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Build Size & Strength with This 8-Week Squat Program

 Written by 

Damect Dominguez

 Last updated on 

So you want to add some muscle to your body while increasing your squat? Sounds like an excellent goal! A bigger squat can increase your clean, jerk, snatch and any movement where your legs play a significant role. Similarly, a more muscular body, while having the added benefit of being aesthetically pleasing, will equate to an increase in overall strength, all which will translate perfectly to CrossFit.

The general consensus, however, has always been that higher reps (8-12) increase muscle size while lower reps (1-5) increase strength. While this method of training has worked in the past, recent research shows us that this idea of building muscle and strength is not exactly correct. In fact, while heavier weights and lower rep ranges do have a superior ability to increase strength, higher reps do not necessarily do a better job at increasing muscle size.

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This 8-week squat program was designed keeping the prevailing science in mind. As such, intensity, volume and frequency are structured for maximum strength and mass gains.

General Notes

You’ll squat three times a week for the duration of the eight weeks.

Two-thirds of the volume will come from back squats; the other third will come from front squats. Variation will also come from varying squat stances and rep ranges.

This is an advanced squat program.

If you have not been squatting on a consistent basis, it’s probably not a great idea to start a program that has you squatting 3x a week for 8 weeks.

The goal of the heavy sessions is not to max out a lift.

The goal is to find a comfortable heavy single, double, etc. You should feel confident with each lift before you do it. If not, you’ve gone too heavy. You’ll learn to assess this as you go.

Every Monday, begin with a moderate set of eight.

Increase weight and decrease reps until you have reached the required rep range for the day.

On Fridays, unless stated otherwise, all sets, including warm-ups, should be for the same number of reps.

For example, in Week 1 you will be working up to a heavy double pause front squat. Therefore, all reps, including warm-ups should be for two reps.

  • For all pause squats, pause for two seconds at the bottom of each squat. Do not bounce out of the squat.
  • Always do the main lift before accessory work.
  • Stretch and mobilize after each session.
  • Do all accessory work as heavy as possible. So three sets of twenty (3×20) good mornings will obviously be at a lighter weight than four sets of five (4×5) good mornings.
  • Your accessory lifts should feel stronger week by week. Increase weight accordingly.
  • Unless stated otherwise, rest as needed between sets.
  • It’s OK to continue to WOD while on this program. Try to limit the number of WODs with squats as a main movement.
  • You have to supply your body with the appropriate amount of calories to increase mass and strength. Make sure you’re eating just as big as you’re lifting!

Download the Program PDF

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