By Ben Seath on 1/14/2013 Back to Articles
“How To Squat BIG At A Meet” Ben Seath’s FIRST EVER Lifting Article. 20 Yrs. Old ( November 2010)
"HOW TO SQUAT BIG AT A MEET!"
When it comes to the “BIG 3” (squat, bench press and dead lift), squat is by far my favorite and my best lift of them all. The squat has been my best lift ever since I started lifting. By the time I was 11 years old, I weighed 135 pounds and had a successful 205-pound raw parallel squat. Right now, my short-term goal for the squat is to break 700 pounds raw with just a weight belt in my next competition, which is on December 4th, 2010. After this, I am going to do a UPA meet February 26th, 2011. This meet will allow me to use knee wraps. I will be shooting for a Raw 750+ pounds squat. My long-term goal is to squat 1000 pounds raw. I will explain to you how I plan on achieving my goals and how I will keep my body healthy and injury free so I can stay consistent!
The only way you will be able to get a big raw squat is by staying injury free! You will never be able to achieve your goals if you are getting hurt all the time. That is why you need to know your body’s limits. When you are squatting, injury will most likely happen after you descend and explode out of the bottom. At this point, you’re in a crouched position with a lot of tension on your knees, your back is slightly rounded, and your hip flexors are stretched out. Now at this point your goal is to explode out of the bottom and get momentum up so you can finish the squat, but when one of the three body parts I listed above (knees, back and hips) is injured it will throw off your physical and mental ability to successfully finish the lift. This is why it is very important to stretch out and warm-up slowly. This will not take you long and will help prevent injury. Right when I get to the gym, I do this for my stretching each squat work out.
Knee Circles: 2 Sets 10 circles both clockwise and counter clockwise
Leg Swings: (Forward and Side): 2 sets 10 swings each leg
Toe Touches: 2 sets 20 seconds
Split Squats: 2 Sets 8 squats
That will take me maybe 10-15 minutes. That is all it takes. It’s a small procedure that is often overlooked. Take the extra 10-15 minutes. Your body will love you for it.
Now we move on to the good stuff. Now that we know how to not injure ourselves, let’s talk about throwing around some weight! I am a big 5/3/1 program guy. I especially like it for squats. This is what my rep range looked like for this week of squats:
85% Week 545 Lbs. Goal 6-8 Reps 90% Week 575 Lbs. Goal 5 Reps 95% Week 605 Lbs. Goal 3-4 Reps De-load
After each max rep set, I go on to dropping the weight to 50%-60% and doing 5 sets of 10 reps with a short rest. I like to keep the rest between 60-90 seconds long. This will increase the volume and help you on perfecting your squat form. During the 5 by 10, I focus on each rep and act like it is a max one rep. While doing the high volume of reps,
your muscle memory will get used to the motion of a max squat attempt, and soon you won’t even have to think about each rep; you will just do it like second nature. After I am done with squats I move on to the leg press, even though I am already warmed up from the squats. I will take my time warming up on the leg press also. I will start with 3 45’s on each side, do 10 reps and just keep adding 45’s till I get to 7 45’s on each side, then I’ll do 3 or 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps with 60 to 90 seconds rest in-between sets. Usually after leg press my legs and back are spent and doing any more leg exercises, I believe, would run the risk of over training and becoming catabolic. Now I’m done with the legs. I hit my core. You have to have a strong core to keep your back from rounding during the squat. My main core exercise is weighted decline sit-ups. The way I add weight is by holding a barbell behind my neck and performing the sit-up. It does not take much weight because they get heavy fast. With this exercise, I will do 3 heavy sets of 8 reps then 2 drop sets with body weight for a max rep. Now I’m done and craving my 4 scoops of Torrent.
When I have meet coming up, my squat training is much different. I don’t worry about getting my max rep sets in. I will start focusing on getting heavier weights so my body can get use to it before the meet. I will do my regular 5/3/1 rep range all the way till about 4 weeks before. Then I’ll do this:
4 weeks out Max out my squat I make sure not to let my self go to failure
3 weeks out: 2 Sets of a Hard 3 Rep
2 weeks out: Try and Double your last Max Squat
1 week out: Hit your opener and light secondary exercises
Here is what My 4 workouts before my last meet looked like.
4 Weeks out: 635 Hard Single http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sha3XNniF70
3 Weeks out: 585 Triple http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DOU98UfXaw
2 Weeks out: 635 for a Double http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zyfUtX4aKU
1 Week out: 605 Opener http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTulRKFWgP4
This is exactly what I did before my meet September 18th 2010 I hit a 20 pound Pr 655 pounds and I barley missed a 710 pound squat. Believe me! This squat cycle works!
Following these instructions and these tips will benefit you by increasing your weight on squats and by preventing injuries. This article is a sure bet in helping you be successful in this lift.