2 Day Squat Workout For Improved Size & Strength

2 Day Squat Workout For Improved Size & Strength
No more weak and small legs. This squat specialization program will have you hammering your wheels twice a week, bringing up both your leg size and squat strength.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
8 weeks
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

I've always been a powerbuilder at heart. I love to chase after muscle size, and have the sheer strength to back it up.

If you're like me, then you may want to give this squat workout a try. It's not a program for beginners. If you can squat using 225 or more for reps, then give this a try.

The program involves two leg/squat workouts a week. It fits best within an upper/lower split or a body part split. If using a body part split, you may want to consider the following template:

  • Monday - Leg Workout #1
  • Tuesday - Chest and Arms
  • Thursday - Leg Workout #2
  • Friday - Back and Shoulders

There are many ways to structure your training, so if this split doesn't appeal to you, utilize something that does.

Keep in mind that this is a squat and leg specialization routine. Training is split into 2 workouts for a reason. For maximum effectiveness they should not be combined.

When using an upper/lower split that involves deadlifts, I suggest performing deadlifts first before moving on to squat and leg training. You don't want to attempt deadlifts when your legs feel like rubber. Get them out of the way and move on.

Squat Workout Notes

1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ Squats. Start with a weight that is about 75% of your one rep max. You will use this same weight for all 5 sets.

Perform a single rep set, rest 2-4 minutes, then perform a 2 rep set with the same weight. Continue using the same rest period between sets.

When you reach your final set, perform as many reps as you comfortably can. Don't push until failure. When you feel your exercise form start to slip, or feel like you might fail on the next rep, stop the set.

When you are able to perform 7 or more reps on this set, add 5 pounds to the bar the next time you perform the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ protocol.

12 & 20 Rep Squat Sets. Take your 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ weight and drop it by 12.5%. Use this for your 12 rep set. If you can't complete 12 total reps, move on. Hitting the rep goal isn't as important as trying.

Next, drop the weight by an additional 12.5% and attempt a 20 rep set of squats.

Here is an example. Let's say you are using 300 pounds for your 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ sets. Workout #1 would look like this:

  • 300 pounds x 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ reps
  • 265 pounds x 12 reps (minus about 12.5%, rounded up)
  • 225 pounds x 20 reps (minus an additional 12.5%)

Paused Squats. Once in the hole of the squat, count one thousand one, and then complete the rep. Perform this pause during every rep.

Paused squats are deceptively brutal. You have been warned.

Standing Calf Raises. You will want to use straps for this. Hold a barbell in front of you, like you were about to shrug, and perform calf raises. Go as heavy as possible.

Adding Weight. Add weight when you can for these exercises. Progressive overload drives muscle and strength gains.

Workout #1
Squats and Legs Routine
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+
High Rep Squats 2 12, 20
Leg Curls 5 12
Seated Calf Raises 4 15-20
Workout #2
Squats and Legs Routine
Exercise Sets Reps
Paused Squats 4 5
Leg Press 4 20
Romanian Deadlifts 4 5
Standing Barbell Calf Raises 4 5-8

20 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 02/24/2019 - 13:34

I just completed week 8. I started my percentage of 1 rep max at 315, which was a hard one rep. I went from working with 235 (75 percent of 315) to 270 the last week. On my 5 plus set with 270 i completed 10 reps. Awesome progress. I cut out the 20 rep sets after week 5 as i was so fatigued from the 12 rep sets. Paused squats werent hard but what percentage of 1 rep max was i supposed to start with 50? It was too easy and i added 10lbs each week. If i only completed 270 for 7 reps that would have been just a 9lb increase in my one rep max (to 324). Based on a legitimate calculator i went to a projected one rep max of 360. Thats 45lbs!

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Posted Thu, 12/04/2014 - 21:53
Bill Hadley

leg workout

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Posted Sun, 03/02/2014 - 18:53

need more squats

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Posted Sat, 01/04/2014 - 00:44

Just started this workout yestetday felt great also did same rep/sets with deadlift today also felt great

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Posted Tue, 12/10/2013 - 00:40

hey steve,
do we have to stay down for a count of 1001 per rep on d paused squats at 50% of our 1RM.

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Posted Mon, 11/18/2013 - 19:11

sir am power lifter now am doing practice with out coach for all india competition please give me the schedule to improve loads in 45days

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Posted Wed, 11/13/2013 - 05:35

steve i realy feel!thnx

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Posted Mon, 11/11/2013 - 10:24

I've just started this workout today and I have to say the 7 sets of squats are brutal especially the 20 rep one.

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Posted Sat, 03/21/2015 - 22:48

Agreed! I only had 155 on for the set of 20 but it was killer!

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Posted Sat, 11/09/2013 - 08:47

Nice approach... I do a two day a week leg workout as well. With w/o 1 I hit the fast and slow twitch fibers really good. I hit back n bi's day two, Chest and tri's day 3, day four is rest and day five is leg day #2 and with it I rotate between 2 volume squat routines.... One is for a count of 100 reps and the other is sets of at least 2 and try for 3 reps starting with 10 seconds of rest.. Once I have a problem with the 2nd rep I up the rest in 10 second intervals. both of these I put 30 minute time limits on them. I do core training after for another 20 to 40 minutes depending.

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Posted Wed, 11/06/2013 - 06:01

Hi Steve.
Going to gym from last 8 months and my goal is to keep my body weight medium according to my BMI. Please suggest a good workout which give me fitness and strength.

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Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 08:28

Hi Steve,
I've been doing 3 full-body workouts a week for a while now (Mon, Weds, Fri) On Monday's we start with 1x20 reps of squats, 3x5 deadlifts on Weds and 3x5 of squats on Friday's. The high rep squats are by far the harder and 1 set is plenty especially when you're at a weight that challenges you. Don't know that I'm brave enough to try the paused squats as it would no doubt mean removing weight from the bar and I've worked hard to get what weight I have on the bar up to this point. One day maybe. . .

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Posted Sun, 11/03/2013 - 20:13

I've always read to do squats before deadlifts, since you dont want to be squatting (specially heavily) with a tired lower back/back in it's entirety for that matter. What are your thoughts regarding this specific line of thought?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 09:42

The opposite is true in this case. Being a leg specialization program, you don't want to deadlift while extremely fatigued.

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Posted Sun, 11/03/2013 - 16:07

Hi Steve,
I have read most of your articles and appreciate your work. For the Paused Squats do you have a suggestion for a loading parameter? The barbell calf raises sound interesting. Do you suggest doing them from the floor or having a plate or block under the balls of your feet?
Thank you for your time.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 09:41

Hi Nelson,

I would start with about 50% of your max on paused squats and go from there.

For the calf raises, floor or a board no more than an inch in height. You will be using a lot of weight on thie exercise so you want them somewhat stable.

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Posted Fri, 09/08/2017 - 14:03

Just a little clarification guys, on the 1,2,3,4,5+ portion on the 5 rep set are you supposed to push for the 7 or more reps or is this an additional set after the 5 reps set to try and hit 7 reps? Thanks

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Posted Sat, 11/02/2013 - 09:14

Looks like an interesting approach. Had been looking for a new split leg workout. Will definitely be incorporating this into workouts. ThAnks.

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 11/02/2013 - 18:02

Good luck.

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Posted Wed, 12/18/2013 - 12:50
Jo cote

Hi steve, i was wondering about the paused squats. Under 90 degree u stop and wait for 2-3 sec?