The Squat 4x Per Week Experiment

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I’ve been alluding to this “experiment” for quite some time now – and I wouldn’t be surprised given how long it’s taken me to actually hunker down and write about it, if some of you felt I was just making it up and blowing out a bunch of hot air.

It’s kind of like that one time your best friend said he’s dating a lingerie model that he met online.


And I actually spend my nights fighting crime as a ninja.  No, really, I’m not kidding!

Anyhoo, for those who need a quick refresher:  I’ve been experimenting with a high(er) frequency squatting protocol that’s been in the mix for the past 6-8 weeks.  I love it, and feel it’s something I may implement long-term.

The article just went live today on T-Nation and you can read it HERE.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts after you read it.  Something you feel you’d try?  Think it’s crap?  Don’t worry, you can be honest. I won’t cry……….

That much.


Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Comments for This Entry

  • Jake

    Tony, how bad were your knees when you first started the program? I'm assuming they weren't bad enough to cause pain when you first started squatting heavy or else the rest of the week would have been pretty much impossible. I've got some pretty cranky knees myself and am cautious about how often I implement squatting. I've found front squats to be more knee friendly though, ironically.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      They weren't THAT bad - but they've been giving me issues for well over ten years now. I purposely didn't start too heavy because I didn't want them to flare up too quickly, In the past I've been too aggressive too quickly with weight selection and paid the price. Now that I've been doing this for a while, I'm only just now feeling like I can REALLY up the weight.

      November 9, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply to this comment

  • Barath

    I realize I am going to sound like the typical internet warrior, and I apologize in advance :) Since you haven't squatted regularly by your own admission, it's hard to be objective when it comes to how to attribute your gains. Is squatting four times a week necessary to get the gains you had? I can see the merit of your Monday training, and to a certain extent, the Tuesday one. But you are not going to convince me doing higher rep squats and goblet squats have any effect on pushing your squatting strength. Please don't get me wrong - I like the idea of squatting more frequently. But if I decide to go down this road, I'd probably choose two heavy days, and one "medium" day - whatever that might mean :)

    November 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Eh, well, I know Dan John has argued that he's had people do nothing but Goblet squats for a while and they saw awesome gains. The idea behind this "experiment" wasn't to necessarily see how much I could get my squat up - but I DO feel that having the low(er) intensity days allowed me to recover and not beat my body to shit. I'm sure we can argue over whether squatting 3x or 4x or 5x per week is better or whatever, but like I said in the article, everyone is different and whatever we choose to discuss, advocate, or admonish doesn't mean it applies to everyone.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply to this comment

  • John J Brooks

    This is a tough one. Your movement and mobility are so far outside the norm that I can only think of 2-3 athletes that I've worked with that are close. I worry few have the foundation of mobility/stability to handle this volume and load without breaking. That said, for those folks high volume squatting is great. It's old school, but it works. There is another factor that maybe you haven't considered: squatting is hard. Desensitizing yourself and embracing the suck. Making yourself more comfortable under the bar can go a long way to moving more weight. Good experiment, good thoughts.

    November 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Reply to this comment

  • bdiddle

    Enjoyed this article. I emailed you recently about my Hatch Squat experiment. I am seeing substantial gains in both my squat numbers and though I haven't tested 1RM on my DL, triples at 85% feel much easier. I'm squatting two days a week, but those sessions are higher volume than yours(LBBS and Front Squat each session). Once I acclimated, I was fine. Deloading is essential, as is diet. I respectfully disagree with the poster who said that working in the 10+ rep range doesn't do anything to improve squat strength. What makes Hatch so potent is that you are hitting "tough" sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 on the same day. Then transitioning to Front Squat 5x5. In two months PR'ed my Front Squat by 15lbs and then PR'ed my LBBS by 15lbs for a double! I sort of view those higher rep ranges as setting up a base camp on your way up the mountain. Wendler talks about this somewhere, that the broader rep range builds a lasting, less superficial strength. Also, from direct experience, doing lower intensity single leg work has definitely helped to develop my squat and hit glute medius, which I have a suspicion has held me back and is the reason my DL'ing is better than my squat....Good article T

    November 9, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply to this comment

  • John

    how did this effect your elbows? I get quite a bit of torque on mine while squatting, and if I go 3x per week they get pretty banged up. Thoughts?

    November 9, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply to this comment

  • McB

    I've been doing squats 3x/wk for the last couple weeks - 4x10, so moderate weight - loving it!

    November 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Axe

    Hi Tony, what do u think of Benching 4x/wk, like Smolov jr prog.?

    November 10, 2012 at 10:35 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      I think that's completely doable. Smolov is an awesome program, albeit like I noted in the article, I feel it "eats' people up. Although, to be fair, benching is a bit less taxing than squatting on the body so it stands to reason that it would be an awesome fit!

      November 11, 2012 at 7:04 am | Reply to this comment

  • Ronn

    Hi Tony, I have been following a 5 day per week squatting routine for 5 weeks and have made more than satisfying gains. I have a question though. My competition stance squat is pretty wide and I squat more with my hips and hams. While squatting more frequently I could not use this stance more than once a week. What do people do when they say back squats in these kind of routines? Do they take a more moderate stance?

    September 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      You could very well play around with different foot positions either daily or on a week-by-week basis. Squatting with a wid(er) stance is definitely going to eat up your hips, so I wouldn't recommend doing that long-term. But it stands to reason that you could perform heavy front squat with a narrow stance one day, back squats with your competition stance the other day, goblet squats one day, and then use a single leg squat variation on the last day. You don't need to go heavy every single session.

      September 5, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply to this comment

  • Daniel Walsh

    Tony, what (if anything) would you change about this program looking back on it. Not just about the squat days but also the upper body and deadlift portions of the workout. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    March 6, 2018 at 11:44 pm | Reply to this comment

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