When we think about the history of the Olympics, it always seems like there are two powerhouses winning medals every day. One of these is America while the other is Russia. Russia has always been on the cutting edge of sports performance programs. In other words, they are fast and strong and have been for a long time. While some of their methods have recently been under scrutiny for good reasons for example steroids and other performance enhancers. One of their training programs that has caught on in other parts of the world that is tried and true (and legal) is what’s known as The Russian Squat Program.
The Russian Squat Program has been used by numerous athletes from all levels to improve leg strength. Olympic lifters have used this program in tandem with their Olympic lifting programs for years. The program which lasts 6 weeks, has been proven to increase a lifters one rep max squat by at least 5%. Considering how long the program lasts in comparison to others, its no wonder athletes have turned to this program. The program starts out with 9 sessions progressively increasing volume with 80% of your max. The next 9 sessions taper down the volume but increases progressively in weight until you are squatting above your max.
Obviously after reading this you’ll realize this program is not for the feint of heart. It requires 3 days of squatting per week. If you are new to strength training, it is demanding. There are some prerequisites to the program as well. First of all, make sure your squat form is as perfect as possible. It is pointless to squat with bad form for 6 weeks. If you squat with bad form on a lighter weight, it’s only going to be worse when you get to the heavier weights. Another prerequisite is that you know how to recover properly. The frequency of training sessions during this program is probably the toughest part of it. Squatting at or above 80% of your max 3 times a week for 6 weeks will take its toll. Proper sleep, nutrition, recovery, mobility, etc. is absolutely necessary so you don’t get burned out.
Don’t let these negatives affect your opinions about this program. It will make you stronger, jump higher, run faster. It will make your legs leaner and more athletic. Use your discretion and be smart about your training. Adjust the numbers if you must. It will be tough but it will be worth it. Follow the link to get your own personalized Russian Squat Program!
Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.
pc: Victor Freitas @victorfreitas