Legends of Pittsburgh Fitness and Performance Center

8/6/14 – Train like a LEGEND—Squat cycle

Train like a LEGEND—Squat cycle

By: Stefan

We’ve had many requests to post some of our own training routines. Nick and I generally do 4-8 week cycles, so we will begin to post our training regimen at the beginnning of each cycle.

We are currently doing a 6 day split for 8 weeks. The goal of this cycle is to improve our squat, as the squat is crucial to improving snatches and clean and jerks (which happen to be our favorite exercises). We are following a squat protocol from a great website called t-nation.com, “the Daily Squat Cure“. The rest of the cycle is filled with various compound movements and lifts for full-body strength. Here’s the weekly breakdown:

Monday: back squat and snatch

Tuesday: jerk press, military press, and weighted chin-ups

Wednesday: front squat and squat cleans

Thursday: weighted dips and dumbbell Kroc rows

Friday: back squat and deadlift

Saturday: close-grip bench and bent-over rows

Sunday: rest

As you can see, each day is focused on 2-3 lifts. We alternate upper body intensive days and lower body intensive days (to an extent) to give certain muscles a rest. For the squat percentages and rep schemes for the cycle please see the link above. As for the rest of the exercises, here is the breakdown for each exercise during the first 4 weeks of the cycle:

snatch, jerk press, and squat cleans are done in 3/2/1 waves for 3-4 waves. This is a very powerful loading scheme and has worked fantastically thus far. Let’s take jerk press for example. We could start at a conservative weight at 185# for 3 reps, 195# for 2 reps, then 205# for 1 rep, resting 2-3 mins or as long as needed between sets as this loading is done for maximal power. We would then start the next wave at 195 for 3 reps, 205 for 2 reps, then 215 for 1 rep. See the pattern? Depending on how good we feel determines how many waves and how much weight we go up each wave.

military press, weighted chin-ups, weighted dips, Kroc rows are done at a 10-8-6-20 scheme. This type of rep range is optimal for size increase. In each cycle we try to incoporate a range of exercises that support pure strength gains, size gains, and some that do both. We move up weight after each set until the final set of 20 reps which gives you an incredible pump. We tend to drink our protein during this time to get as many nutrients to the muscles as possible.

deadlift in this cycle is done for bar speed, so the load is quite light. Our last cycle had a lot of heavy deadlifting so we wanted to give our nervous system and bodies a rest from that during this 8 weeks. We have been doing 5-7 sets of 2 reps. Our max right now is 435, and we have only gone up as high as 325. Again, emphasis is on bar speed and explosiveness.

close-grip bench and bent-over rows are done in 6×6 Gironda sets, meaning you rest as little time as possible between each set. For the second 4 weeks we are doing 10-8-6-20 for these exercises and 6×6 for military, chin-ups, dips, and Kroc rows. Again, sets like these are focused on building muscle.

We are currently in the 5th week and have seen incredible gains. For example, the 4th week of the squat program calls for a 10 rep max squat. Nick and I both hit 285# for 10 reps which is 40-50 lbs more than we ever did for 10. We have already hit front squat PRs, jerk press has gone from 235 to 265 (and hoping to hit 275 by the 8th week), Nick has added 10lbs to his snatch, and not to mention both of us are putting on some weight (which has always been hard to do).

6 days in a row can be rough. So far we’ve made sure that our diet is on point and that we are doing recovery after each session (also getting some chiropractic work done by one of our members Jake Feroce, specifically muscle stripping to aid in recovery). If you wanted to try this program but couldn’t do 6 days out of the week, try a monday-wednesday-friday split.

Monday: back squat, snatch, military, chin-ups

Wednesday: front squat, deadlift, jerk press, dips, Kroc rows

Friday: back squat, cleans, close-grip bench, bent-over rows

We actually did this for the first week but decided since we are here everyday anyway, we might as well split up the lifts to keep fresh and focused.

Please email us with any questions you have and we will help you get started! its important to have a goal in mind. With this cycle, improving the squat is the highest priority. We normally do our olympic lifts first but for the sake of the regimen we switched it up. We tend to put our most important lifts earlier in the week, so you can program with this idea in mind, or by addressing your weaknesses first.

Lift on!