08 July, 2011
How to Squat 300 Pounds
A 300-lb. squat may take years of dedicated effort, depending on your size, age and gender. Training to develop strength, skill and power with rest and recovery must form the basis of your program. Good technique is critical, and feedback from a coach or experienced competitive lifter will certainly help. Training to squat a set weight may require a periodized program in which you gradually increase the weight and decrease the repetitions each training session. Depending on where you start out, you may need several periodized cycles before you achieve your goal. Consult a health care provider before beginning any lifting program.
Place the barbell in a power rack with the hooks set at roughly chest level. Set the bars that will catch the weight should you need to drop it at waist level, or slightly lower if you squat very deeply. Step forward under the barbell and bend your knees. Set the bar on your upper back, and pull the bar firmly into you, as if you were trying to bend the bar over your upper back. This keeps the bar in place. Unrack the bar by straightening your knees, then take a small step back with each foot.
Squat deeply with solid technique. Stand with your feet at least shoulder-width apart, if not wider. When squatting, push your hips back and bend your knees. Squat until your hips are lower than your knees, then drive your head and shoulders back and up. When squatting, descend under control, do not free-fall.
Train your squat twice a week. One day will be much lighter than the other. On your first day, train with a weight you can easily handle for 10 repetitions. Perform only eight repetitions per set, and drive the bar upward from the bottom of the squat as explosively as possible. This teaches you to generate force.
Perform your second training day three or four days after your first. Use a weight that you will struggle to get three good repetitions with. This teaches you to recruit as much muscle as you can. Perform no more than three sets of three on this day.
Perform good mornings following your light workout. Hold the bar in the same place as when you squat, and keep your feet in the same place. Keep your back arched and your knees slightly bent while descending until your torso is just above parallel to the ground. This exercise builds your lower back and hamstrings, and teaches you to push back against the barbell. Perform this exercise for three sets of five to eight repetitions.
Perform glute-ham raises following your heavy workout using the glute-ham raise bench. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions per set. If you do not have access to a glute-ham raise, perform leg curls for 12 to 15 repetitions per set.
Perform reverse hyperextensions lying down on a reverse hyperextension bench. Grab the handles securely and securely brace your feet against the ankle attachment. Starting with your legs pointing straight down, raise your legs until they are parallel to the ground, then lower. This exercise works your lower back, hips and hamstrings while decompressing your spine. Perform this exercise for three to five sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per set.
Perform one heavy abdominal or oblique exercise per squat workout. On one day, perform sit ups or crunches for 10 to 15 repetitions per set. The next day, perform side bends or Russian twists for 10 to 15 repetitions per set.
Train using very heavy weights during one session per week. Your goal should be to add 5 lbs. per week to this workout. Over a 20 week cycle, this will add 100 lbs. to your squat.
Train with lighter weights but still attempt to add at least five pounds per set during your other workout. Continue to work on accelerating the bar. If you get to the point where you are struggling to complete lifts on this day, you need to drop the weight by 10 or 15 lbs.
Training by raising your weights is critical, but if you start with a squat of only 100 lbs., it may take years to achieve a 300-lb. squat. When you get to the point where you can no longer add weight to the bar, cut your weights by 20 percent on each workout and start over. This will allow you to recover and continue to gain strength.
Take videos of your squat form. You cannot judge proper technique in the mirror.
Never squat outside of a power rack. Always lift with a spotter. Have a trainer show you proper form. Check with a health care professional before starting any new exercise program.
- "The Westside Barbell Book of Methods"; Louie Simmons; 2008
- "Science and Practice of Strength Training, Second Edition"; Vladimir Zatsiorsky; 2006
- "Supertraining"; Yuri Verkhoshansky; 2009
- Take videos of your squat form. You cannot judge proper technique in the mirror.
- Never squat outside of a power rack. Always lift with a spotter. Have a trainer show you proper form. Check with a health care professional before starting any new exercise program.
- Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images