Lessons Learned From Squatting Everyday: What You Should Know

Lessons Learned From Squatting Everyday: What You Should Know

If the idea of squatting every day piques your interest, you’re not alone.

The squat everyday program has allowed many people to build enormous amounts of lower body strength and power in record time. When performed correctly, you could expect significant improvements like never before.

Fortunately, I've been through it.

I've previously used this method to increase my squat by more than 100 pounds in only a few months. Through this experience, I've learned some best practices for success. But, I've also learned where things can go wrong.  

To come, I’ll share my experience with squatting every day and the lessons I’ve learned so you can decide if it’s the right step for your goals.

Squatting Everyday Experience

MY EXPERIENCE WITH SQUATTING EVERYDAY 

A few years ago, I gave this method a chance. After progressively increasing my squat frequency from once to five times per week, I found that my squat strength increased significantly.

I also found several different benefits like:

  1. Improved squat form
  2. More confidence with heavier weight
  3. Improved performance on other exercises, like the deadlift

However, it wasn't an entirely positive experience. Despite these impressive improvements, I also experienced overuse injuries, which set my progress back significantly.

From what I've learned, there are some distinct advantages and disadvantages of squatting every day that you should consider before making the jump.

 

ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES

Just as with most training programs, there are advantages and disadvantages. These are some of the most prominent to help you decide if squatting every day is right for you.

A: Strength & Force Development

The primary advantage of squatting every day is its ability to help you develop strength and power rapidly. By squatting heavy each day, your body adapts to make that heavy resistance less stressful and more comfortable to move.

A: Movement Efficiency

A major factor in your ability to produce strength is the efficiency of your movement under load. To generate maximal strength, you need all muscle groups to be firing and your joints to be moving properly.

I like to think of this in the same light as any other sport that requires practice. Regular practice will help you fine-tune your movements to perform optimally.

By regularly practicing the squat under heavy load, you’ll optimize your movement during the exercise, making strength development and production more efficient.

A: Comfort Under Heavy Load

Do you remember that last time you set a new one-rep max on the squat? It was probably pretty scary stepping under the bar loaded with a weight you've never moved before.

By squatting heavy each training session, you’ll gain greater self-confidence with heavier loads. This confidence can help you blast through uncertainty and possibly set new personal records like never before (1, 2).

D: Other Goals Take A Back Seat

When you embark on the journey of squatting every training session, most of your other goals, like building a big bench press or deadlift, have to take a back seat.

To benefit from squatting every training session, you have to squat first. Otherwise, you’ll be squatting while fatigued, which is a bad idea from a safety and performance standpoint.

As a result, other exercises won't get the same attention, since you'll always be performing them after squatting. You should recognize this reality before committing to this sort of plan (3, 4).

D: Increased Risk Of Injury

Squatting heavy every day can increase your risk of general injuries and overuse injuries if you’re not careful (5).

This squat program is fatiguing. If you’re squatting every training session, there’s a good chance you’ll have some residual fatigue from squatting the day prior. This fatigue can change your movement patterns, which can result in injury.

Second, your muscles and tendons might not be accustomed to squatting heavy so often, which can be a problem.

Personally, after a few months of squatting every day, I ultimately ended up with a terrible case of patellar tendonitis. As a result, I had to stop squatting entirely for months and even had trouble walking. 

Don't ignore pain as I did. As you progress, ensure that you're regularly assessing pain and fatigue and taking action to avoid injury.

Squatting Everyday Best Practices

BEST PRACTICES FOR SQUATTING EVERY DAY

If you’re interested in squatting every training day, there are some key concepts to keep in mind. These concepts will help you successfully transition into squatting each training session while avoiding injury.

 

Don't Squat Every Day To Start

The reality is that squatting every training session can be challenging, and before you do so, you should build your squatting capacity.

Since the focus of squatting every day is to build strength and power, you're going to be using heavy weight. If you usually squat heavy once per week, jumping into heavy squats five days per week might be challenging.

For the first week, I recommend adding only one additional heavy squat session so that you can see how you respond. Once you understand the impact of squatting more often, add in more squat sessions.

Take your time, listen to how your body responds, and add more squat sessions when you’re ready.

 

Squat First

With this program, your squat sets should always be the first exercise that you perform.

Remember, squatting every day is meant to help you maximally develop strength, power, and the efficiency of your squat form. To do so, you should always be as fresh as possible.

If you place your squats in the middle or end of your workout, you’ll have some level of fatigue. This fatigue means you can’t put forth the same effort as you would at the beginning of the workout, and your form might degrade.  

From a safety and effectiveness standpoint, squats should always be first in your workouts during this program.

 

Work Up To Heavy Singles Or Doubles And Move On

When you squat every training session, your goal should be to work up to a heavy single or double and then move on. Frankly, if you want to squat every day, you can’t train the same as when you trained legs once per week.

With this method, your daily leg training volume (sets x reps x weight) must be lower than when you train legs once per week. Otherwise, you’ll never recover enough by the next session.

Instead, work up to a heavy single or double and then move on. If you feel that your legs can handle more volume, add in more leg accessory exercises.

 

Use Squat Variations

I recommend adding in different variations of the squat during this program. These variations include the front squat, sumo-squat, low-bar, and high-bar squat.

If you're like most people, your max back squat is much higher than your front squat. As a result, maxing out on your back squat every day will be fatiguing. This fatigue can force you to use a lighter weight and move at a slower speed during future workouts. 

Swapping in a front squat allows you to still squat heavy but with less weight than a back squat. From a fatigue and recovery management standpoint, this can be very valuable for long-term progress. 

Additionally, squat variations allow you to stress the muscles used during the squat differently. For example, a high-bar, close stance squat is going to influence your quads differently than a low-bar, wide stance squat. These differences ensure that all muscle fibers are being equally stimulated and can help you avoid plateau  (6). 

Importantly, while variation is a good idea, you should still prioritize the type of squat that you want to improve on the most.

 

Don't Forget Leg Accessories

Despite squatting every day, your leg training volume might actually decline. If you're only working up to a single set of one or two reps, that might be significantly less work than usual.

Adding in leg accessory exercises can help you maintain and develop additional muscle mass. This muscle mass can help improve your squat even further. Just remember that too much accessory work can generate extra soreness and fatigue, making your future squat sessions less effective.

When incorporating leg accessories, here are a few guidelines:

  1. Perform front squats instead of back squats following leg accessory days.
  2. Consider having one of your full rest days following leg accessories, for additional recovery.
  3. Don't go crazy with accessories. The more you do, the higher your risk of increased soreness and fatigue.

 

Take Pain Seriously

Speaking from experience, squatting every day increases your risk of general and overuse injuries. If you feel pain that is different from soreness, assess this situation seriously.

If you begin a squat session and feel pain while squatting, stop, and move on.

Remember, you're squatting every day, and there's always tomorrow. If you push through real pain and injure yourself or make an injury worse, you might have to stop squatting altogether.

When you feel pain, make an effort to respect this pain and make smart decisions about the best course of action. If that means taking a week or two to heal, so be it. 

Squatting Everyday Routine

FINAL THOUGHTS

Squatting every day is an effective way to develop massive leg strength rapidly.

However, this is a radical technique that requires adjustments to your program. Making these adjustments will be essential for this method to work.

Finally, squatting every day will require more attention to pain and fatigue. Otherwise, you could risk injury and setbacks.

With the right mindset and approach, squatting every day could be the method you need to bust through plateaus and reach new feats of strength.

Carbohydrate supplements powder

5-DAY SQUAT EVERYDAY EXAMPLE PROGRAM

Note: This example will require progressively increasing squat frequency before squatting 5x / week. 

Pressing Day

  1. Back Squat: Normal Stance
    1. Warm-Up
    2. Warm-Up
    3. Warm-Up
    4. Back Squat: 85% of 1RM x 2 Reps
    5. Back Squat: 85% of 1RM x 2 Reps
  2. Incline Bench Press: 4 x 8
  3. Weighted Dips: 3 x 12
  4. Decline Close Grip Bench Press: 4 x 12
  5. Cable Chest Fly: 3 x 15

 

Pulling Day

  1. Front Squat
    1. Warm-Up
    2. Warm-Up
    3. Warm-Up
    4. Front Squat: 85% of Front Squat 1RM x 1 Rep
    5. Front Squat: 85% of Front Squat 1RM x 1 Rep
  2. Weighted Pull-Ups: 4 x AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
  3. T-Bar Rows: 3 x 10
  4. Supinated Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 12
  5. Heavy Single Arm DB Rows: 3 x 8

 

Accessory Day (Upper Body)

  1. Back Squat: Low Bar, Wide Stance
    1. Warm-Up
    2. Warm-Up
    3. Warm-Up
    4. Low Bar, Wide Stance Back Squat: 85% of 1RM x 1
    5. Low Bar, Wide Stance Back Squat: 85% of 1RM x 1
    6. Low Bar, Wide Stance Back Squat: 85% of 1RM x 1
  2. Standing Barbell Overhead Press: 3 x 8
  3. EZ-Bar Biceps Curls: 2 x 12
  4. Pec Deck Reverse Fly: 3 x 15
  5. Triceps Pushdowns: 2 x 15
  6. Decline Sit-Ups: 3 x AMRAP
  7. Ab Rollout: 3 x AMRAP

 

Leg Accessory Day

  1. High Bar Back Squat
    1. Warm-Up
    2. Warm-Up
    3. Warm-Up
    4. High Bar Back Squat: 90% of 1RM x 1 Rep
    5. High Bar Back Squat: 90% of 1RM x 1 Rep
    6. High Bar Back Squat: 90% of 1RM x 1 Rep
  2. Romanian Deadlift: 2 x 12
  3. Leg Press: 2 x 15
  4. Leg Curls: 2 x 15
  5. Calf Raises: 3 x AMRAP



Pressing Day #2

  1. Front Squat
    1. Warm-Up
    2. Warm-Up
    3. Warm-Up
    4. Front Squat: 80% of Front Squat 1RM x 3 Rep
    5. Front Squat: 80% of Front Squat 1RM x 3 Rep
  2. Flat Bench Press: 4 x 12
  3. Incline DB Press: 4 x 12
  4. EZ-Bar Pullover: 3 x 8
  5. Chest Press Machine: 3 x 15 

Post workout supplements

References:

  1. George, Thomas R. "Self-confidence and baseball performance: A causal examination of self-efficacy theory." Journal of sport and exercise psychology 16, no. 4 (1994): 381-399.
  2. Martin, Jeffrey J., and Diane L. Gill. "The relationships of competitive orientations and self-efficacy to goal importance, thoughts, and performance in high school distance runners." Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 7, no. 1 (1995): 50-62.
  3. Simão, Roberto, Juliano Spineti, Belmiro F. de Salles, Liliam F. Oliveira, Thiago Matta, Fabricio Miranda, Humberto Miranda, and Pablo B. Costa. "Influence of exercise order on maximum strength and muscle thickness in untrained men." Journal of sports science & medicine 9, no. 1 (2010): 1.
  4. Utilize Proper Workout Structure and Exercise Order.” Human Kinetics. Accessed April 15, 2020. https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/utilize-proper-workout-structure-and-exercise-order.
  5. Aicale, R., D. Tarantino, and N. Maffulli. "Overuse injuries in sport: a comprehensive overview." Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research 13, no. 1 (2018): 1-11.
  6. Fonseca, Rodrigo M., Hamilton Roschel, Valmor Tricoli, Eduardo O. de Souza, Jacob M. Wilson, Gilberto C. Laurentino, André Y. Aihara, Alberto R. de Souza Leão, and Carlos Ugrinowitsch. "Changes in exercises are more effective than in loading schemes to improve muscle strength." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28, no. 11 (2014): 3085-3092.
Samuel Biesack
Samuel Biesack - Author

Sam is a strength & conditioning coach who specializes in exercise and nutrition research. He holds a Master's in Exercise & Nutrition Science and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. If he's not lifting in the gym, he's probably running a trail in Colorado or playing video games.


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