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“Lazy” Squatting Program With Big Results

A picture of Eric Lilliebridge at the bottom of a squat in competition.

Hi, I’m DickFarm!

…and I’m lazy!

Ok, so maybe I should elaborate.

I used to be a big, relatively strong, powerlifter, but now I’m just a Jiu Jitsu hippie.

Even though I now care far more about my skills on the mat than on the platform, I do think it’s hard to argue against the squat as an important lift for all athletes.

Since Jiu Jitsu is my focus, those training sessions are my priority. So, when I squat, I don’t like to get sore or fry my nervous system since that will have a negative impact on my BJJ training.

Since I wanted to squat, but didn’t want to get sore, I got my brain going one day and thought, “Hey brain, what can be done about maintaining my squat strength with as little stressful work as possible?”

A valid question for a lazy guy, right?

And after some thinking, I realized that I never really got beat up doing Westside Dynamic Effort squatting.

So, I thought, why not see how effective a DE squat plan would work for me.

Here’s what I came up with…

The Dynamic Cycle

After warm-up sets, the working sets/reps were all 5×3.

Also, I used bands each week. Here’s how I set up the bands.

At the top, I measured each band to produce between 35-40 pounds. In total this produced 70-80 pounds of added resistance at the top (~25% of my training max of 305).

According to Special Strength Development for all Sports by Louie Simmons, the recommendations are as follows:

Band tension at the top should total about 25% of your max.

Bar weight should total between 50-60% of your max.

Now onto the bar weights I used…

Phase 1 w/ Thicker Orange Bands

Week 1- 150 (~50% of 305)
Week 2- 165 (~55% of 305)
Week 3- 185 (~60% of 305)

Phase 2 w/ Thicker Orange Bands and Red Bands

1- 150
2- 165
3- 185

Phase 3 w/ Thicker Orange Bands

1- 150
2- 165
3- 185

Other Lifting

I didn’t really follow a plan with accessory work.

Some days I would do some core work (which usually consisted of a couple sets of Ab Wheels and Back Extensions).

Some days I would do a few sets of Kettlebell Swings and Snatches.

Some days I would do Band Hip Abductions and Glute Ham Raises.

All days I did some kind of upper body pulling (chinups, pulldowns, cable rows, or bodyweight rows).

Regardless of what I did, other than the upper body pulling, I didn’t work hard. …I’m just being honest here.

Another Goal

Like I mentioned, the primary purpose of this plan was to see if it would help me to maintain my strength while not frying my body.

However, one of the suggested benefits of DE training is increasing explosive power. So, I figured that may be worth tracking as well.

Enter The Tendo Unit

While I’ve had it for a few years, I haven’t used the ol Tendo Unit lately.

But I thought if I really wanted to see what my bar speed looked like (and whether or not it improved), this was the way to go.

Ok, time for the boring numbers part…

Testing on Friday, July 1

Knee sleeves worn on all sets. Safety Squat Bar used. Rogue box used in the lowest setting (11-inches).

Bar (34 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- 1.15
Rep 2- 1.17
Rep 3- 1.11

Bar, Set 2 (with jump)

Rep 1- 1.20
Rep 2- 1.23
Rep 3- 1.19

125 pounds (57 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- .98
Rep 2- .97
Rep 3- 1.02

125 pounds, Set 2 (with jump)

Rep 1- 1.04
Rep 2- 1.02
Rep 3- 1.06

165 pounds (75 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- .85
Rep 2- .85
Rep 3- .87

165 pounds, Set 2 (with jump)

Rep 1- .88
Rep 2- .88
Rep 3- .88

215 pounds (98 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- .66
Rep 2- .65
Rep 3- .64

215 pounds, Set 2 (belt on from here on out)

Rep 1- .69
Rep 2- .68
Rep 3- .66

255 pounds (116 kg)

Rep 1- .58
Rep 2- .55
Rep 3- .47

285 pounds (130 kg)

Rep 1- .52
Rep 2- .47

305 pounds (139 kg)

Rep 1- .40
Rep 2- .29

Testing on Wednesday, September 21

Knee sleeves worn on all sets. Safety Squat Bar used. Rogue box used in the lowest setting.

Bar (34 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- 1.13
Rep 2- 1.12
Rep 3- 1.11

Bar, Set 2 (with jump)

Rep 1- 1.16
Rep 2- 1.30
Rep 3- 1.42

125 pounds (57 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- 1.03
Rep 2- 1.03
Rep 3- 1.04

125 pounds, Set 2 (with jump)

Rep 1- 1.08
Rep 2- 1.11
Rep 3- 1.11

165 pounds (75 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- .86
Rep 2- .78
Rep 3- .86

165 pounds, Set 2 (with jump)

Rep 1- .97
Rep 2- .84
Rep 3- .89

215 pounds (98 kg), Set 1

Rep 1- .69
Rep 2- .65
Rep 3- .65

215 pounds, Set 2 (belt on from here on out)

Rep 1- .71
Rep 2- .60
Rep 3- .60

255 pounds (116 kg)

Rep 1- .59
Rep 2- .55
Rep 3- .47

285 pounds (130 kg)

Rep 1- .45
Rep 2- .41

315 pounds (143 kg)

Rep 1- .30
*Did not perform 2nd rep because I felt my form would have broken down, or I would have missed it.

Data Summary

1. My average speed on all of the jump squats (75, 125, 165) seemed to stand out as being quite a bit better. I’d be interested to see what this means as far as any improvement on a vertical jump or other measures of lower body power production.

2. My average speed for non-jumping squats seemed to be similar on both testing days. Nothing significant stood out to me.

3. The last 2 sets on the 2nd testing day I was a little rushed and probably didn’t take as long of a break as I needed. I think my speeds reflect that. Up until 285, my speeds were almost identical.

My Super Smart Conclusions/Implications

Listen, this was far from a controlled “study,” but I do think the data is worth considering.

I mean, I was pretty much able to maintain strength (and increase power with jumps) in 9 training sessions spaced between 2 testing days over the course of 11.5 weeks.

I wasn’t sore once.

I didn’t feel fried after any session and was able to train in my sport regularly without any issues.

So while this is far from an ideal plan for a competitive powerlifter, I do think a similar style of training may have a place in other athletes’ in-season strength and conditioning program.

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