How to Skyrocket your Squat

by Louie Simmons on February 21, 2019

 Sineaid Corley, a USA bobsled athlete, was training at Westside while trying to make the team again but decided she wanted to try powerlifting. She had a 325-pound squat and a 375-pound deadlift. She had been training with the athletes and she asked if I would train her. I needed a training partner for the two girls I was training at 5 am, so I said yes. (One of them holds many all-time world records, which includes the squat. We will talk about her progress at a later date.)

            Back to Sineaid’s story. The training was based on her 325-pound max. We worked on the three waves at 50, 55 and 60 percent with 210-pound band tension when making a 600-pound gym squat instead of 150-pound band tension (25 percent). I believe we have fully adapted to the 25 percent band tension. (This technique was used to bring Heidi Howar’s 132 world record squat from 600 to an easy 617 pounds.) We were checking her progress every seven weeks so we could adjust her training weights on squat day.

            With Sineaid, after starting with 50, 55 and 60 percent for her three-week wave, the weights grew fast after 15 weeks. Sineaid’s training weight increased from 165-180-195 to 300-330-360 for sets. This was fast progress for even a Westsider. In 18 weeks she competed and made a 600-pound squat at 181 body weight.

            Sineaid’s deadlift was another story. She had a 375 max deadlift with a tough lockout. Just like the squat, her hamstrings, glutes and hips were weak and needed lots of work. At the same time—and oh by the way—Sineaid’s second meet she pulled a 465, a 490, and an easy 500-pound deadlift.

            We had been pushing the Reverse Hypers for the lower back, glutes and hamstrings along with the inverse curls to isolate the hamstrings. Heavy belt squats, supports and belt squats, deadlifts and Zercher squats were done four times a week. To break up the sequence, high rep deadlifts were substituted sometimes by doing 50 reps with 135 up to 155 pounds. This builds the low back, glutes, hips and hamstrings. For GPP we went with walking in the A.T.P. Belt Squat Machine and power sled walking. Lots of abdominal work was done doing leg lifts, incline sit-ups, and high side bends.

            Look for Sineaid to skyrocket as we constantly work on her needs. Westside is always evolving and the added band tension is just another chapter at Westside.

            The regular band tension plus weight top value was 75 percent, 80 percent and 85 percent, but now it has been increased to 83 percent, 88 percent and 93 percent. The lifts are somewhat higher than A.S. Prilepin’s research data. But, remember, Prilepin’s data was from Olympic style weight lifting, which is a speed strength sport with intermediate velocity training. Powerlifting is a strength speed sport with slow velocity training. I hope this explains the tension increase reset.

            Let’s look at two three-week waves. First, for 550 pounds and then 600 pounds that produced a 630 gym squat.

550 Max Squat

Week

Bar Weight

Band Tension

Sets

Reps

Week 1

275

210 lb

5 x

5

Week 2

300

210 lb

5 x

5

Week 3

330

210 lb

5 x

5

 

600 Max Squat

Week

Bar Weight

Band Tension

Sets

Reps

Week 1

300

210 lb

5 x

5

Week 2

330

210 lb

5 x

5

Week 3

360

210 lb

5 x

5

 

            This produced a squat of 630 pounds making the band tension 33 percent or 210 of 630. This is how the 33 percent came into the plan. The band tension will remain 210, or 33 percent of 630. But, as the squats go up, the band tension, of course, will go down accordingly. This will remain the plan until a 700-pound squat is produced. But, regardless, stay close to the 33 percent band tension.

            The plan was to deadlift 500 pounds starting with a 375 deadlift with a weak lockout. A program was set that called for 5 x 5 reps with the weight going up each week; all done after speed strength squat day.

            The first three weeks are done from a conventional-style four-inch box. On the fourth week, switch to sumo while still standing on a four-inch box. Each week add weight to the bar. While adding weight, each week on the fourth week use a five-inch cambered bar while standing on a 10-inch box. This places the bar four inches below ground level. This is, of course, a conventional stance and is the key to teaching leg drive into back extensions. Again, use 5 x 5 reps adding weight each week.

            If you don’t have a five-inch cambered bar, stand on a six-inch box that puts a deadlift in front of the toes. But work with caution—do not set the bar on the top of your foot!

            If you get bored, pull rack pulls for one or two weeks, but keep the 5 x 5 reps.

            There you have it. Look for much more from Sineaid Corley in the future.

 

Good luck, Louie

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