break, then 285 for 20's. Next week, I'll try 295 and go from there. Usually afterwards, I'll take 8-10 minutes to catch my breath and start walking normally again. Then, it's on to hack squats, extensions, curls, and calves. It sucks but it works, and that's good enough for me.
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    we would train well together.
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    i assume you do 20 reps for just one set correct??
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    yeah, 1 set is enough. any more than that is sadistic.
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    20 rep squat routines are awesome for a change up. may not cause a great strength increase but the development is usually good. but why do people say they dont squat because of a bad back or knee. if your hurting you are probably not using the right form.
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    well unless you have had back surgery but I still do the 20 reps sets on leg press..
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    haha I tried 20 rep squats today and was severely defeated. I got to 15 and I couldnt even stand still and got all light headed. I racked it and did another 5 30 seconds later. I am looking forward to next weeks for a chance to redeem myself.
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    buddy thats whats supposed to happen. If you go staright to 20 then you are using too light of a weight. Ideally you choose a weight that you fail at 10 reps then rest then crank out a few more reps then rack it then more reps until you hit 20. If you got to 15 then I'd say add a FEW lbs and don't fear that pain cuz its coming haha
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    Quote Originally Posted by primal1
    20 rep squat routines are awesome for a change up. may not cause a great strength increase but the development is usually good. but why do people say they dont squat because of a bad back or knee. if your hurting you are probably not using the right form.

    there are plenty of exercises that you can experience pain on with proper form if you have a pre-existing injury. A bad knee or back can act up during squats for sure.
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    I tried the 20 rep thing for the first time.
    i started with 225 my bodyweight.
    I smoked it , I am going to have to increase, but i definately can see the results.
    I am fat 20% or so and my legs are separated as hell I can DEFINITELY see the benefits from this. Thank you to all for opening my eyes to leg training. Oh i just built me a sled for 10$!!!!!! My friends hate training legs with me..

    on this weeks agendA: NOT COLLAPSING UNDER 275.

    WARNING: huge legs at the end of the tunnel.
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    Heh, I'm kinda ashamed to admit it, but I've decided to go to a 5*5 method for squats for the next while, for a little break from the 20 reppers. I noticed that the last few times out my form was starting to suffer during the 20 rep sets, too much forward lean especially, and that needed correcting. I'm cutting atm, and found that I had to drop the weight from what I was using for 20 rep sets just for the 5*5 method, in order to increase my rep depth, slow things down a little and get rid of the lean. Oh well, it'll be back to the 20 reppers once I bulk again!
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    ive been doing the 20 reppers for a while now and they do seem to becoming "easier" but still hard as hell. I usually colapse afterward and just lay down attempting to catch my breath. Started at 205 and up to 245 now increasing weight 5lbs per week. My knees feel alot better now than they did when I was doing low reps.
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    well i decide to do 250 b4 i tried 275, not bad i finished it, it was pretty rough.
    275 might just check me into the pain hotel.
    introduse me into the seein stars, vomiting type of leg workout that i have only heard about.
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    I remember reading somewhere that some enlightented fellow was against the whole hardgainer style 20-rep compount exercise routine. I believe his reasoning was that because it is a compound exercise, many smaller muscle groups are also involved as stabilizers or secondary movers. When going so high on the number of consecutive reps, these smaller muscle groups may begin to fail before the larger, primary movers do. In this case, this can lead to injury as the smaller muscle fails and ones form starts to suffer, possibly without being noticed until it is too late.

    I'm no scientist, but that was the gist of the argument anyhow.

    From my own personal experience with 20-reppers, I can see how this could happen. Of course, I'm no superman. I'm quite human - flawed.
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    ^What better way to build up the ancillaries?^

    BTW I've recently started doing everything based on 20-rep compound movements and thus far love it.
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    That was.. insightful?
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    How Many Sets Of The 20 Reps Do U Bros Bust Out? And What Else Do U Add To Your Workloads After U Do Them If Anything
  35. king of useless information!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by oswizzle
    How Many Sets Of The 20 Reps Do U Bros Bust Out? And What Else Do U Add To Your Workloads After U Do Them If Anything

    I think we covered this already but its just one set of 20. If you can do two sets of 20 then you sure as hell didn't use the correct weight.

    Some guys do a set or two of real heavy squats and then the 20 rep set some just do the 20 rep set. Myself, I'll do the 20 rep set and after resting I'll do some like SLDLs.
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    One of each major exercise per group. And a few sets here and there of a supporting exercise. For example:

    Push:
    Squat 1*20
    Squat on balls of feet 2*8
    Incline/Flat bench 1*20
    Incline/Flat bench 2*8 (Whatever I didn't do in the previous set)
    Push/Arnold press 1*20
    Db laterals 2*8
    (When I get my dip station I will be adding in a 20-repper for dips and taking out the second set of bench.)

    Pull:
    Deads 1*20 (When I remember I shrug @ the top of the movement and cut out the set of shrugs)
    SLDL/Good mornings/Leg curls 2*8
    Pullup/Bb row 1*20
    Pullup/Bb row 2*8 (Whatever I didn't do in the previous set, alternating)
    Bb curl 1*20
    Shrug 1*20
    Last edited by Supa Freek 420; 06-17-2004 at 01:16 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonOfThor
    That was.. insightful?
    IOW improved overall development because everything including supporting groups are hit, and hit well.

    Because I want to insure that I hit the major groups as well (as your reasoning presented) I add in supporting exercises as well, just not in 20-rep fashion.
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    Lightbulb


    Started 20 rep Squats about two weeks ago and I must say you are all Wusses! J/k But seriously I started my sets out at 305 the first week. Smashed it killed it could have done five or six more. Second and current week I am at 325 for 20 but it ain't easy any more. I can't wait to see the changes this brings in about 3 months. No Angry Death Metal for this Hip-Hop head I listen to my boy CANIBUS to get me through the sets.
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    Does anyone do 20 rep... FRONT squats??

    I do front squats for my leg days as I can feel it in my quads a HELL of a lot more. But I must say, this thread has piqued my interest, hmmm...
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    Yeah, in addition to regular squats I do 20 rep front squats, hack squats, and 45 degree leg presses.
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