Russian Squat Cycle (6 weeks)

Palo Alto Barbell, how do you feel after a big squat personal record (PR)?

How do you feel after a big squat personal record (PR)?

A lot of folks have been asking me about the squat program I just finished. I thought I would share it here. If you get a chance to do it, please let me know how it goes!

Summary: I just finished a very short (6 week), intense Russian Squat Cycle.  My poor teammates did a 12 week program and had even bigger gains.  I began later than they did because I had to work around the American Open.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this during a build up to a competition. For us, this happened over the winter holidays and our huge PRs just happened a few weeks into the new year.  This made for great times eating and training (no cutting for competitions!).  The squats even woke me up in the middle of the night a few times and demanded calories.

How does one put 9 kgs (~20lbs) on a back squat in such a short time?

  1. PR your back squat right before you begin the new cycle so you know what your max is.
  2. Commit to squatting 3 days a week with at least one rest day between each squat day.
  3. Suck up as much sleep and protein into you body as you can stand.
  4. Stretch and do abs as much as you can.
  5. Believe in your coach and the program.  It works!


What exactly does a 6 week Russian Squat Program look like?

Week 1:

Day 1 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 2 (Wednesday) – 80% x 3 x 6

Day 3 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 2:

Day 4 (Monday) – 80% x 4 x 6

Day 5 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 6 (Saturday) – 80% x 5 x 6

Week 3:

Day 7 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 8 (Wednesday) – 80% x 6 x 6

Day 9 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 4:

Day 10 (Monday) – 85% x 5 x 5

Day 11 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 12 (Saturday) – 90% x 4 x 4

Week 5:

Day 13 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 14 (Wednesday) – 95% x 3 x 3

Day 15 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 6:

Day 16 (Monday) – 100% x 2 x 2

Day 17 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 18 (Saturday) – 105% x 1 x 1  (make your PR and then go heavier!)

Note: The percentage listed is the percentage of your back squat. For example, if your best is 50kg, then 80% of 50kg is 40kg. On day one do 40kg back squats for six sets of two. As always, warmup well before doing your squats. Always start with an empty bar and build up to your working sets. For this cycle, our team always began with squats. The squats were a good way to warm up and tire us out so that our technique really needed to shine to get us through the workouts.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Enjoy your new, bigger back squat! And, if you like, do follow me on Instagram: