High rep squats are tough and will definitely test your mental and physical capacities. Still, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that you need a third testicle to do a 20-rep squat routine. This is a false belief that the permabulkers and their coaches have been using to infect many naive beginners.
The stress on your system during high rep squatting is tremendous. 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 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. They are a form of meditation.
Are High Reps and The Pump The Key To Muscular Growth?
Think for a second. Why would high reps equal extreme muscular growth? There are plenty of delusional people who get an absolutely insane pump in the gym, and yet they remain small f-o-r-e-v-er. Why is that? I thought Arnold’s routine from the 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 include a lot of lower body volume, but even with it, natural’s legs are not that impressive, especially in a lean condition.
Second, what’s so special about squats?
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 movements cannot provide. The same 20-rep routine could 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.
The reason why 20-rep squats are 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 that this element of the exercise results in extra leg growth.
I know that 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. Even if this is true, the extra testosterone would come in small quantities insufficient to change your visual appearance.
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 whereas the left side loves brute logic and rationality.
People use too much of their right brain when it comes to high rep 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.
There are times when the voice of your emotions has to be turned down to get ahead in the game. Examples are found everywhere. The most popular would, of course, be love. Countless individuals have done very stupid things in the name of love.
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 dressed terribly. As you can expect, this girl was treating the boy poorly. One time he stayed in the cold for 4 hours while she was taking some extra lessons at school. Stupid, unneeded and crazy, right? The boy was definitely taken. He badly needed some left brain activation to balance out his overpowering right side.
Another example that I can give you is the time when a mother and her child stole my phone. I was in the park skating. My backpack was on a bench with my phone in it. A mother and her little son were playing in the same park. The kid was barely walking – probably 3 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. 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.
So, what did I do? A stupid thing that I wouldn’t do today – I called the police. A waste of time.
I am not saying that we should become robots that only care about profits and sales, but clouded feelings can definitely trick you into accepting things that aren’t real. You have to draw the line somewhere and stop the music to hear your real thoughts.
It’s the same with high rep squats – 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. To me, high rep squats are an overhyped snobbish product.
High Rep squats are brutal.
I use them to burn fat when cutting.
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.
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.
Squats are overrated!
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
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.
What a COP calling BOZO ! I wonder why high rep squats are a ” overlyhyped snobbish product” ? Were they too hard for you.., HA HA what a tool !