30 Minute Workout to Strengthen Your Squat Game

30 Minute Workout to Strengthen Your Squat Game

So you’re looking to get a great 30-minute leg workout in while improving your squat form? It may seem impossible to achieve this in one quick workout, however, the following workout plan is meant to help in this specific situation. This workout is going to consist of 10 sets of 10 squats.

That’s it.

It sounds simple and really difficult all at the same time. However, performed correctly this workout is very effective and efficient.

The Warm-up: Sets 1 and 2

  • Begin this workout by loading very lightweight on to the bar and completing 10 squat reps. Keep in mind that you are going to be pyramiding up in weight by 20 lbs. per set until set 5, so choose a weight that will allow you to easily complete the 10 reps using perfect form and rep speed.
  • Once you finish the first set, rest 60 seconds and load 10 lbs. to each side of the bar.
  • Complete your second set of 10 reps.
  • On these first two sets concentrate on improving any weaknesses that you may be trying to fix.
  • If you typically lean forward too much, concentrate on keeping your weight on your heels.
  • If you typically slouch your back a bit, concentrate on keeping the natural arch in it.  If you, like most people, don’t go to parallel, try going to parallel on both sets.

The Buildup: Sets 3 and 4

  • Once you complete the seconds set, again rest for 60 seconds while you load the bar with 10-15 more pounds on each side for the third set. By now you are starting to warm-up and are starting to approach weights that are a bit more challenging, but you should be far from fatigued.
  • Again focus on keeping your form perfect while you are still using a weight that is a bit lower than you typically would use for a 10 rep set.
  • Once you finish set 3, rest again, add 10 – 15 lbs. per side, and repeat.

The Top: Sets 5 and 6

  • Upon finishing your fourth set, add 10 lbs. to each side. This is the last time that you will be adding weight; the weight remains the same for sets 5 and 6, then begins decreasing with set 7.
  • The weight on the bar now should be slightly less than your typical 10 rep max.
  • Rest periods should increase from 1 minute to 2 minutes for these two sets.

These sets are the most challenging of the workout, you have had a great warm-up and buildup, and are now attempting to move some pretty heavyweight. Concentrate on keeping the good form that you practiced in the first four sets.

The Decline: Sets 7 and 8

  • When you finish the 6th set of the workout, take 10 – 15 lbs. off of each side of the bar and rest 90 seconds.
  • Complete another set of 10 reps with this lower weight (which should be the same or slightly less weight than you used for set 4).
  • Do the same for the 7th set.

These two sets, like the 3rd and 4th set, are meant to help you work on form, though you will be significantly more fatigued by this point and will have to focus that much more on keeping your back flat, chest up, head straight, and weight on your heels.

The Cool-down: Sets 9 and 10

  • When you finish the 7th set, take 10 – 15 lbs. off of each side of the bar and complete another set of 10 reps.
  • Repeat for the tenth set.

These two sets are meant to help work on muscle endurance in your legs and to serve as cool-down, as you will be performing the reps with the low weight that you used to perform sets 1 and 2 with. Focus on keeping good form and finishing strong. Take slightly shorter rest periods on these last two sets.

As you can see, successful completion of this workout plan really comes down to picking an appropriate weight for the first set, as everything begins and ends there.

Choose a weight that truly feels like a warm-up, to begin with rather than letting your ego get in the way at the start. This workout is intended to be completed by seasoned gym-goers with a lot of experience squatting and is best done with a training partner. If you are new to the gym, that’s awesome, but don’t try this workout.

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Matthew Johnson is a fitness writer, personal trainer, strength coach, as well as a former gym owner. Matthew holds an MBA from The University of Memphis and a Master’s in Exercise Science from Middle Tennessee State University. Matthew has also earned the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credential from the NSCA. Matthew recently published his first book, 300 30 Minute Workouts for Busy People, and lives in Memphis, TN with his wife, Anna, and their dog Henderson, and cat, Sox.

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