The idea behind this is if you really want to be good at something, do you want to do it once in a while, or do you want to do it every day?
From a logical standpoint this makes a lot of sense. If you squat every day then you are training your body to treat squats like a normal bodily function and thus advancing much faster towards technical mastery. This will make you lift incredible amounts of weight in much shorter of a time.
When looking at this from a broader sense, the idea of doing something everyday is common in all kinds of disciplines and practices outside of the weight room.
If you want to be a better entrepreneur, do you practice being a business man once a week, or do you do it every day? How about scientists? Or inventors?
I think you get the point.
But wait! Before you start throwing weight onto the bar, you should give this article a read because I am not some armchair athlete. I have actually done the squat every day program for a couple of years and I have some valuable advice you might want to hear.
The Nervous System And Auto-Regulation
In my Russian strength training article, I talked about how the Russians viewed movement as the most important aspect of your training program.
During the cold war, many Eastern European countries regarded this to be true. But another country behind the Iron curtain had a much different approach. That country was Bulgaria.
I talked briefly about how the Bulgarians designed their training programs in my Bulgarian split squats article.
But to give you a brief summary, the Bulgarians decided to focus on a handful of movements and to have the lifter perform these movements with near maximal weight.
There were only 6 total movements that were performed along with assistance work. The Bulgarians were known to train with near maximal weights (above 97%) just about every day.
Research has shown that the human body has a much different adaptation response to near maximal weights than it does to sub-maximal weights.
However, this also places a LOT of stress on the human nervous system. Many of the Bulgarian lifters were pushed to the point of even torture just to make their weights.
It was rumored that legendary coach Ivan Abadjiev used to shut and lock the doors until every single lifter in the room hit their calculated max weight for the day.
I know, that’s BRUTAL!
Needless to say, many of the Bulgarian lifters bodies needed huge psychological relief from this kind of training.
No matter what, your body cannot push past it’s limit for too long or it will break. This was true for the Bulgarians even though they were on steroids.
Can Your Body Really Handle Extreme Training?
Believe it or not, the answer is yes it can. And no you don’t need steroids to do it either.
You see, the Bulgarians had team doctors and scientists nearby to analyze the players to see how they responded to the extreme rigors of training.
After a careful study of the lifters, they found that their physical bodies could handle ALL the stress of training.
But the story was much different psychologically.
The other results from the research found that the minds of the lifters was what ultimately needed a break.
In other words, the lifters would break down psychologically much faster than they would break down physically from training.
This just shows how big of a part emotions play in the design of your training programs.
How The Russians Solved This Problem
The Russians took a much different approach to this problem. They took a team of the most highly qualified lifters from all different sports and they had them perform different strength training programs.
They then asked the lifters what the lifters though about the programs they were assigned. Almost ALL of the lifters told the scientists that they needed more variety in their training programs.
This led to the birth of the conjugate program, which rotates the heavy maximal exercise ever few weeks.
Your body needs a break from heavy maximal training because it has such a profound adaptational effect on the body that it literally needs time off to “process” all of the stimuli you are giving it.
Moving Beyond Prilepin’s Chart Due To The Work Of Hristo Hristov
During the days of the Soviet Union, a weightlifting coach names Alexander Prilepin devises a chart with the optimal amounts of sets and reps for his athletes to build strength in the fastest and most productive way.
It is called Prilepin’s Chart.
Here’s what it looks like:
This chart has proved an invaluable resource for training athletes at the highest levels of sport. It is sort of like a Rosetta Stone for later generations of coaches designing training programs.
However, Prilepin’s Chart does have it’s problems.
Since it was designed primarily for weightlifters, it doesn’t provide any information for rep ranges above 6 reps.
So if you are a powerlifter or bodybuilder looking to design a new training program, you would probably be scratching your head wondering what to do.
The conjugate method takes Prilepin’s Chart and adds high frequency sets with few repetitions. This was to train the movement of the exercise itself with max weights.
Hristo Hristov picked up where Prilepin’s Chart left off. He devised a way of calculating intensity across different rep ranges.
The formula he devised was called the INOL, which stands for Intensity X Number Of Lifts.
Now don’t freak out! It is probably one of the easiest math formulas out there.
Let’s take a closer look:
(Number Of Reps)/(100 – Intensity)
The / means divided by and the intensity is the percentage of your 1 rep max. Let’s do a quick example.
If you did back squats with 275 lbs for 8 reps and this was 75% of your 1 rep max, then your formula would look like this.
(8 reps)/(100-75) = 0.32
The 0.32 is a measure of your intensity for this rep range. The higher the number the greater the intensity.
These outputs from this formula are compared against other ratios to determine how much stress you placed on your body for a given workout.
Hristov did this both on a weekly and daily workout basis.
Daily Optimal INOL Values
- < 0.4 Way Too Easy
- 0.4 – 1.0 Optimal Range
- 1.0 – 2.0 Hard Workout (Not to be done too often.)
- > 2.0 Extreme Workout (Ok once in a while but can lead to overtraining if done too often.)
Weekly Optimal INOL Values
- 2.0 – Easy (Good for a de-loading week.)
- 2-0 – 3.0 More Difficult (Optimal For Building Strength And Volume.)
- 3.0 – 4.0 Very Difficult (Not good for prolonged periods.)
- > 4.0 – Not Recommended
With our earlier example calculation it is clear that 0.32 is too easy for this particular person’s workout and they should increase the intensity a bit during the next workout.
Squatting Every Day
With all of the information presented, it is safe to say that yes you can squat everyday. Obviously you would not want to squat extreme weights every day, but you can still squat every day.
On some days it is wise to just train squats using only the barbell. This is very beneficial for training the nervous system to perform the movements of the squat itself.
Instead of thinking about working your muscles, think instead about training the movement itself. Turn your nervous system into a superconductor for squats.
At least that is some of the great advice that John Broz gives in some of his online articles.
He once said “if someone was holding your family hostage and told you if you didn’t squat 500 lbs in two months they would die what would you do? Would you squat every day or just twice a week?”
Obviously in that context, you would squat every day.
With the intensity values from Hristov you can make sure that you are not exceeding 4.0 in your weekly intensity.
Even if it is just one set per day of 10 reps, that is still better than nothing.
If you want to be the best then you should follow the advice from the best.
I cannot guarantee that squatting ever day will work for you but it is definitely worth a shot.
When I first tried it I did not enjoy it very much because I thought it was boring and I also though that I had to perform sets of squats every day with actual working weight.
But once I found out that I could do squats with relatively light weights, it changed everything. When lower body days came when I actually had to squat really heavy weights, it seemed really easy to do because I had been training the squat pattern so much that my sets felt easy.
Plus it worked wonders for correcting my form since I could practice good technique every day with light weights.
So what are you weighting for. If you want to get a bigger squat, it isn’t going to happen by sitting around and praying for it. You have to get out there and make it happen.
Now stop reading and start squatting!