Discover Your Beast Mode: Squat Every Day

What you need to know…

  1. I followed a modified version of Cory Gregory’s Squat Everday plan found on bodybuilding.com
  2. I missed a few days here and there but did do some variation of a squat every day for just a little a short of 60 days.
  3. My body and my mind are now stronger as a result of trying this training approach.
  4. I successfully hit back squat, front squat, overhead squat, clean, max box jump and deadlift PRs over this time frame.
  5. I refined my warmup and stretching routine to help me get to my working weight faster.
  6. I still do not know to what extent this program has helped my overall strength numbers.
  7. This training approach is simple enough for everyone, but is not easy !

The full story….

SQUAT HEAVY ON A DAILY BASIS TO INCREASE YOUR MAX AND OVERALL STRENGTH – Cory Gregory’s Squat Everday
I have consistently dragged my lazy self out of bed at 330 AM for almost 60 days now for img_3079the sole purpose of improving my strength numbers by doing what some would call the king of all lifts the squat. Compelled by a little bit of stupidity, frustration, and competitiveness after stumbling across Cory Gregory’s Squat Everday plan I felt compelled to give this a try. The goal was easy. Do some sort of heavy squat every day for 30 days.
I never intended to for this to be something I was going to document and share so my numbers and dates etc… are all based on Facebook posts, my Fitbit log and what I can remember. I also never expected to learn so much from this experience.

Much More Mental than Physical

I hate waking up at 330 AM. I also hate waking up before 8 AM on the weekends. To accomplish this training plan I had to suck it up and workout when my schedule allowed. It just so happens that my schedule only allowed me to fit in this training plan when most people filled with a healthy dose of commons sense are sleeping. Getting out of bet every morning at 330 AM each morning proved to be a daily accomplishment in its own right!

This sounds tough, and it is, but it’s extremely effective. “You’re going to see a lot of results. Not just physically, but mentally,” says Broz. “I believe that squatting every day is not going to build your character, but it will reveal your character. You’re truly going to find out what you’re made of.” – Cory Gregory’s Squat Everday

In the first 30 days, I realized that my body could do much more than my mind or attitude will readily allow.  Over the first 30 days, I discovered that the workout was much more mental than physical. I can not count the number of days that lifting 70% of my one rep max either did or just about pinned me between the bar and the safety spotter arms. To put this in perspective 70% of any one rep max is just about warm up weight or working weight in most exercises. On numerous occasions when I took inventory of what I am capable of and approached the bar with more confidence and focus I found myself hitting five rep and three rep max PRs in the same session that appeared to be done before it even started.
Can you get up in the morning and get under a bar? The battle is in your attitude.” – Cory Gregory’s Squat Everday

Active Warmups Helped Tremendously

By the end of the first 30 days, I also found that I needed to streamline my warmups to be efficient and effective. I also found that the amount of time I needed to warm up decreased each week. I concluded that an active warm up help get me under the bar and lifting heavy weight much faster. I also found one new static stretch that phenomenally helped my overall mobility. Here are a couple active warmup examples I used during this period. Depending on the day my amount of rolling and stretching varied greatly.
  • 5 rounds – Heavy sled plush, 10 calorie row/air assault bike, 5 30/36 inch box jumps and 30 to 50 double unders.
  • 2 rounds – 500-meter row or 3 min air assault bike, 5 to 10 heavy kettle-bell swings, heavy sled push

My new favorite movement and static stretch are the Hip Belt Squat.

My new favorite movement and static stretch are the Hip Belt Squat. This article does a good job at explaining the value of the movement. On days that I could not mentally wrap my head around squatting heavy I would do this movement. Additionally, I would hold this movement in the bottom position to help mobilize my squat. I would spend a minute, or two with my weight shifted to each side and then spend a minute or two in a balanced position. This exercise is now a permanent tool in my arsenal.
Hit 95% of my 1rm for BS twice today. Think I have more in the tank but build up was a little more than I wanted to do! – Facebook post in PRsMakeLifeBetter
I feel that consistently squatting on a daily basis outside of just moving weight benefitted my overall mobility. Along with using the Hip Belt Squat, I have also resolved to do some
squat stretch daily; even on off days.
My 1RM PR for FS is 335 which I think I did in the summer of 2014. The most I have hit since is 320. This is a new 3 rep max PR @ 315 or 95% of my 1RM. – Facebook post in PRsMakeLifeBetter

I Just Kept Going

I did not squat every day. Life sometimes just got in the way. I can say with absolute confidence though that I missed less than 10 days in which I did not perform a squat over a 60 day period. I started off only expecting to do this program for 30 days, but once I hit my stride and established a pattern I just kept going. Towards the end of the next 30 days, the strength deficit I had created could be felt all over my body. In the first 30 days, I would squat and do a Crossfit WoD 2 or 3 times a week after my squat session. Soon I found that if I hit a PR in the squat session, I did not have a

img_2777
OHS and HPC PRs! 

nything left physically (and to some extent mentally) to complete a Crossfit session. I then found myself just choosing to work my squat session in lieu of doing a Crossfit session at all!

 

So that is why I am done with this particular plan. I want to improve my strength, but my overall goal is to maintain my overall fitness and to better my abilities at Crossfit. This plan did that in spades, but WoDs are essential to my overall health and well-being.

Positive Impact on Overall Strength

The numbers are all relative, but whether you are an absolute novice or seasoned professional hitting personal records (PRs) or personal bests (PBs) in 6 different movements or lifts in 60 days is pretty freaking impressive. I did nothing to sandbag this effort. I am

img_2786
Deadlift PRs: 5 REP and 3 REP PR @ 95% of 1RM.

completely shocked by my results in this endeavor. Squatting every day is the single most impactful strength training program I have completed since the day I found my first bench press at the age of 13 in my friend’s basement.

I hit PRs in my back squat, front squat, overhead squat, clean, max box jump and deadlift in the last 60 days of squatting every day. The best back squat I accomplished was hitting 95% of my 1RM for 3 reps. 

PRs Yet to Come!

I still do not know the overall impact of this effort on my strength. I will be traveling for various reasons over the next couple of weeks and will use this time as a time to rest up. I have some strength numbers formulating for my next round of goals that 60 days ago would have seemed ridiculous or even absurd, but now seem entirely feasible!

Final Thought and Disclaimer

This workout is not beyond anyone’s skill level. This workout straight forward and simple but not easy. I did not follow the workout outlined by Cory Gregory to the letter. I pick and chose my movements and approach but stayed true to the heart of the plan; to squat heavy every day!

img_3077
Bench Press PRs…Not great but still 98% of my 1 RM for 2 Reps!

I attempted another squat-centric plan a couple years ago. This plan had a high volume of
reps and heavy weight. The weaknesses in my form were revealed quickly. After a couple of weeks, my knees felt like they aged by about 20 years. After a month I was in the doctor’s office getting treatment. I completely retooled my squat form.  I also put in a lot of work on my mobility. I approached squatting every day with the utmost respect to my form, my knees, and my general well-being. If you need help with your squat, get that assistance before you fully undertake this plan.

Extra Notes

  • Even though I was pushing 80 to 90 percent of my one rep max on a daily basis, I was not incredibly sore.
  • The mental battle to push heavy weight every day was the real workout.
  • I PR’d on days I knew for certain would be a less than productive.
  • After about two weeks I found that my splits look as follows…
    • Monday: Back Squat
    • Tuesday: Front Squat
    • Wednesday: Pause Back Squat
    • Thursday: Pause Front Squat
    • Friday: Back Squat
    • Saturday: Any squat variation plus Deadlift
    • Sunday: Any squat variation plus Benchpress
  • At any time during this schedule, I would substitute overhead squats to add some variety
  • I also worked in strict presses on days I had more time
  • I also kept the reps to 3 to 5 reps and always worked to failure.
  • I also had a hard stop to be done by 510 AM giving me about 1 hour in the gym. Usually only took 30 to 40 mins for a squat session.
  • Facebook post in PRsMakeLifeBetter…this last 60 days has been awesome!
    • My 1RM PR for FS is 335 which I think I did in the summer of 2014. The most I have hit since is 320. This is a new 3 rep max PR @ 315 or 95% of my 1RM.
    • 49in Box Jump. Best I have done in long time; previous best 46.5. We did not keep track of these very well in early days at CFB.
    • I wish it was cleaner but it is 275lbs more than I planned on doing. His set 10 after working to failure of 8X3 #OHS
    • Best marks for this AM. Hit 85% of 1RM FS for 3 rep 3 sec pause squats. Hit 91% of 1RM FS 2 X1 for 3 sec pause squats.
    • Hit 95% of my 1rm for BS twice today. Think I have more in the tank but build up was a little more than I wanted to do!
    • Caught myself grinning this AM as I hit a weight for reps with a movement I never had any confidence in. The grin was really brought in from the fact that not only did I hit it for reps but I was still warming up! #whatamonday
    • I have not PR’D my FS in a very long time but I did hit 315×2 today. The first time I have done it for multiples. Optimistic that I have a 10 to 20 lbs PR in me when the time is right!
    • I am going to take 5 mins to allow myself to be happy about this accomplishment today. Then I am going right back to remembering that 300lbs for 2 reps is still pretty lame in relationship to my other strength numbers. #watchhowslowrep2goesup #prsmakelifebetter#thiscrossfitterdoesbenchpress #stillnothappybutiloveprogress
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