With the cold winter approaching, gains are the order of the day! So if you are looking to pack muscle onto your entire body, and your legs of course, then the 20 rep squat workout is for you.


At first glance, you are probably wondering how a squat-focussed workout is going to help you build muscle on your entire body, right? Well, let me explain. Squats are known as a one of the big power moves of bodybuilding, and for good reason. When executed in breathing style, this monster lift will do a whole lot more than just encourage leg growth. Because of these beast’s ability to increase the production of the potent anabolic hormones IGF-1, growth hormone and testosterone, overall growth can be achieved.  The 20 rep squat workout is nothing new; it has been around in one form or another for decades. Back when John McCullum invented this program, it was common to see athletes gain 5kgs in a matter of weeks, plus gains in excess of 7 centimetres around their chest.

In fact, it was said that this program helped to increase upper body size by 10-15%. So who said a squat program would not help with overall gains? This workout is all about pushing yourself to the limits and seeing what you are really made of. One caution before you start, because you use your maximum weight for the full 20 reps, form can suffer and injuries can occur if it does. So start off slowly (ish) and work your way up! Also, make sure that you have a good workout partner who can spot you along the way. Believe me, you are going to need it.


Basically, you perform a set of squats with a weight which you would fail by your 12th rep, then you take a few deep breaths and continue to squat until you reach 20 reps. You can breath as many times as you want between reps but you cannot put the bar down. The goal is to increase the weight by at least 5kgs every week or two. The key is to add more weight with each passing week. If done correctly, this workout can help you to make crazy gains, especially on the back, chest and of course, legs.


Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Squat 1 20 0 sec
Machine Shoulder Press 3 12 90 sec
Barbell Bench Press 3 12 90 sec
Seated Row 3 15 90 sec
Stiff-leg Deadlift 2 12 60 sec
Pullover 2 20 90 sec


This workout should be done 2-3 times a week if you want to see serious gains in muscle. For the experienced lifter, Monday, Wednesday and Friday is a good option but for beginners or those who can’t recover quickly, then performing this workout on a Monday and Thursday will be good enough. Because of the sheer intensity of this workout, it is advised to ensure that you are in a calorie surplus with a high protein and carbohydrate intake. Remember, nothing fuels gains quite like the right nutrition! This routine is probably still one of the best hypertrophy and strength routines out there and despite its simple methodology, the 20 rep squat workout will test your mental toughness, fuel strength gains and force your body to grow. So if you seem to be stagnating in the gym, or are considering a winter-time bulk, then I would definitely encourage you to give this old-school workout a go.

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