Our Squat Challenge has become really popular. We have a self-study course here at Weightlifting Academy — whole clubs have done it, and their coaches then tell me later about their success (For instance, Diane Fu had her team do it last year, and Dan Bell has many of his lifters do this as well.)
It’s so much fun for me to hear how things went for you, so if you do this, please tell me about it!
Below are some Questions & Answers that we’ve heard many times that pertain specifically to the squat challenge. For more general Q&A, see the Nemesis FAQ page
What if My Technique on Squats SUCKS?
Don’t squat anything you can’t do with GREAT technique! Many people do the entire 21-day squat challenge with nothing but an empty bar, then focus a ton of time on fixing their mobility and bad technique. Doing that for 3 dedicated weeks will pay HUGE dividends in the long run. Give yourself that.
Should I Do Front or Back Squats?
Doesn’t matter. Seriously, it’s completely irrelevant. Pick the one you like most and can do heavy with good technique! That’s the key. Whatever version you love to do is the one you will stick with.
What if I Don’t Know How to Miss a Back Squat Behind Me?
In lieu of that, you have two choices: only Front Squat or squat in a power-rack. Don’t be dumb. Safety first!
What Do You Mean By “Fail”?
Bad Technique = FAIL
What Does “1RM” Mean?
Your 1RM is the heaviest squat you successfully hit today. It is not your miss. It is not your all-time best. It is only the best you hit TODAY. Do NOT Confuse a 1RM with a new PR!!! PR’s come when THEY are ready — on their time, not yours. A 1RM is just whatever you happen to hit today. Who fucking cares.
Which leads me to…
I’m Pissed That I Can’t Hit a Big 1RM Everyday! What Gives?!
Grow up. If you honestly “care” about your daily 1RM then you are not an adult. I have teenagers who are able to do this style of training with a clear-head. What’s your excuse? Fix your emotional problems — everyone else in your life will thank you. This shit works because of the TOTAL amount of high-quality work you do consistently.
What’s More Important to My Long-Term Success: the Ramp or the Intensifiers?
Intensifier! The ramp is just a glorified warm up. The Intensifier is the “real” workout. Volume, volume… and when in doubt, more volume.
Quality or Quantity?
BOTH! Seriously, is there anything worth doing that doesn’t require both?
- Cultivate Quality
- Then do a TON of High-Quality Work
How Long Should the Ramp Be?
Maybe 15 minutes. If you take longer than 30, you’re just screwing around.
How Long Should My Whole Squat Workout Take?
As long as it takes… A full-scale workout, with a ramp and an intensifier can easily take 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending upon how long you take between sets (see below), or how big the weights are that you are hitting.
How Long Should I Take Between Sets?
We find that between 2 and 5 minutes is about right for most lifters.
- Anything less than 2 minutes and your next set suffers, form goes to hell, and you risk injury.
- Anything over 5 minutes and you start to cool down.
A good measure is to wait until your heart-rate goes back down.
How Big Should My Jumps Be?
About 5% to 10% of your best ever squat is usually right. For the first few sets take bigger jumps. As the bar gets heavier, take smaller and smaller jumps. If your best squat is 100kg, then it’s normal to jump from the empty bar to 50 kilograms, then 60, 70, 80, 85, 90, 92, 94, 96, and then go by 1kg …
What if I Run Out of Time?
That depends. How much time do you have? If you only have 30 minutes, then do “Double Trouble”, which is one of the Ramps (Volcano or Montezuma), except you do TWO sets at each ramp-weight, and take smaller jumps.
- Empty bar: 2×5
- 40kg: 2×5
- 50kg: 2×5
That turns the ramp into an intensifier 😉
If you have an hour, then just do a whole workout, but ramp quickly.
What Do I Do AFTER the 21-Day Squat Challenge?
Keep going, LOL. You don’t have to squat literally every day anymore! But, 4 to 5 days per week is still a good idea. You now have proven to yourself that you can do something everyone else says is impossible. Use that realization to push yourself into doing those things you have always wanted to do, but were afraid to.
Now go lift something heavy,