Facts are facts so lets kick this off with them. On Sunday August 26th 2012 I started a strength protocol with a simple goal of increasing my back squat. 11 days later I have increased my back squat by 10kg. Up until this point the most I had squatted was 160kg 2 months prior.
What prompted the increase? In simple terms so much of what we do in life and in the gym is based around the squat so there are numerous advantages to first becoming efficient at it and then getting as strong as possible at it. I had be on or around the 160kg mark for a long time which was not good enough so it was time to step things up.
How did I do it? After reading a number of different strength protocols I came across the John Broz method which I did a load more reading on and decided to give it a shot. This is not rocket science. The prescription is: Work up to a 1 rep max within 4-5 sets. Then drop down to 80%-85% of that 1 rep max and pump out 4-5 doubles. THAT IS IT. Do that every day for…….if you are a John Broz athlete…..LIFE.
Day one I was fresh and hit 170kg which was 10kg over my previous best but that was my start point. I came back the second day hoping to equal 170kg but of course as humans we are greedy so instead of putting 170kg on the bar I stuck 171kg on the bar and was successful. Well if I could have a 1kg increase from day 1 to day 2 then why could I not have the same on day 2 to day 3 and so on? I had it in my mind that it would be done!
So by increasing 1kg per day (and 2kg from day 3 to day 4) I ended up at the end of the first week (5days) with a 176kg back squat. Took 2 days off for the weekend and then 1kg a day and after 4 days hit 180kg. I guess you could say the John Broz method is pretty good if your goal is to increase your 1 rep max.
There are three things I want to point out here. Firstly there is a certain amount of comfort that you develop with the weight, no matter what your weight is, when you ask your body to move it each day it has done it before so why not again. Secondly the 1kg gains are nice bite size chunks. I did not try and go 5kg from day to day but just 1 kg each day and never failed a single rep. The final thing is the huge part the mind plays in this and this I put on 3 levels. The first is the 1kg increments are easy for the mind to digest, what is 1kg after all. Secondly the goal was to increase the back squat so I focused my mind on that, going back ward or staying the same was not an option. And thirdly after day 2 there was no doubt that I was going to add 1kg a day because I made it my norm and that was all that was acceptable.
Will I continue this protocol indefinitely? No for 3 reasons. Firstly I am traveling without access to a squat rack, very poor planning you may say and I have to agree. Secondly there was a toll that this took on my other training as it was basically all I did for the last 11 days which is partially down to the last reason. From day 3 when I was hitting the 1 rep max I was getting rather a large amount of discomfort in my arms which aside from being unable to complete some other training moves was also affecting my sleep and did so for the length of the protocol as the pain levels were so high. Luckily they subsided by around 8am the following day and I was fresh to train at 10:30am.
An amazing experience and a protocol that I would recommend to anyone looking to increase their 1 rep max back squat.
For full details of the progression and of other training I did during this protocol just check out my training log
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InnerFight founder Marcus Smith is a high performance coach with a wide array of clients on all matters related to performance. For more information how he can help you increase your performance contact him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org