Charles Poliquin contacted some of the top Olympic Weightlifting Coaches from around the world and asked them about the optimal back squat programs.
Wave-Like Pattern 1
With this protocol, the trainee should be able to use more weight during each successive “wave” as the nervous system adapts to the workout. For example, a lifter might squat 150 kilos for 3 on the first wave, 160 kilos for 3 on the second, and 170 kilos for 3 on the third.
1 x 7, 1 x 5, 1 x 3, 1 x 7 , 1 x 5, 1 x 3, 1 x 7 , 1 x 5, 1 x 3
Wave-Like Pattern 2
This is simply a variation of the previous workout, but it’s designed for a more advanced athlete who is striving for maximal strength, especially relative strength.
1 x 5, 1 x 3, 1 x 2, 1 x 5, 1 x 3, 1 x 2, 1 x 5, 1 x 3, 1 x 2
Patient System 1
Choose a weight that is very challenging (but possible) to lift for 8 sets of 2. In every workout try to get to 8 sets of 3. Once you can do 8 sets of 3, increase the weight.
Max Double, Max Sets of 3 Method
Go for a max double, take off about 7 percent of the load, and perform as many sets of 3 as possible with that new load within a 50-minute time frame. The time frame starts as soon as the heavy double has been completed.
This protocol consists of performing 4 sets of 4, followed by 4 sets of 5. None of the sets are taken to full muscular failure – you get the strength training effect from the sheer volume of high-quality work.
What are the best plateau busters?
- Squat more often (most common answer)
- Lower the training intensity, doing more sets of 4 to 5 (also a very common answer)
- Dead stops in bottom position
- Eccentric snatch deadlifts on podium (do these when a lifter’s lower back strength is the limiting factor)
- More hamstrings work as hip extensors, using exercises such as hypers, 45-degree back extensions, and various forms of semi-stiff-legged deadlifts.
- Loaded drop jumps
- Super imposed method