Squats have always been regarded as the “undisputed king of all exercises”. Squat hold this position due to its ability to enhance the strength of lifters along with letting them pack on dense muscle mass. Talking specifically about the advanced lifters, they have to modify their squatting sessions in ways that can enhance their strength levels on one hand and break away the barriers that may occur gradually. They need to experiment with their training protocols frequently as their body tends to get plateaued easily.
To counter such problems, Jonnie Candito developed a 9 week advanced squat program in 2016. It primarily places emphasis on squat progression. This program is designed for advanced lifters who have hit the plateau on their squat or are looking to improve their squatting performance altogether.
The Candito Advanced 9 Week Squat Program is designed to take your current squat strength to the advanced or even the elite level. There are certain features of this program that makes it unique and effective. Let’s have a look at them.
- Longest single lift program
It is certainly one of the longest programs that improve your squats. It extends for up to 9 weeks in which you train squats with different intensity and volume in each phase. This further ensures that both your fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers are adequately trained which results in enhancing your overall squat performance.
- Higher intensity during high-frequency phase
The first three weeks of this program are characterized by a high-frequency training approach. In that phase, you train squats five days a week with greater intensity. It might be shocking to your muscles at first but gradually muscles get adequately prepared to handle the stress and load that they will be subjected to in the following weeks.
While going through the high-frequency phase, it is recommended that you should be confident about your squat form and technique. A strict squat form is needed. Any compromise in your squatting form can hamper your gains. You should also keep your accessory work limited in this phase as focusing on them too much can eventually wear you out
- Higher specificity of primary accessories
Once you go through the spreadsheet presented in the next section, you will understand that the accessory exercises mentioned are very similar to the competition squat. Those exercises are to be performed with the exact same equipment, bar position, and stance as the competition squat is performed.
The inclusion of pin squats in the accessory exercises ensures that you practice bracing your core against the belt. It also overloads your hip and knee extension through a partial range of motion.
The volume of primary exercises has been kept low under this program because competition squat in itself is a great strength builder.
The overall routine of this program looks like this:-
High volume / reduced frequency
5 rep transition phase
Max strength phase
Max out week
In the High-Frequency Phase, you will be training five days per week performing.
In the High Volume/Reduced Frequency phase, you will be training only two times a week. But those two training sessions will be extremely high in regards to overall volume and intensity.
In the third and fourth phase of this program, that is the 5 Reps Transition phase and the Max Strength phase respectively, you will be progressing with increasing the weight on the bar and gradually decreasing the reps. These two phases last for three weeks in which the intensity of your workout is ramped up. It simply prepares your body to try out its max in the final week.
The final week of this program tends to proceed like the previous weeks but it requires you to test your goal max on Friday to ensure whether you have attained your desired goal max or not.
Candito Advanced 9 Week Squat Program Spreadsheet
The spreadsheet template presented over here requires you to enter your current squat max that is your 1 RM and your desired goal max. Your desired goal max has an impact on your program from Week 4 onwards. You will reassess your goal max once you complete three weeks of the program. You need to be realistic in determining your goal max that would be based on your three weeks performance.
You should choose your two preferred accessory exercises that would be based on your individual preferences.
This Google sheet will guide you well regarding how you must proceed with this training program. There are some other important points too that need to be taken care of while being on this program. Let’s have a look at them.
- If you fail to complete the prescribed number of reps for a given set, you will be reducing your max by 2.5%.
- When it comes to pin squats and box squats, you should maintain the competition squat style and you would squat well above parallel.
- If your legs are too sore and you are unable to perform your squats maintaining a strict form, you can replace your next session with some core exercises.
- If you squat narrow, perform a sumo deadlift and if you squat with a wider stance, perform a conventional deadlift.
This program has been backed up by the claims of professional lifters who have gained enormous strength on their squats following this program. We are sure that this program will work for you in the same way.