Best sets/reps for squats?

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robbowales
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2008/08/03 11:27:54 (permalink)

Best sets/reps for squats?

I'm debating wether to stick with 3x8 or try 4x6 for my squats. I've read in places that legs tend to respond to higher reps or maybe its just personal preference?

Just wondering what most people do for squatting sets/reps? What results they have got from it (being a bigginer like me) and what i would be best doing bearing in mind my legs are the lagging part of my body at the moment. (I'm currently squatting about 85kg for 8 reps on the Smith Machine at the moment).
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    RE: Best sets/reps for squats? 2008/08/03 11:41:24 (permalink)
    In all honesty you'll not notice any difference from doing 4x6 or 3x8. The weight will be slightly higher in the lower rep range and the total volume of the workout will be slightly higher but in terms of a hypertrophic response, negligible.

    It's personal preference which one of the two rep ranges you choose but if you really want to change things around, try a set of 20 rep squats with your 10RM or reduce the reps to triples and do 6-8 sets.

    Actually scratch that. I've just noticed you say you're a beginner. Coupled with the fact you're squatting in a Smith Machine, I'd say increase the reps rather than decrease them for now.

    Also, you state your legs are the lagging bodypart at the moment. Being a beginner by your own admission, I'd go so far to say that your whole body will be lagging rather than just a specific bodypart so don't get too caught up in the intricacies of weak bodyparts just yet.
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    robbowales
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    RE: Best sets/reps for squats? 2008/08/03 11:53:05 (permalink)
    Thanks for the advice. Well yes you could say all my body is 'lagging' as i've not been weight training for that long (2 years i believe, but not really on any kind of routine or diet for too long) I only said my legs might be the lagging part as ive trained harder on upper body and neglected my legs somewhat.

    My current leg session looks like this:

    Squats 3x8
    SLDL 3x8
    Lunges 3x8
    Calf Raises 3x15

    With the right form would this be enough for them to grow do you think?
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    RE: Best sets/reps for squats? 2008/08/03 12:04:00 (permalink)
    For what it's worth, your routine minus the Calf Raises is exactly what I've been doing recently, but with different sets/reps, so it gets my seal of approval. As a lower body routine that's a very good balance. How long have you been doing it for though?
    With any routine, continued linear progression, i.e. consistently adding weight to the bar, will diminish after a period of time. To overcome this adjusting sets/reps/exercises/grip/foot position, etc can lead to further gains.

    Squats can be changed to Front Squats.
    SLDL can be changed to single-leg SLDL with dumbbells
    Lunges can be changed to Reverse Lunges, Clock Lunges (both with dumbbells) or Split Squats (dumbbells or Smith Machine)
    Calf Raises can be changed to Seated Calf Raises - either in the Smith Machine or with a dummbell on each knee, providing it's heavy enough.

    Reps can be increased to anything up to 20 reps for Squats and Calf Raises, and 10-15 reps for SLDL and Lunges.

    And if available, you could always cycle in Leg Pressing instead of Squatting if there's sufficient weight available.


    With good form, incorporating progressive overload, and sufficient calories, then YES, this will be enough to make them grow.

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    robbowales
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    RE: Best sets/reps for squats? 2008/08/03 12:18:45 (permalink)
    Thanks, you really do know your stuff :) Nice to hear some advice of someone who knows what they are on about.

    Ive been doing that routine for about 4 weeks now, i got to say im happy with it too so might just persist with 3x8 for the time being, then as you said adjust the sets/reps/exercises after a period of time.

    Would it matter if say after 8 weeks i increase the reps but decrease the weight for the squats? Obviously your far more advanced but if you was in my shoes what rep/set ranges would you be doing for squats? Im just curious!
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    RE: Best sets/reps for squats? 2008/08/03 14:07:56 (permalink)
    For hypertrophy only, the weight on the bar is not the overriding factor, so a reduction in weight may not be detrimental to growth. However, the same rules apply, i.e. add weight to the bar when able otherwise progress will be minimal.

    There is no ideal set/rep scheme for any exercise or muscle group. There probably is an ideal one for you and the challenge is discovering that. For squats I've tried doubles, triples and everything inbetween up to 20 rep sets and I will continue to change according to what stage in my training routine I'm at.

    I know you'd prefer a more definitive answer but that's unfortunately not possible. But for some direction, I'll say:
    3x8 as you're doing until progress stops
    3x8-12 for at least 6 weeks
    Read up on 20 rep squats, try them for 4 weeks and see how you get on but ensure you use an appropriate weight.
    Back to 3x8 but now with a heavier weight than you're using now.

    That's half a year taken care of so post up again and by that time you'll hopefully be training somewhere with a squat rack then the real fun begins!!!

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    RE: Best sets/reps for squats? 2008/08/03 22:18:41 (permalink)
    Thanks again. Do you have the link to that 20 rep squats article?
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    RE: Best sets/reps for squats? 2008/08/03 22:39:09 (permalink)
    Here's a few to keep you going:

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/irontamer5.htm
    http://www.musclenet.com/20repsquat.htm

    and a great MT thread from back when I joined:
    http://www.muscletalk.co.uk/Old_skool_20_rep_squat_routine/m_140506/tm.htm

    20 Rep Squats isn't so much a routine, it's just another way of doing a set of squats. Essentially you're using your true 10RM and performing 20 reps with it. But as it's your 10RM you clearly can't just bang out 20 reps. If you could you'd be using your 20RM. No, you use your 10RM and you grind your way to 20 reps without reracking the bar at any stage. There's a lot of pausing between reps, a lot of standing up resting the bar on your back and a whole lot more heavy breathing. There's also a fair amount of questioning why the fcuk you decided to even try doing 20 reps!!

    It's difficult, but then squatting at the correct intensity is difficult. This is just another way of doing things.

    There's also a very crazy routine I only managed 3 sessions of until I came up some kind of excuse not to continue. Squatting for time rather than reps. Starting off with 90 seconds of squatting and adding something like 30 seconds per week until you reach an 8 minute set. I'll try and dig up the link but it's definitely one to bank in the "Must try one day" box of routines
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