Steve Shaw’s 20 Repetition Squat Routine for Fast Mass


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Tiger Fitness Editorial Director Steve Shaw performs a 20 rep set of squats in 30 seconds. 20 Rep Squat Routine Here are the nuts and bolts of the program. You will be lifting three days per week: Monday Workout A; Wednesday Workout B; Friday Workout C; Squats. Start with 45% of your one rep max and perform a 20 rep set during Workout A. Each week thereafter, add 5 pounds to the bar.

Massive Iron Steve Shaw 27,953 views 10:18 ��️ Shocking Testosterone Truth: Which exercises Increase & Decrease IT (Your Testosterone levels) Duration: 8:29. With the 20-rep squat routine, perform the first workout with a resistance that normally challenges you for 12 repetitions. Get 20 reps.

For each succeeding 20-rep squat workout add five to 10 pounds on the bar and find a way to accomplish 20 reps. Make sure you are completely recovered prior to attempting the 20-rep workout. This is not a routine for beginners.

You must have decent form on your heavy compound lifts before engaging in any form of heavy strength training. If you have spotty form, or do not have at least an 800 pound total for deadlift, squat and bench press, I recommend sticking with a more basic beginner routine.. This routine focuses on density days utilizing rest-pause training, and strength days. The 20 Rep Squat routine should last for 6 weeks and comprise 2/3 sessions per week.

Start off with 3 sessions but if recovery becomes an issue step it down to 2. This routine should be used sparingly as it is extremely challenging. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t return to it for at least 6 weeks after you have completed the first cycle. Despite its simplicity, the 20 rep program is considered to be one of the most demanding mass building lifting cycles out there. The program has been around for more than fifty years and has been used time and time again by lifters looking to gain lean mass and strength over a short period.

Tom Platz used 20 rep squats as a staple in his routine and had some of the biggest and strongest legs on the planet. For this routine, you will be squatting 3 times a week with one set of 20 repetitions each workout. Your goal is to add five pounds to your 20 rep max each training session.

DO NOT attempt a 20-rep squat program without a power rack or safety pins. Being stuck under a heavy barbell in the bottom of a squat with no place to go while you are gasping for air is not a good scenario. The Training Program.

Let’s jump right into it. The heart and soul of this program is the barbell squat, done for 20 reps. You will most likely need to start with approximately 40-45% of your one rep squat max. Add weight to the 20 rep set when it feels manageable.

3 Sets of Squats Using the same weight, perform as many reps as you can. Stop a set when you feel your form is slipping, or if you feel you can fail on the next rep. Many trainers like to schedule up to three workouts per week, each containing one set of 20-rep squats, adding five pounds to the bar every time.

Others say.

List of related literature:

He’s just started his leg routine—three sets of squats, two sets of leg presses, two or three sets of leg extensions on a Nautilus machine, three sets of leg curls on another machine, and then on to some hack squats, leg abductions, and side leg raises.

“The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession” by Harrison Pope, Harrison G. Pope, Katharine A. Phillips, Roberto Olivardia, Free Press
from The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession
by Harrison Pope, Harrison G. Pope, et. al.
Free Press, 2000

He went on this program of cleans and jerks… with all the poundage he could use correctly for the required number of reps (about 15 to 20).

“The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades” by Pavel Tsatsouline
from The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades
by Pavel Tsatsouline
Dragon Door Publications, 2001

To summarize, instead of performing 6 straight reps, you do 6 reps, rest for around 10 seconds, then 2 reps, rest for around 10 seconds, 1 rep, rest for around 5 seconds, and then one more rep to finish.

“Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training” by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
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Biceps preacher curl Week 4 Week 5 Week 5 5 Flat bench Perform 2 exercises Perform 4 exercises Perform all 8 exercises press tºgether nonstop, or together nonstop, or together nonstop, or 5 Leg extension 100 reps (e.g., 50 leg 200 reps, Same for the 400 reps, R. between presses and 50 front other 4.

“Serious Strength Training” by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia
from Serious Strength Training
by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

Years later Judd became a highly successful master bodybuilder when he upped his volume and started squatting 325x30.

“Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American” by Pavel Tsatsouline
from Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American
by Pavel Tsatsouline
Dragon Door Publications, 2000

This was how he used partial reps, a method in which Tom cut down on the range of motion rather than lightening up on the weight.

“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
from The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
Simon & Schuster, 2012

He didn’t need huge numbers of sets and reps, nor did he need specific variations of movements for every segment and function of his abdominals.

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from 15 Minutes to Fitness: Dr. Ben’s SMaRT Plan for Diet and Total Health
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SelectBooks, Incorporated, 2017

and wanted to integrate weights into his program, I would start out with ten­pound dumbbells and light squats.

“The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science” by Mike Silver
from The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science
by Mike Silver
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the 15­8­4 rep sequence, adding weight and increasing speed with each set.

“The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging” by Arthur De Vany, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
from The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging
by Arthur De Vany, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Rodale Books, 2010

He definitely leaned towards heavy work and basic exercises such as the press, rows, curls, pull-ups, and especially the squat.

“Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors” by Randy Roach
from Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors
by Randy Roach
AuthorHouse, 2008

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  • I burned out after 3 weeks two years ago and another time in the late 80’s. I did get fast overall growth on legs but physically had a hard time staying with it.

  • i think from a HIT cardio perspective i can see 20 rep squats serving a purpose where you can alter the intensity by 1. shortening the rest between sets 2. progressively overloading the weight staying with 20 reps. I beat if you try 20 rep deadlifts drop sets or 20 rep squats drop sets it will strengthen your 15 min HIT cardio sessions on the treadmill or stairclimber. If you want to test your mental toughness, stamina, endurance give them a try separate from your regular 5 to 10 rep range mass bodybuilding routine.

  • Dam, I remember when i was younger and would do 5 sets of 20 reps and that wasnt even my whole leg workout lol. I did build my legs pretty big pretty quickly though

  • “315 for 3 sets of 20.”

    I would like to be able to do 315 for 1 set of 1. My knees are so jacked up I can’t hardly do bodyweight squats.

  • Thanks man,Your upload helped me.Ive been squatting almost every week since the lockdown with 315 being the targeted weight for quality reps.I’ve been looking for direction on gains without nearly maxing out so much.alternating touch and go box squats @365 lb.with 315 lb. parallel sets for 5-8 reps.i want 315 way below parallel with legs doing the brunt of the work.I have to be respectful of the weight more now. having a smaller frame never hurt me till 42 and now im headed for 45.

  • Coming back after a long layoff with back injury, the 20 rep squats are ideal. After 6 weeks of building my squat a little, 2×20 on squat (with light weights starting at just 55kg) but every other day and adding a total of 5kg every 8 days will get me to 2x20x90kg in 7 weeks. Little risk of hurting my back again and the strength gains are superb (I’ve done them in the distant past). Highly recommended.

  • Hi Rob. Just dropping a comment to tell you how informative I find your work out content and how entertaining I find your vlogs. Your channel is by far my favourite YouTube channel and wanted to tell you that I really appreciate the time and effort you,Jen and Chris put into it. THANK YOU!

  • Peary Rader used to push this in the old Ironman magazine. He said if you can do more than one set, increase the weight. Then do 1 or 2 sets of some other compound movements and go home. This was for hard gainers.

    Not something you can do forever, but a good basic weight gain program.

  • At nearing 50, I’ve just returned to the gym after a year hiatus. 4 day weeks and squat every time and after a month, now at 100kg/225lbs, without a belt 5 x5. Never thought of 20 reps before. So I’ll have to experiment with this idea. Thanks.

  • there is no question that this is brutal and effective.the problem is that it is very difficult to keep proper form on the latter reps. I have known several people who have injured their back doing 20 reps. I believe you would be better off doing 5-8 sets of3-5 reps

  • so, if i do this i only do the 1 set of 20? Also should I add anything else to the workout like leg press or would that be overloading?

  • Marine Corp gary 63.yrs old pay attention young people he’s on point it will get your mind set in a different way but the rewards will be t good I’d. Like to the youth do 2 rep squats. Let alone 20 get of the cell phones viedo games st arin at yourselves in the mirror s. Get off up your asses and do your fuckin legs happy veterans day thank you sir for the viedo

  • Stuff like this is just so arbitrary. Why not 18 or 21,5? You should find your ranges that work for you for strength, atrophy and muscle endurance and work with that depending on goals and training phases.

  • I’ve been lifting for almost 30 yrs. Personally, 20 rep squats (which I’ve done many times over the yrs) is the one programs that consistantly produces its intended results. One of the best thing about it is knowing how much it sucks and getting over the mind fk to start it again. Thanks for another great video & keep’em comin..

  • I’m just starting out, so I’m using what would be considered a very light weight for 4 sets of 20 reps. It’s extremely difficult. I need to pause to catch my breath 2 or 3 times during the set or else I would pass out or worse. Maybe 4 sets is too much.

  • Rob, do you post your full week of workouts anywhere? I love your all videos, but I’m most interested in your training. Love how you’re always mixing it up.

  • work up to a 1 rep max of 6 plates and rep out 5 plates 4 plates 3 plates 2 plates. thats where im at right now and im happy with the gains so far.

  • funny thing elliot mensions this because thats where i got my idea of doing 20 reps, but did it the wrong way, and what i did was, pick a heavy weight and do 20 reps for 3 sets, instead of picking a much heavier weight and do 20 reps where you couldnt do 20. so what i did, i picked 100kg and did 3 sets of 20 with that and i fucked up. now i se the video again and i see doing 20 reps with a weight that you cant do 20 lol. i liked the idea though. but man, when i was young i used to play what americans call soccer, jesus christ, they call football soccer, and although my legs looked small, almost no one could throw me out of balance even though my legs were small, dudes twice heavier than me coming up on me aggressivley and they all fell down, faggots, and to this day, my legs are still a bit small, but i only started taking STRENTH TRAINING seriously from last year, now i can squat up to 200kg and i weigh 87kg, and imagine the only leg exercises i do is dedlifts and squats

  • I do 20 rep squat every 4 to 5 weeks adding 5lbs. The catch is I must be able to do 2 sets of 20 reps with a total of 100 reps before going up. If I can’t do that I won’t go up. Right now I am at 200. 205 is next.

  • i struggle with quad strength on heavy squats, i wind up doing the “good morning “ squat on heavy singles or doubles. i need to drop some poundage and hit some high bars for awhile to catch my legs up. your legs definitely got bigger, that’s my opinion.

  • I both love and hate 20 rep breathing Squats… I love the results I hate how hard it becomes… Especially when I get up to around 150kg (330lbs) for 20… And I have learnt to do them at the end of the
    Workout too…

  • Excellent guys! I enjoy what both of the guys have to say. I can tell Chad is a good dude. �� It sucks to be getting back into shape and stand next to some guy that watches what he eats constantly. I like it that Chad is strong as hell, but is willing to humble himself.

  • I’m on my 3rd week and I’m at 210lbs for 20reps….its gruesome. Do you think it’s ok to work up to a 2-3 rep max then scale it down to your working set of 20 reps? I did 295lbs for 2….waited 2 min and hit my 20reps at 210lbs. Thoughts?

  • The worst (and effective?) 20 rep method is the 20 paused reps with your 10 rep max taking up to 2 min to finish (sometimes called breathing squats). Those are not to be trifled with!! The other straight 20 rep sets with a 50% intensity or so isn’t nearly as bad.

  • I’ve done the Dr. Randall J. Strossen Super Squats program a few times over the years and it works. Although the promised 30lbs of muscle in six weeks is debatable. I put on 30lbs in six weeks but it wasn’t all muscle.

  • Quite frankly, I’d rather just focus on slow progress. 20 rep squats are an easy way to kill yourself. Pick a weight that you can do 10 reps and then without putting the bar down do 20, tried it several times! It’s not easy and you won’t look forward to it

  • Sorry so long.
    Main thing with 20 rep squats is the bodily stress along with “tension under time” that causes the pituitary gland to release testosterone and growth hormones. It works for any age. I’m in my early 50’s and my training partner is mid 20’s….it really really works…but like you said “they are brutal and become mentally tough.
    A past wo… progression on every workout went;
    20×225, 23×225, 25×225.
    Once we hit 25 reps we’d go up in weight.
    20×230, 23×230, 25×230
    We ended up going to 275 for 23 reps when we eventually tapped-out and changed to two sets of 15 with mid-300 pounds….now that was mental and physical relief.
    At the moment we are doing like you said….we work up to a max weight for one set of 8 to 12 then drop down for one set of 20…then it’s on to either arms or upper body.
    10 years ago my son’s workout looked like this….Monday was chest and back with basic exercises. Thursday was high rep squats then directly into clean & press from the knees(more like an “upright row & press), barbell curls and two arm french press.
    He was 15 years old with PE classes so the his workouts at home were short and hard.
    Believe me or not…my wife and I did the measuring of my son’s arms…in less than two weeks his upper arms went from a cold but flexed 14 inches to 15 inched(again cold but flexed).

  • If you’re going to do 20 rep squats, to drive protein into the muscles, you better continually injest fast carbs and amines during the set. 20 rep squats will burn thru glycogen stores.

  • Rumors say that if you do 1 Set for 100 Reps for 30 Days Straight & rest your legs for 2 weeks they will grow massively
    Or you can rest during the weekends until 30 days have been completed.
    Try it out as a monthly challenge

  • Elliott, we used to to do one set of 20 reps followed by pullovers and increase the weight every week or every workout sometimes. Way back in the 1950’s. It would make anybody strong and make them grow. Nobody wants to do that any more but it sure does work. Peary Rader used to push that workout in Iron Man magazine a lot.

  • I’ve done 20 rep squats before and you’re right, they are brutal, but lately I have been doing 15 rep sets or least up to 15, using drop sets, start heavy and gradually reducing the weight til I reach my desired rep range or I’m just too fatigue to continue, and I do them once a week. I’ve noticed strength and muscle gain over time. Like I will start with 330lbs, the first time I did it I was only able to get two reps in before reducing the weight. The following week I started with 330 I was able to get 4 reps in before reducing the weight. I always believe in increasing reps before adding weight to prevent injury.

  • Point is, doing 20 reps squats at the beginning of a workout will suck up 75% of your energy for the entire workout. If not, than you didn’t give 100%! Doing sets of 20-25 reps on leg press, hack squat, smith machine squats and lunges are perfect as well!

  • I do something similar when running 20 rep squat. If you do your max 20 rep squat 3x per week you end up burning yourself out and just fatiging your low back.

  • I just did 3 x 20 rep front squats this morning as part of an overall program. Rest day tomorrow then deadlifts the next day. Again, this is a full program with upper and lower body exercises 5 days a week. 3 working days then one rest day then 2 working days and a rest day. The program is a month long, I’m on the 3rd rotation (3rd month)
    I enjoy the variety of lifts and weight loads.

  • I used to do 15-20 reps for squats for a few months, but for the past few weeks I have done 5×5 and my legs have grown several inches

  • I just finished 7 weeks of doing 20 rep squats and then on the following week I tested my 1 RM and I was shocked that I hit a PR for my 1 RM. They suck for sure but I’m a believer in the 20 rep squat.

  • My football coach had us doing this in college.. Went back to my high school I was running faster than running backs half my size… so they definitely help with athletic performance for sure

  • Good to see the guys doing the high reps, perhaps in the near future get someone that doesn’t take tren( + the rest) as his main breakfast?

  • Unlike u suggest, I like to do the 20 reps squat at the beginning of the workout, just like I’d normally do and suggest. For two reasons: First, it’s the classic rule to start with the biggest muscle group. And second, doing legs first or anything equally intense, gives a massive metabolic and hormonal boost which is beneficial for the rest of the exercises. And even thou the 20 reps are very exhausting, I at least recover rather quickly, especially since it is usually the only leg exercise of the day and I’ll be hitting an entirely different muscle group next (chest). I’ve sometimes used the 20 reps squats on a split, but any following leg exercise has felt completely redundant it’s like hitting a dead horse. My legs and calves are completely stimulated with just that 1 set of 20 squats. I’d only pair those with hamstring exercises, like leg-curls and/or deadlifts if wanting to fit in a split.

    Another tip: (This is similar to what u suggested at the end) But if wanting to get gainzz, one cool way to do incorporate 20 reps squats with normal heavy squats is to warm-up, then do 2 set of 5-6 reps of heavy squats and then end with the 20 reps squat. This is a total blast for legs, there’s not really anything needed after this. And if u’ve been doing the 20 reps squat earlier as a standalone exercise, they will feel VERY light when doing the same weight after the heavy sets!

  • I know that a natural will never get as big as a user but the question is should a natural guy workout like a user?? or does a Natty need to do different things than a user, for best results?? what’s your thoughts?

  • I love front squats for the lower rep strength work, and then completing the hammering process with high rep high bar back squats. A 20 rep finisher is a brutally fantastic way to finish a session

  • All you need is a single working set of moderate poundage squats of 15-20 reps. No need to destroy your legs tho. Just get to near maxing out and quit. Leave gas in the tank so you can lift 3X/wk. That is what really grew my thighs. Went from 23-27 inch in a yr. Once you get a max pump lifting anymore is a waste.

  • I think 20 reps it is a cutting phase for prep 12 weeks out from a competition with a carb depletion is not a building muscle techniques. Is that right so sir?

  • Chad I hope you read this, 1:14 for the 500 meter sprint on a Concept 2 is VERY impressive, you really are in with a shot of smashing that world record and I hope you do

  • What worked for me was when I was 25 years old I had only 300 pound barbell set so when I worked up to using 300 pounds for 8 repetitions I started to add reps and eventually made it to 25 repetitions using 300 pounds and I was running and I was in the best shape of my life.

  • Bit late, but really amazing progress. Your legs blew up haha.

    Out of curiosity, have you always weighed in the 74-79kg range? Have you ever been heavier, or were you able to get as strong as you are without getting really big/heavy first?

  • 20 reps? Is this because higher reps are better for the lower body (some people swear by no less than 15 reps for the legs)?.. And lower reps are better for the upper?

  • I’m week six in the 20 rep squat routine (thank god). I’ve been doing it 3x per week, 5 pound increases, Monday Wednesday and Friday. I’ve got to do 295 tomorrow for 20, and finally 300 for 20 on Friday. This program will test your fucking soul.

  • Dude, 190 lbs at 5’9” is NOT a hardgainer. I’m a hardgainer. I’m 5’9” and was 120 when I started lifting. I’m now up to just 150 and am struggling to get to 160. Your idea of what constitutes a hardgainer is a little warped.

  • I don’t believe hardgainers. Sounds like an excuse to me. Unless you have a disability I don’t see how you can train hard, eat in a surplus and not gain muscle and strength

  • 2 of my favorite people in lifting combined in 1 video…..only way this could have been better was if Marisa challenged Stan to a Pull Up Off.

  • I did 3×20 with my bodyweight today (80kg) and this wasn’t my first time doing 20 sets. 2 min timed rest period in between sets. but on rep 18 of the last set I got a nearly debilitating sharp pain at the base of my skull. I still ground out those last three reps but I nearly collapsed from the pain, in fact it took all my strength to not collapse and that was only because there were lots of people around and I did’t want to make a scene. WTF was that???

  • Help me out guys. I’m doing this challenge that I found online, it’s 1000 push ups 3000 squats. The push ups I can obviously handle, but the last week ranges from 240 squats to the last day wich is 300 squats. My question is, is that to many squats for safe and effective results? [it’s all body weight]

  • 20 rep squats on my belt squat machine, are single handedly a game changer to my quad size, after 20 years of lifting, I finally figured out how to get my skinny legs built. I own the bells of steel belt squat machine.

  • I made this point on a recent video Aplha Destiny made (and then he made his own video basically reiterating my post ����)ego lifting is THE ultimate killer of gains, and it has nothing to do with form, and everything to do with using too much weight.

    What happens is by following the arbitrary progression schedule (must add weight or reps every workout!), the lifter quickly hits a wall and it’s psychological as much as physical. Doing so, said lifter quits that particular routine in search of another, and repeats this cyclesometimes for years, ending up making no gains.

    Add weight when you can, and not before that. Who cares if the program says add weight next time? Use your current weight until you feel you CAN increase it, but not until then. Nobody’s going to publicly cane the soles of your feet if you do this. You’ll know you can when your current weight feels lighter and you you can do 12+ reps with your old 10 rep max.

    It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there. You’ll get there when you do. One guy will get there in 5 workouts, another in 8, and some might take longer, but if you stick with it you will eventually get there. Keep at it, and stop switching up exercisespick 5 or 6 general ones and just hammer away at em until the gains stop, then rotate in some new ones, and rinse/repeat. In a year or two you’ll be diesel while most others will still be following artificially rapid progression models of one program after the next, and lucky if they’ve put 10lbs on their lifts.

    Try it and you’ll see.

  • Hey friends. I still don’t understand the rep concept. In other words, does he mean that 20 to failure is just as good for hypertrophy as 10 to failure, etc? And why does leg workouts usually have higher reps than the 8-10 range? Thankd

  • That was some pretty awesome progress. You mentioned you were going to test your deadlift. How did your deadlift end up after the program?

  • If you get injured just stop and avoid that area for a couple of weeks or more as needed.
    The Bursitis was your body’s way of telling you this.. I know it goes against the all or nothing mentality but I wish someone would have drilled this into me when i was younger.
    You can gain decade after decade if you don’t think short term.

  • I did 20 reps for about 8 weeks and put on 5lbs. I wish I had thought of changing intensity like this as it would have helped me continue. By the 8th week I had huge cramps and had to stop

  • I have started with 20 reps for 4 sets in each workout and i get up to 35 kg or 77 pounds in 8 workouts in a high bar squat. I add 5 kg ( 10 pounds ) in every workout and i workout once in a 3 day period.

  • I think the 20 rep workouts like you did or still do are the best for building more size. For years I have done lower reps ( not as ridiculous low as some powerlifters ) 6 reps or a little more. I was up to 555 then 575 for pretty deep sets of 6 or so. I will admit I was wearing knee wraps ( spiral style ) on these sets, but I am 54 years old. Also I am a 280 lbs lifter, I am NOT setting any powerlifting records just training pretty damn heavy. I was convinced this was how to get the job done. The downfall is over time my knees would bother me and it took me a long ass time to warm-up. Also I would be sore for days after this.I would literally walk around sore as hell most of the time and would only recover maybe one or two days before a leg workout. After awhile I just felt like shit and knew I couldn’t physically last much longer on this program. So I have decided to literally take a couple of months off of my leg workouts and begin a program of walking during this time. I am not going to do any weights on legs until they feel loose and fresh. If it takes 2 plus months so be it. I still train upper body. Once I get back to leg training I am doing ALL my leg training reps at 20 rep sets. Also I am not interested in powerlifting like allot of these youngsters are I am wishing to grow mass so I am doing most of my squats in a non lock style maybe the last 3 4 reps I might slightly breath pause but not the ridiculous shit the articles call for, also I am going to use knee sleeves instead of knee wraps. You gotta train smart not idiotic which I felt I was doing in the past.

  • that’s stupid because your only changing intensity your no changing volume or frequently or anything else what your doing is basically taking a Deload for two weeks and the have one working week this is inefficient and a waste of time like for example. if you were to 20 rep rpe 9
    week 1 then do 15 rep rpe 9
    on week 2 and then on week 3 do 10 reps rpe 9
    and then start again back at 20 reps but 5 pounds heavier then you have a program you basically have a high volume 531 program which actually fucking works

  • Tom Platz tried the 20 rep squat. But it turned into ten more reps, with hey, I think I got ten more still, and if I can do just ten more, I might be done.

  • Way more workable than the original method. I dare y’all to get past 4 weeks adding 10lbs per week lol…not happening. You’re doing your 20RM, and you think in a month your 20 RM somehow jumped 40 lbs? Dream on, bros.

  • I love 20 rep leg workouts. At least once a month I will do a 5×20 leg workout. I start with squats, then leg press, then I super set leg extensions, seated and lying leg curls and Finish up with calves. And I go as heavy as possible. It’s an insane leg workout!

  • How many sets of 20s would you recommend if I do legs once a week and add 5lbs every 3 weeks. Now I´m doing two leg days, one 3×3 and one 3×8 squats but I know I will need more rest for 20s. In the past I´ve done 3-4 sets of 20 reps squats in a workout and it was pure hell. Awsome video as always 😉

  • I appreciate this to no end! I never see people doing this. I have lifted like this(when I lift) since I was in middle school. 2x a week I also add a fatigue set as the last set of each movement. Drop the weight to the original starting and go until fatigue. Many times that equals 60 to 100 reps.

  • Would the 20 rep scheme work just as well for other main movements, such as the OHP, deadlift, and bench?
    Maybe a little lower for OHP.
    I usually use a Wendler style peaking program, but want to change to a new cycle to giant mass, I like my totals right now.

  • I’m doing 20 rep squats atm but not as programmed either. 1 day 20rep squats another day with heavier weight but nowhere near failure and saving energy for deadlifts.

    When I fail 20 reps I’ll drop to 15 then 2×12, 3×10, 3×8 and finally 3×5.

    In about a month I’ve gone from a 1rm of 162.5kg to 180. Probably be way in to the 200s before I need a new program.

  • I do Cory gregory squat everyday routine! Im seeing strength increase… Im kind of transitioning to the German Volume train 10*10!

  • Hello people. I got one question. I’m training legs once a week on Sunday. And on that day I’m doing squats and then other exercises. I do heavy squats, as heavy as I can so that it’s enough to do it only once a week. Now I decided to try 20 reps squat and I dont know how to envolve that in my general routine. Is it better to do it on the leg day or do it another day and why. I think it would be better to do it wednesday for example, after 2-3 days from my leg day. But I m not sure. What would be your advice guys?

  • Joe Hise, one of the originators of the 20 rep squat was known for doing cycles of 20 reps working up to a pr and then taking a month or so off. He would also cycle in high rep deadlifts to replace the high rep squats he would do. Dan John also talks about taking long lay offs from lifting and how it could benefit athletes over the long haul. I agree with you on the cycling but also in the grand scheme of things, arent high rep squats meant more for the short term? After say 6 weeks of adding 2.5-5lbs per week, then go into a more doable, reasonable program with lower reps, cycling weights. 20 reps cycles are great for conditioning and mass gain, although I’ve only ever done one in my life, it was a completely brutal 8 weeks. Starting with 175 and ending around 235 for over 30 reps. I was so beat up, I still don’t think I’m fully recovered.

  • You totally missed the point of 20 rep squats. For the natural lifter it was regarded a must exercise to increase testosterone production by up to 300%. The key is that you must do 20 reps to failure. Another popular exercise to combine with 20 rep squats were the breathing pullovers. It was believed to expand your rib cage, thus giving you a larger foundation to build muscle on. did it, didn’t like it. 20 reps to failure is brutal and there’s a good chance you’ll puke your guts out after doing them.

  • Love the hoodie!�� If am there, I could be your gym client.. Can you add Jennybo’s YouTube name bec I wanna subscribe, Rob�� Thanks!

  • Its incredible watching Stan talk about what he loves, clearly so passionate about his lifting and getting stronger. Absolutely inspirational stuff, screw the people who just see a meathead he is a very intelligent passionate man.

  • As a late beginner hitting bodyweight on 20 reps squats was a milestone for me but it caused form breakdown and nagging injuries. I think beginners are really drawn to this program but it’s better suited to people who have thousands of perfect squat reps under their belt.

  • After a month doing this, while doing the squat, on my 17th rep i got a huge headache like a 10/10 pain scale and i had to stop the training session cause it hurt too much. It still hurt everyday when i do physical activities. I dont know how to cure it and i’ve been too the doctor and i’m waiting for the result.

  • Wether this guy takes “gear” or NOT. To me the overall dedication is awesome. I’m 30 and have been lifting my whole life no gear and honestly I know I’m not as strong as this guy but it’s ok. Nevertheless, never judge this man as we must comprehend everyone has a choice in life. You may like rap I like metal. You may wear pants I wear shorts. You may eat clean I eat whatever I want. The list goes on and on…. control your own life but, if you can take the message at heart here,,,,, TRUST ME it’s a positive thing��������

  • I m 77 yrs old now.started squats/etc @ age 43. Perry Rader.Iron Man was my guideThen, He always advocated breathing Squats. Max single for me was 174kg on 60th birthday @83kg kept that high till i was 70yr old. Today I now do 3 sets of deep breathing squats as follows,Stand upright Military stance. Use D/bell B/Bell, inhale, exhale, inhale & fill lungs,Hold then descend slowly, Rise slowly, Exhale like horse after it has done a fast trot, Do 3>6 count & repeat till 20 reps are completed. Sit & lower head between knees. 3 sets should do it. Light weight

  • My best was (life time natural)
    315 for 30
    405 for 18…high bar with wraps.
    Just started Squat in g again after almost 30 years and can’t believe i
    Ever did that.Atleast i can still get under 315 and its not crushing me.

  • Would you recommend the 20 rep challenge for someone who genetically big fat legs? If not what program would u recommend for strong explosive leg workout?

  • The name of the book is Ironman’s mass training tactics by Steve Holman 20 Rep Squat Routine.

  • Hi steve please could you address Dorian Yates style the HIT, less is more etc. it seems to go against what every other body builder in the world does.

  • I just started the 20 squat program today and I was actually thinking about doing Smolov Jr. instead, but I figured I’d do a program or two before I gave Smolov the dedication it requires. I’d really like to see you do Smolov or Smolov Jr..

  • Bro, you got the program all wrong. Ive used the system for a while. Squat 2x a week and add 5 pounds each week but each day is only 1-2 sets tops

  • holy shit i did this for 3 sets of 20 with a 25 plate on each side with 20 reps of lunges in between it totally works my ass is huge now and i only did this for about a month

  • I have tried it in my prime and found it the greatest ever system for increasing dynamic power and functional strength in manual work. It also helped deadlift and bench to keep advancing. Using a light weight is not beneficial. Use a heavy weight u can handle for 8-10 reps normally, but when u feel u can’t do anymore, take a few deep breaths and push out another. Repeat. If u can only get 15 it’s ok because u will do better the following week. Soon u could be adding 10 kg per week. After u do this for 2-3 months u might want to revert to normal and increase the weight further for reduced reps. The 20 rep system is a great way to blast through plateaus. If u deadlift also, i would only squat once a week and for one working set. Don’t overdo deadlifts either. 1 or 2 heavy sets are sufficient of moderate reps.

  • I tried this yesterday. I renamed this exercise. I call it The Spawn of Satan because it was TORTURE! but shit man, it was rewarding af!! Im back at it in a couple days… gonna go for a PR next time

  • If that highlighter booty from 17:26 stood in front of Chad he would of started from 1 again and repped out 50. Awesome video Stan & Chad��

  • I’ve noticed as well with the periods that Stan was talking about… People tend to add as much time onto their rest as possible. For example if in resting 2 minutes I get ready to go at 1:40 then get under the bar at 1:50 ish. Then it’s 2 minutes rest

  • I’m tall and fairly skinny and I’m doing the Blaha 5×5 but every time I squat I don’t think I’m doing it right I never seem to feel it in my legs I know what a squat is supposed to look like from seeing them in person and on video and mine doesn’t look to off from others but I feel like I’m not doing it right

  • I am a BIG believer in the 20 rep Breathing Squat Routine.I would oxygen load my system prior to starting my set via hyperventilating. Would try to inhale AS MUCH as I could, taking baby gulps of air after the big gulp, followed by forcibly exhaling as much as possible with little exhales after the initial big exhale. I would do this until I started feeling a bit light headed. I would also, starting with rep #1, deeply inhale and exhale 3 times between reps. The oxygen load will make you a bit lightheaded at first, but it is what will really carry you thru reps 10-20. And I would use the same weight I would for a normal very intense 10 rep set. This workout will also shock your metabolism and it will scavenge and remaining fat you have. NOT A WORKOUT FOR THE BEGINNER. After several months of regular (1×2 times per week) where you have built up the nerve pathways and pain threshold

  • I don’t have the cardiovascular endurance to do 20 reps unless it’s real light. I”m 51 and weight 190lbs. and only started lifting about 18 months ago and really didn’t put too much into squatting until about 8 months ago. I started slow and squat once a week, and the most I’ve done is 285 for 4 (ugly) reps, but have been doing this for the last few weeks 12 @155/ [email protected]/ 8 @195/ [email protected] /[email protected] then 5×[email protected] in your opinion, is that good, bad, or ugly? i have to rest at least 5 min between sets. My heart rate hits 165-170 when i start getting heavy.

  • He didn’t do the program correctly. You don’t try to bang out 20 reps as fast as you can. That’s why it’s called the ” deep breathing” squat program. You have to force maximum amounts if air into the lungs on EVERY rep. From the first rep, you take three huge breaths before you squat in every rep. Immediately after your working set you also do one very light set of dumbell pullovers to expand the rib cage. That combined with eating massive amounts of food is how you gain 30lbs in 6 weeks.

  • i did 30 reps starting at 100kg and dropped weights 3 times. I puked for an hour afterwards and my head felt like it would explode the whole night. I’ve been doing squats 3 times a week for half a year before this wtf:D

  • My first weight set, was one of those York sets, it had a standard full body routine written out in it. Strangely looking back although every exercise was 3 sets of 6 to 12 (I think) but the squats were 1 set of 20. I didn’t know anything about what I was doing, this was before the internet! I didn’t do any weight dropping, I just found a weight that gave me failure after 20 and just ground them out. At the end of 20 reps I felt like I wanted to throw up, coughing and heaving. My wind pipe felt like it had closed off. But my legs grew. Standard straight leg jeans had been flappy on me, but after those squats 3 times a week, I needed the next size up, even though my waist hadn’t grown. I remember looking into those baggy bodybuilder pants. But they kind of shouted, “Hey look at me I’m a body builder!”

  • I like 20 reps squats for a couple of weeks… it establishes a solid base of length strength and endurance.
    Then I can increase the weight and lower the rep range to work on increasing strength.

  • ALWAYS love his face when something noisy drives by 3:51. what’s the frequency of this drop set workout? Mix in once a week or what?

  • I’m a little confused. Is this just one set of 20 reps I’m supposed to do? Do I load the bar with 10 rep max as if I was going to do one set or multiple? Could I do this once a week (I workout full body three times a week so I could just do this on the day I do squats). Thanks.

  • I don’t think it is meant to be a sustainable program. I may be wrong but I from my understanding it is just meant to give you really fast gains over a short period of time and is meant for novices and intermediates.

  • Wow man, that’s amazing. I’m going to attempt to do 20 reps. I’ve just started squatting about 2 months ago and that’s also when I started seriously living a fitness lifestyle in lifting and exercising in general. I’m not so impressive in squats just yet but hopefully I’ll get to where you’re at one day.

  • Laugh if you want, but I’ve been seeing great fucking results doing the 30 minute nautilus circuit at Planet Fitness. It’s hard because I only do one set and push it to failure until my heart is pounding out of my chest. What’s more, is that the machines are set up in a way where it’s really hard to get injured. One go round the circuit is 15 minutes if you are in really good shape you can do another round for a total of 30-45 minutes workout. But I’m telling you, most guys are not in shape and they’re used to doing 5×5 or other low rep garbage so they’ll gas out after the second machine.

  • Started the 20-rep squat program a couple days ago, just completed my second workout on week 1. This program is literally no joke and it’s gonna make you huge! Just eat like a mad man and sleep like a baby. Started with 225×20 so hoping to hit 315×20 at the end. Hell yeah!

  • It didn’t look like you were doing the three chest expanding deep breath’s in between each rep. That’s a critical part of the program.

  • I’ve just started 20 rep squats with a light 185
    I do fullbody with 2 days of rest after each session so I think I’ll have more than enough recovery to add 5 pounds each session
    I also throw in a hamstring exercise to prevent knee pain so we’ll see how this goes ��‍♂️

  • Loving the channel man thanks. I have a question about warming up. Let’s say you’re going to do bench press, and you’re shooting for heavyweight, of course there will be several sets leading up to your 3 by 3 or 1 rep max but is that enough to get fully warmed up? Is there a benefit to doing shoulder/tricep work before getting on the bench? What about cardio before bench for warm up? 10-15 minutes of LISS on elliptical or jogging? Same question about squats.

  • what if you pick low weights and do 20 reps 3 sets but you do them real slow on the way down is that good? or just one set heavy weights 20 reps is better?

  • Genetics. When I was 12 I wore 36 waist if I wanted to move. I do 100 of squats. I got hurt didn’t squat for 5 years. Still have 34 inch quads. My brother. Lucky if he will ever have more then 25 inch thighs.

  • I tried doing only high rep squats 15 to 25 reps and leg workout for 18months. I have been training for years. I’m a taller thin build. I made no gains. As soon as I went 3 to 10 rep sets pushing to put on weight on my squat I started to make good gains. Just my experience.

  • There is no way you’re going to gain 30 lbs of lbs in 6 weeks. Lol Without steroids and with good nutrition, the most lbs you can gain in a year is 20 lbs.

  • I don’t remember this being ‘popular’ 10-15 years ago. Certainly I was the only one in my gym following his method everyone was still curling in the squat rack then.

  • Try 30 years ago for me! I remember driving downtown to the only bookstore I knew already had the new Ironman Magazine, where McRobert (I believe) was reviewing Randall Strossen’s “Super Squats” book. I don’t even remember how I knew it would be in that issue (maybe a tease from the previous month), but of course after reading it I then had to order the book. How to gain 30 pounds of muscle in six weeks: doing deep breathing squats, db chest pullovers, and drinking whole milk. Not dissing the super squats concept, but in the hands of a naive 20-something wannabe, it was dangerous information. Literally. Sing it, Cher,…”If I could turn back time….”

  • i used to do a 100 rep leg press then a 50 rep then a 30 and 20 10 5 lol once you get the 5 rep heavy your legs are shaking like a fucking like a dog in the winter. and i don’t do leg presses for a 2 inch reps lol i go all the way knees to the shoulders and its tiring. maybe i will do this tomorrow as i have not done it in a year or more now. or i might do 20 reps leg press, 20 reps squat, 20 reps hack squat, 40 reps walking lunge as i want to kill my legs for once as i cant be bothered with 7 rep lifts i usually do. has anyone got a cool routine for leg growth as i have lifted for years and occasionally get bored and want a challenge.

  • Thank you for this video! I’m about to start the program and this is one of the only before and after reviews of this routine. Do you think it I kept away from the upper body work in the routine, kept those on separate days, and only used leg detail work after my squats I’d get the same results? Or would too might keep me from making mass/strength progress on the squat?

  • Squat 180 reps with 60kg is a great leg day.. Aim for 5 sets��������������������.. Seriously just try and beat ya best effort once a month..

  • I find 10 to 12 reps are pretty good especially if you are going to damn near failure. When a person has to stop and take a breather they are negating the effect. I always try not to rest between reps. I see people who say they are doing 20 reps but they rest between some of the reps. I would rather see a person get to 14 and fall out than get to 12 and just stand their. That is just my take. Chasing poundage numbers are a waste after so long unless you know inside you can go up. Their are allot of other better methods to increase the intensity.

  • I tried the 20 rep squat program and yeah, it works, my legs were definitely noticeably bigger, but Jesus it was difficult. Towards the last few sets, I was gasping for air and starting doubting myself. I even lost count a few times and panicked. But yeah, this definitely made my legs bigger.

  • I am reading some of the comments and a majority of them are so idiotic. Its obvious allot of people currently powerlifting are so immature and childish and think nothing about their future in lifting just worry about impressing a small inner circle of like minded morons. Powerlifting use to be a nobel sport where people would help each other with positivity. Now You Tube is chalked full on immature morons who make snarky little remarks about everything and the majority of these comments are based on nothing more than jealousy and immaturity.

  • Good review. Do you train in a gym in auckland? I’ve been thinking about doing a high volume short program, the real question is whether or not I am patient enough (or if patience matters) to do it after a good stint of texas method.

  • I’ve taken a masochistic approach to leg training this month.

    2x per week I’ll do squats with a high volume protocol of 8-10 sets. But I vary weight/rep schemes. Today I did heavy 3×5, then 3×8 pause squats (2 sec), and 2×10 speed squats.

    I’m actually shocked that I’ve been able to recover so well from such a brutal squat protocol. But my 5RM is up 30lbs in 4wks and my legs are blowing up. Also conditioning wise, I am dropping fat like crazy and my upper body is responding from it too.

  • when i was doing 20 rep squats i was unable to add any weight to the bar after even 3 months. i felt fitter for sure and was able shorten the rest periods but it was frustrating to be stuck at 90lb

  • 3 full breaths between each rep. Those are authentic barbell breathing squats. The best way to build overall lean body mass, when combined with proper eating of course.

  • Damn man, good stuff. I wanted to follow a squat program that is simple in terms of what you have to do, but brutally taxing doing the movement itself. I’m gonna attempt 225 LBS for 20 reps tnight. I already know it’s gonna be pretty hard but just what happens as you keep going up.

  • Just went and did my 20 reps for 5 sets….Holy crap. A little embarrassing how light I had to go but man does it burn and leaves you winded as soon as you unrack it. Thanks Stan! badass workout I’ll be looking to improve on

  • Your thighs are too big man. This is not esthetic anymore. Go down on the weights. The equivalent of your own body weight should be enough.

  • My upper body is strong but my lower half is the equivalent of a chicken. I watched this video and immediately decided to start it. Today was day one of a planned 8 week program. I’m currently laying on the ground in my garage, unable to get up. Thanks Elliot.

  • Another KILLER squat workout is 10 sets of 10. Holy shit it is brutal. When I am running it I’ll work up to 10×10 w/3 min rest between sets. Then I’ll stick with it until I can eventually do 10×10 w/1 min rests.

    Once that happens I’ll up the weight by 50lbs and go back to the 10×10 w/3 min, etc.. Doing this 1x per week for 3-4 cycles with weight increases takes your legs and fitness to a new level!

  • Stan is the one redeeming personality in modern “bodybuilding” & its almost a shame he had to rub shaved elbows w/ so many dirks in spray-tanned speedos to remind the generlal-strength community that hypertrophy is a legit goal in real training. Thanks stan for your sacrifice.

  • The problem most guys make is overtraining. You can’t gain if youre always burned out. Let your  body build back up. Change the weight every work-out. See how many reps you can do with 20 lbs less and more etc. Try every fourth day work-outs.

  • My biggest concern with lifting is making sure I don’t get injured, (specifically in my shoulders while doing something like bench press.) how do I protect my shoulders and avoid injury in the long run?

  • Whats gets me, is every guy with big, or bigger muscles than most, just goes into the gym and puts a weight on and lifts it??? Lets just say you did 5 sets of 15 reps for triceps on four exercises, HOW, do you know how much weight to put on for each set???


  • Why is 20 rep squats so significant? No one thinks twice about 20 rep bench or rows.. Its just 20 reps the last 8 of which your form goes to shit. I do 4×20 bodyweight squats every volume day… its more taxing on the cardio side than anything.

  • good tip. also can do an increase every 2 weeks at the start and then when it gets heavier stay with the same weight for 3-4 weeks then add, did this, got up to 360 x 20 and didnt take a year. tried 15 reps, just didnt get the extra gains. the cycling style is good idea though, nice one.

  • I think strength is relative their are so many factors when it comes to strength such as body structure and muscle efficiency. Some people have the ability to fire off more muscle fibers or pure power and others are more adept at endurance. Its nothing against the person its just how they are put together. I think some people especially younger people are way too judgmental.

  • High rep squats for the lower back and legs. Farmer’s walks for the traps, lats, grip, and core. How about the shoulders, chest, arms? High rep push ups?