The Myths Behind Super Squats by Randall J. Strossen

| March 1, 2014 by Truth Seeker |

Many authors of strength literature present the barbell back squat as the most effective exercise for a natural bodybuilder. Consequently, the majority of the training programs written for beginners are built around the back squat. This may be the current trend, but the idea that squats produce quick and extraterrestrial hypertrophy within the body of a natural lifter goes back many years.

In 1989, Ironmind Enterprises published the book Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks by Randall J. Strossen (Ph.D.). The material presented a way to gain an enormous amount of muscle mass in a little over a month (six weeks) by doing the following exercises: squats, press behind the neck, bench press, pullover, barbell rows and stiff legged deadlifts. The heart of the program was, of course, the squat and more precisely the breathing squat.

“Breathing” stands for taking a breath in between repetitions. The trainee is supposed to inhale and exhale deeply after a repetition is completed.


The squat hits the back and legs. Since those muscles groups form a large portion of the human musculature, the cardiovascular system of the trainee is put to a tremendous test too.

Performing breathing squats for high repetitions (15+) is so hard that people refer to the exercise as “widowmakers”. The idea is that squats done for high repetitions are so painful and tough that they can actually result in death and leave someone a widow.

The original program outlined by Randall J. Strossen in his book Super Squats is based on one set of breathing squats for 20 repetitions and looks like that:

Exercise

Sets and Repetitions

Press behind the neck

3 x 12

Squat super-setted with pullover

1 x 20

Bench press

3 x 12

Barbell Row

3 x 15

Stiff legged deadlift

1 x 15

Pullover

1 x 20

The program is done 2-3 times a week. If all reps are completed, more weight is added to the bar.

Note: High rep squats are dangerous because more often than not the form of the lifter is atrocious during the final reps.

While breathing squats are the core, the nutritional aspect is covered by the consumption of milk.

In the book Super Squats, Randall J. Strossen presented a training principal originally elaborated by Joseph Curtis Hise:

heavy breathing squats + healthy food + milk + rest = incredible growth of muscle volume and strength.”

This is why natural bodybuilders are advised to consume about a gallon of milk a day to grow. While this old-school talk sounds delicious and wonderful, there is more to the story. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is part of a carefully elaborated marketing strategy designed to convince the individual to buy a product and/or an idea. To understand why the results presented in the book Super Squats by Strossen are over-exaggerated, to say the least, we have to debunk a few popular myths.

MYTH: SQUATS STIMULATE AND INCREASE THE NATURAL PRODUCTION OF TESTOSTERONE IN THE HUMAN BODY.

The notion that squats and deadlifts increase the natural production of testosterone is supported by many experts. Unfortunately, it’s false. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that the testosterone released after a heavy set of squats or deadlifts is worth looking into as far as muscle hypertrophy is concerned. Here’s one study which actually proves otherwise: {source}

In brief, worrying about slight hormone fluctuations that might give you a .01% benefit is pointless and a detour away from your initial goal and possible success.

MYTH: CONSUMING AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF PROTEIN AND CALORIES (OVEREATING) STIMULATES EXTRA MUSCLE GROWTH

People like Randall J. Strossen, Mark Rippetoe, Pavel Tsatsouline and Marty Gallagher promote overeating as a way to build a lot of muscle mass. Unfortunately, past a certain threshold, the extra food does not result in extra muscle growth. Everything extra is stored as fat cells.

In the past, Mark Rippetoe was a heavy supporter of overeating. According to him, beginners and advanced lifters should consume between 4,000 and 6,000 calories a day to get big and strong. Just type “starting strength before and after” in a search engine, click on images, and you will witness the atrocities that this plan has produced.

In conclusion

Super Squats by Randall J. Strossen may sound like a great book, but the results are over-hyped to the point where the whole thing seems like a marketing gimmick. The body can only build so much muscle naturally. You cannot break the natural limits simply by exercising in a specific fashion. Even if you vomit during your squats or even collapse, you will not break the natty chains.

In this case, the extra pain does come with extra muscle mass. Moreover, you will probably get fat and experience stomach problems if you drink that much milk. My advice is to stop looking for shortcuts and just train in a more conservative fashion. At the end of the day, however, the choice is yours.

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3 comments

  1. Rick bolten

    This workout is taken from the old 1940’s Squats and Milk workout . I do not wholeheartedly agree with your view on testosterone increase or excess protein consumption .I do agree with your opinion that yes breathing squats can be dangerous. I would like to point out that his instructions in the book can lead to injury and /or burnout. there is a proper method to building up to the 20 rep breathing squats that are not shown. As with many of the reproduced “old timers” workouts much is left out and discarded for example what is now out there as Hackenschmidts workout , the routine used by Marvin Eder, Reg Parks , Dan Luries methods all compromised by greed and a quick sell and though may contain part of the workout it does not include all and the whys hows and explainations of methods

    1. Rick

      Yes with the exception of the diet. It does work, you will put on size without a doubt I just did not need the amount of calories he recommended as I am a meso/endomorph and need to watch the smoothing out, I did have advice from “old timers” who knew the original routine from the days of Grimek and Marvin Eder also used it. What is written here is not the exact routine in the book and also the book leaves a few things out.

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