When I first began toying with the barbell squat way back in 1986 I knew nothing about the lift. Bodybuilding magazines featured pictures of Tom Platz squatting, and because he had monster wheels, I decided to give them a try.
28 years later they are still one of my favorite lifts. Squats never get easier, always pay off and help to build just as much mental strength as they do physical strength and size.
There are no easy squat sets, or squat workouts. 5×5 sessions are brutal man-makers. Heavy daily singles, which I used to build my squat close to a 700 pound raw max, are like jumping out of a plane into a war zone. They require an insane focus on form, a controlled rage that no squat avoider will ever understand, and a do or die mentality. You can’t be second guessing yourself with heavy weight on your back.
And 20 rep squats… where to begin? Somewhere around rep 13 you start to have an out of body experience. Time slows down, the walls begin to melt, and you question your sanity. Why did I decide to try these? Why? Can I do this? Can I do this?
Thousands and thousands of squat reps have taught me a few things over the years. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert, but I would like to share some tips and advice for the young trainee who is just starting his long journey with this potent compound exercise.
Here are 20 things to know before you begin squatting.