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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 12-25-2010, 05:54 PM   #1
Jordan K Smith
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20 rep back squat

so today for the first time in my life i back squatted for 20x1. i used 185 (305 was my last 1 rep max a few months ago). given my pretty weak squat plus my lanky build (6'2" w/ some looong femurs)i expected to be be pretty rough, but it absolutely wrecked me. i planned on getting in some pressing and a short wod after, but i was so beat up even after 10 minutes of rest that all i got in was 60 burpees and they were pretty damn slow. is this typical with people first doing 20 reps of back squat? i feel like such a *****.
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Old 12-25-2010, 06:48 PM   #2
Wayne Riddle
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Re: 20 rep back squat

"Trust me, if you do an honest 20 rep program, at some point Jesus will talk to you. On the last day of the program, he asked if he could work in." - Rip
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Old 12-25-2010, 06:54 PM   #3
Robert Fabsik
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Re: 20 rep back squat

Your experience is not unique at all to hard all out 20 rep squatting. When I did some old HIT workouts, we'd start out with 20 rep squats followed by 15 rep stifflegged deadlifts then upper body work. Often times after the squat, I'd have to lay down for a couple of minutes before moving on. With time this improved.

Some say you should go all out your first time doing 20 rep squats, the old suggestion take you 10RM max in the squat and do 20 reps. Other recommend working in to it over a couple of weeks.

You could either back off a little bit and focus on your other work (mini WODS, strength work), or you could just focus on the squat until you metabollicaly adjust and slowly add on the other stuff.

I'd stick with the squat first unless you are still wiped out the next couple of days or if your body took its toll from it (feeling aches/pains/minor injuries), but it depends on what your goals are. Getting in the groove with these really builds confidence.
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:14 PM   #4
Eric Montgomery
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Re: 20 rep back squat

Yes, the first time won't be fun and it won't get any easier as the weight starts to increase.

I started with it the way CF OneWorld suggested, by subtracting 80lbs from my 5RM then doing it twice a week with 5lb jumps each time. I didn't have a recent 5RM so I think I started a little low which made it somewhat more manageable, but by the time I got up to 275x20 in week 5 or 6 I wanted to cry blood after each set. Reps 17-20 start to get real interesting.
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:49 PM   #5
Jordan K Smith
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Re: 20 rep back squat

cool, thanks for the replies. my 5RM is either 250 or 255 so i got it rpetty close, maybe a little heavy. i'm not having aches or pains. i'm feeling much better though a little drained.


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but by the time I got up to 275x20 in week 5 or 6 I wanted to cry blood after each set. Reps 17-20 start to get real interesting.
i bet!!! great work though, thats beast. what's your 1RM? i've read articles about 20x1 routines and about how reps 10 to 20 are pretty spaced out with the bar just sitting on your back between reps and may take a little while to get though. but after rep 15, it was not as much worried about my legs giving out as i was about by upper body so i felt like i had to get through those last 5 quick or else i'd be bailing. the whole set went pretty quick.
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:13 PM   #6
Eric Montgomery
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Re: 20 rep back squat

I started with a 1RM of roughly 340 and guessed that my 5RM was about 305, so I started with 225x20. After 5 weeks I'd gotten up to 275x20, then switched to a few weeks of Texas Method to get ready for a PL meet. At the meet two weeks ago I put up 380 without too much struggle, but the first time I tried to go with 1RMs after the 20-rep program my form was fairly ugly because I was used to 20-rep weight on my back, not 1RM weight. My CNS re-adapted fairly quickly though.

The good news is that as your body adapts, it won't feel much more difficult as you go along. In other words my 255x20 didn't feel any harder than 225x20, plus my form felt more practiced by the time I got there. You will feel the extra poundage after the sets though.
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
Sean Lind
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Re: 20 rep back squat

20 Rep Squats are called Widow Makers ;-)
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Old 12-26-2010, 07:21 PM   #8
Chris Mason
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Re: 20 rep back squat

You should allocate a separate session for your 20 rep squat day. If you do it right you will be totally spent and pretty much worthless for any lower body work.
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:21 PM   #9
Jason Wallis
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Re: 20 rep back squat

Just out of the blue, I decided to squat 275x20... once. I finished the set, and would have cried if there hadn't been girls in the gym.
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:42 PM   #10
Karl Steeves
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Re: 20 rep back squat

I love squatting, I have incorporated front and back squats into my 5/3/1 cycle and do them each week. If for some reason I miss a week cycle (like this week because of a sinus infection mon-wed) I will work heavy sets of 5 then follow up by sets of 1 and 2 until I'm done. I fully appreciate the squat.

I've done 20 rep maxes as well, and they are NOT fun. That is the only time I've ever came close to puking. They are just brutal, not fun, and I look like a crying wimpy little kid at rep 13.

The question I'm curious about though, is what exactly exactly do 20 rep squat maxes do in the realm of fitness? Does it have any carryover to 5, 3 or 1 rep max strength, or is it just a conditioning endurance tool? I always felt my legs were shot a day or two after doing a 20 rep max, but besides it feeling like it hurt, did it do anything for performance?
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