“Two-times my bodyweight? 1.5 times my bodyweight? Double bodyweight? What’s a good squat anyway? What’s realistic? What’s a good baseline? And what ultimate goal should I have?”
It’s all very confusing, isn’t it, and the answer will confuse, and possibly even perturb you, even more…(sorry in advance).
As always, it depends.
It depends on your goals.
Are you training to compete in powerlifting or weightlifting? Are you striving to be an elite CrossFit athlete, or are you just wanting to be strong and functional for life?
But for general health, having a double bodyweight, or 415 and 300-pound back squat, is really not required, and it shouldn’t even necessarily be your goal.
Consider this: The only reason for the lifestyle athlete to hit a double bodyweight squat is because your ego somehow wants to be there. But what might you need to sacrifice in order to get there? Your conditioning? Bodyweight gymnastics strength? Spending time on mobility? Spending too many hours at the gym that your home life and work start to suffer?
Instead, if you’re a lifestyle athlete, consider yourself to be on a continuum, where you’re constantly just trying to improve a little bit.
Another consideration: Along the way, test your front squat. Your front squat percentage should be somewhere in the range of 85 percent of your back squat. If it’s not, then it might be worth devoting some time to strengthening your front squat.
One more tip: You also want to make sure you don’t have a serious imbalance between your left and right sides, so single leg work also comes into play. A good (challenging) baseline for this is a rear-foot elevated split squat: Can you do 8 reps with one-third (33 percent) of your bodyweight in each hand?
Once you achieve:
then you can create your next, small step goal, which could be as simple as adding 10 pounds to your one rep max back squat or maybe striving to be able to do three or five reps at your current one-rep max.
The key is to set small, realistic, achievable, and measurable goals to keep you moving along the continuum, rather than setting a long-term, possibly unrealistic goal of achieving a double bodyweight back squat by the end of the year.
Baby steps help you stay the course and respect where you’re at, all the while keeping you on the path to long-term improvements.
What’s the best exercise program to improve you or your client’s squat? The answer lies in a comprehensive assessment and a deep understanding of exercise principles.
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