Taking an Extra Day

Another great thing about 20 rep squats is that it leaves little doubt about when you are ready to get back to training.

Overtraining is one of the worse things you can do.  Mike Mentzer said that it was not only detrimental to your training, but could lead to serious illness.

Forget the illness part, we can leave it at this:

Overtraining = Cycle Over.

That means no more progress and the only way to restart is to shut down and start over.  No one wants that.

20 rep squats is painful.  Its painful at the time of the movement and its painful for  a few days after.  If it still hurts, don’t train.  As I write this post I am recovering from yesterday’s squat session.  No doubt about it, I am not ready for another session.  I don’t have one scheduled for another two days, but if it turns into three or four, so be it.

Don’t short circuit your cycle and cheat yourself out of hard earned progress.




Who knew there was controversy over pullovers?

I’ve been following the Super Squats program.  20 reps of squats followed by pullovers.  If you do a Google search on pullovers you find articles talking about the shoulder problems that can result.

Super Squats uses light pullovers, so no problem there.

The other thing you find when you read the articles are differing opinions about the effectiveness.  Some say its primarily a back exercise, some say primarily chest, some say serratus.

Some say it does nothing.

The old-timers said that it stretched your rib cage.  A bigger rib cage = bigger chest.  It just creates more surface area for your muscle to cover.

I am not a scientist so I wouldn’t know how to prove it one way or another.  However, I do believe in the old-time methods.  Those guys built muscle in the days before steroids.

This is what I do:

  • Finish the last squat.
  • Immediately lie perpendicular on a bench with your head off one side, your shoulder blades on the bench and your butt lower than your torso.
  • Take a 25 lb plate and extend your arms out from your chest (bench press style).
  • Take two or three deep breaths, holding the last one.
  • While keeping your elbows as straight as possible (I am not a stickler on this point), lower the weight back over the top of your head.
  • Take one gulp of air just prior to, and another at the point where the weight is fully extended behind your head.  I am trying to fill my lungs with air.
  • Exhale and bring it back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 19 times.

Why a plate instead of a dumbbell?  I don’t like my hands so close together when doing pullovers.  A 25 lb plate is the right distance for me.

Some people prefer a barbell or EZ curl bar, but I find these can sometimes be a bit difficult to control if it tips to one side or another.  You can control a plate.

I might feel differently if I were doing this as a strength movement with heavy weights.  For that type of movement a plate would be impractical.  It only really works for light pullovers.

There is an alternative version of the breathing pullover.  Stand up and grab something sturdy with both hands.  It has to be something at or just above your eye level.  Stand far enough away so that you have to bend forward slightly at the waist and extend your arms in order to grab it.  The breathing is the same as above, but you are pulling down instead of moving a weight back and forth.

Do the pullovers work?  Anecdotally, I say yes.

Squats and Milk and Pullovers.

It works.

Recovery – September 1, 2015

2591108804_194476beedAt the time of this writing I am three workouts into a 20 rep squat routine.  High reps wreak havok on your legs and tax recovery ability.  Add to that the intensity of the Super Squats routine and its adds up to a real challenge to get back in shape for the next workout.

This is to be expected on such a program.  The authentic version of the routine calls for three squat workouts per week.  Some trainees advocate cutting these to one.  I prefer to split the difference and go with two.

Q – How do you keep this pace and not wind up with an injury?

A – Stretching and ice.

Timing of your stretching is critical.  For best results, stretch immediately following the workout and before your muscles have cooled down.  Your window of opportunity is while you are still warm.  As a side note, stretching is recommended daily.  On non-training days, try to stretch as soon as you get out bed in the morning.

Ice is widely used by athletes.  However, this is a problem for the home trainee and the average gym rat.  You could go buy a few bags of ice and put them in the bathtub, but its not convenient.

Inconvenience = Inconsistent.

An alternative is a cold shower.  Cold showers suck!  My technique is to let the cold water run on the affected body part for sixty seconds before moving to the next body part.  That could mean five to ten minutes of cold water, depending on what your training was on that particular day.

The goal is to recover from the current workout in order to be ready for the next.  One way to measure recovery is soreness.  Don’t train again if you are still sore.  If you are sore you have not recovered.

Forget recovery, soreness can be debilitating in some cases.  Did you ever have trouble walking around the day after an intense leg workout?  This can only be seen as detrimental and should be avoided.