One squat, two squat, three squat…..
Well ladies and gentlemen. We’ve got a doozy of a back squat cycle on our hands for the next 6 weeks. 20 reps. Increasing weight. Not every week- EVERY DAY WE SQUAT. Yesssss. It’s going to be challenging both mentally and physically for us. Some advise from Coach Jon on how to tackle this cycle is to “grab a spotter or a motivating friend ‘cause the 20 reps is more mental than anything.” With our will being pushed to the brink- here are a few small tips to help you make the 20:
The goal is to go unbroken for the 20 so any discomfort you feel with the bar in back rack should be resolved before rep 1. One way is to create a “pillow” for the bar by pinching your shoulder blades together. Your traps will create a cushion for the bar to rest on and should feel stable and secure. To lock the bar in even further pull down on the bar and engage your lats.
Breathing is going to be another factor that will help us make these 20 reps. Take as many breathes as you need while standing with the weight and right before you are about the squat take a deep breath in- so deep it fills your belly and expands your abdomen. Hold this as you squat, reach the bottom and rise again. Only after you’ve begun to stand should you exhale. This increase in abdominal pressure will help support you low back through the movement and exhaling (or yelling) through a sticking point may help you get out of it.
20 heavy squats can begin to psych anyone out if they start thinking about the number of reps. Try breaking it up in how you count your reps. Instead of counting to 20, you may consider counting out 4 sets of 5 reps. It allows you to focus on only those 5 squats at that time and gives you a specific “break” where you may pause at the top an extra second or 2 before beginning your next set of 5. Another strategy maybe for your partner to count for you and you just bang out squat after squat and just keep moving until you hear that heavenly “19, 20!” count.
These are just a few of the many, many tips that could be offered to make the cycle a success. If there is something that doesn’t feel right or you are just curious, ask a coach to watch a few warm up reps before hitting the 20. Remember form comes first!
Get ready to squat.