Are High Reps Squats The Ultimate Mass Builder For Naturals Or Medieval Torture

In order for a plan to work and give you the desired results it has to satisfy specific requirements set by the physical laws of this world. Just like a door, every goal requires a separate unique key. You may have 100 keys, all of them based on similar principles, but if you don’t have the right one, the door will remain closed. Question is, are high rep squats the key unlocking extra-terrestrial muscle growth?

High rep squats come with many lessons. They are tough and will definitely test your mental and physical capacity. Still, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that you need a third testicle to do 20 rep squat workouts, which is a false belief that permabulkers and their coaches have been using to infect many naive beginners.

The stress on your system during high rep squatting is tremendous, and the whole time you are fighting the built-in break in your brain that wants you to quit and avoid self-destruction. Another great bonus of high rep squats, and training hard in general, is that for a short period of time you are forced to live entirely in the moment like an animal instead of planning and thinking what will happen next in your life. It’s a form of meditation.

Sadly, even all of this does not make people, who present high rep squatting as the road to Muscleville, right. If anything, those guys need a reality check because the majority of their fellow tribesmen consists of overweight individuals – not to be confused with muscular human beings. Sorry.

Are High Reps and The Pump The Key To Muscular Growth?


A quick google search reveals that the mainstream sites are presenting 20 rep squats as a sick muscle builder.

Think for a second. Why would high reps of any kind equal extreme otherworldly muscular growth for naturals to begin with? There are plenty of delusional people who get absolutely insane pump in the gym, while drinking a mixture of protein and creatine, and yet they remain small f-o-r-e-v-er. Why is that? I thought Arnold’s routine from that encyclopedia was supposed to make you huge. Why isn’t it working so well? Where are the naturals with 19 inch arms? Come on, the answer is easy.

By the way, most mainstream bodybuilding routines actually include a lot of volume when it comes to the lower body, but even with it we aren’t seeing naturals’ legs explode.

Second, what’s so special about squats that other lower body exercises cannot achieve?

The squat is certainly a very good compound exercise, but in its core you will not find some sort of muscle building mechanism that a combination of other closed chain leg exercises cannot provide. The same 20 rep routine could very well be done on a leg press machine. I know that many of the hardcore squat fans are already fighting their desire to break the monitor, but please calm down and think logically for a moment. Your legs don’t know whether you are squatting or leg pressing. It’s your brain telling them. Therefore, the stress on the muscle cells during different compound exercises involving similar joint patterns should not be the deciding factor whether you grow or not.

The reason why 20 rep squats are much harder than 20 rep leg presses is that you have a bar on your back constantly compressing your spine. It takes more effort to stay upright and maintain proper position. However, I don’t think this element of the exercise is what makes people grow either.

I know there are mentally sick individuals who believe that the bar on top of you during squats makes the body release some of that mythical pre-death testosterone, but at the end of the day there is not much evidence supporting this claim, and even if it was true, the extra testosterone would come in super small quantities, insufficient to change your visual appearance. So, you squat for 5 minutes each week. Cool, but how much extra test do you think this will produce?

The Two Sides Of The Brain

The brain has two sides – left and right, or at least that’s what the “experts” say. The right part of the brain is responsible for your emotions and creative ideas while the left side loves brute logic and rationality. People use too much of their right brain when it comes to high reps squats. Instead of judging the exercise critically, the intensity and the macho nonsense coming from the gurus lure people into believing that miracles happen when you squat heavy for reps.

There are times when thr voice of your emotions has to be turned down in order to get ahead in the game. Examples of this could be found everywhere. The most popular one would, of course, be love. Countless individuals have done very stupid things in the name of love that actually hurt them tremendously.

Back in high school I had a friend who was a spoiled boy, but a very kind person nevertheless. He had a girlfriend that was a total bitch. She was not pretty, smart or good and used to dress terribly. As you can expect this girl was using the poor candy boy for everything. I know for certain that one time he stayed in the cold for 4 hours while she was taking some extra lessons at school. Stupid, unneeded and crazy, right? Ironically, this same bitch used to actually like other boys and believe it or not I was included in the group. I don’t know what happened afterwards because they were still together after the end our high school experience. However, the boy was definitely taken. He badly needed some brain left activation to balance out his overpowering right side.

Another funnier example I can give you is the time when a mother and her child stole my phone. I was in the park skating while my backpack with my phone inside was on a bench. Around me were a mother and her little son. The kid was barely walking – probably 4 years old. He wanted to test my skateboard and I helped him slide around a little. Meanwhile his mother stole my phone from my backpack. They didn’t look like homeless people or anything like that. She had one those bitch tattoos on her ankle too. Since they were a mother and a kid, my guard was down, and I didn’t judge the situation properly. In case you are wondering, the phone was a brick but a nice one – Nokia 1100 with a flashlight. It was not even my phone actually. It was the one of my mother, which was another problem.

So, what do I do? A stupid thing that I wouldn’t do today – I called the police from a street phone working coins. I was very upset and told the operator that I probably don’t have enough coins for a long conversation. She said: “You don’t have time, because you are talking nonsense. If you shut the fuck up and write down what I am telling you, you will have time.” She was right, but man what a bitch.

I am not saying that emotions are your enemy and that we should all be robots that only care about profits and sales, but clouded feelings can definitely play a trick on you and force you to believe in things that are just not real. You have to draw the line somewhere and stop the music in order to hear your real thoughts.

It’s the same with high rep squats – I honestly believe that due to our messed up attitude towards the exercise, it has become something that takes a lot from you without giving you back the promised results. For me, high rep squats a bit like an overhyped snobbish product that is not really different than its rivals.


  1. Alan

    You didn’t give any suggestion’s about what your should replace the high rep squats with. I’m sure you would have given some stupid idea. High rep squats are GREAT….and even though they are hard, they are also SIMPLE.

  2. Mikey

    A lot of good points. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Theres a lot of zombie lifting out there and we all need to be reminded every so often to think about what we are doing. I never did get different results between high and low rep squats. I mainly stick with 6-12 but I do 15-25 sometimes because of some routine I came across that said it will help eke out more growth hormone. I may stop doing the high reps now. Whats weird is that my legs grow very well using three quarter squats. Everyone says ATG but I found that only makes the ass and hips bigger and Im after Steve Reeves body (the man with no ass) and not just haphazard size. Thats fine if you want raw size and for athletic reasons but its like doing double the work for no difference on the thighs and can place strain on knees and other body parts depending on how youre built. I would like to see you guys write an article about if there is really any significant difference in squatting ATG versus half and three quarter squatting, risks associated with ATG.

  3. cliff graves

    High rep squats do it. When you cannot do one more rep static hold in position. When you perform 40 reps or more and hit failure then you know and will be converted…..I was

    1. joe santus

      As a 60-yr-old lifelong PED-free who’s been using free-weight compound movements as the core of my routines for my forty-five years of bodybuilding, barbell squats have always been my base leg movement.

      I currently include squat sets of twenty to twenty-five regularly, sometimes going as high as thirty-five or forty reps (not as lighter-poundage “breathing squats” but using as much weight as I can handle).

      However…”twenty-and-more reps” squat sets has never been any more effective for building my leg mass than doing sets of five to eight reps is. In fact, I built 90% of my leg mass using those lower-rep sets, when I was in my age twenties.

      Higher rep sets no doubt have a more “conditioning” effect on the overall body; and, since less poundage must be used for twenty+ reps than for six reps, the strain upon the spine will be reduced; but, for building leg mass, the average-gened drug-free guy is not going to get any better results from high-rep than from low rep squats by the time four consecutive years of consistent progressive training have elapsed.

      Think of the logic…if high rep squats “do it” for every drug-free (assuming “do it” means “builds mass”), then why limit it to forty rep sets? Shouldn’t you be aiming for 80-rep sets? Why not 100 rep sets?

      I suspect one advantage which high-rep sets may have for some is that they tend to motivate to doing the one thing most essential for getting optimal results from squats: pushing onesself. Squats are grueling and can feel almost threatening, so, people tend to hold back from using quite enough poundage and/or doing that seventh or eighth rep. So, using a little lighter poundage but focusing on that “special” number of twenty or more reps can have the psychological effect of inducing a person to finally exert more intensity in their squats — and it’s the intensity of those final reps, whether an eighth rep with heavier or a twentieth rep with a lesser poundage, which stimulates growth toward genetic limits.

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