Poundage Progression for Bottom Position Squats

Philadelphia's Louis Abele was one of the strongest men in the world back in the 1930's and 1940's. He once said that he trained his squats so hard that when his workout was over, even his teeth were aching.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

I got an email from Nick C., who wrote:
"Hi Brooks!

I'm planning on starting a leg specialization
program that will use the bottom position
squat singles you prescribe in workout no.
39 in Chalk and Sweat.

I'm going to start with 6 x 5 with regular
Olympic squats, followed by five sets of
progressively heavier singles in the bottom
position squat.

I was wondering how you would suggest
increasing weight for this routine. Should
I try to add 5 or 10 lbs. to my top single
every week or every other week? 

Should I also be adding weight at the
same rate to the regular squats?

I guess I really want to know how you
did your weight progression on this
program when you had such great
success with it."

Thanks for your question, Nick, and
have fun with your squat program. It
will build some serious strength and
muscle. As I mention in Chalk and
, I added almost 200 pounds
to my squat by using bottom position

BTW, in case anyone is unfamiliar
with them, bottom position squats are
performed in the power rack. You set
the bar on pins placed so it is low
enough that you can get under the
bar and start the squat from the

It's much harder than the conventional
way of doing squats -- which is why it
is so effective.

Of course, it's an ADVANCED training
technique. Don't use it unless you can
handle at least 300 pounds for sets of
5 reps in good, deep form.

Some people find that pause squats work
just as well or better for them than bottom
position squats. Personally, I prefer bottom
position squats for powerlifting squats
(low bar, starting from parallel), and
pause squats for OL squats (high bar,
donkey to grass full squats). I also
prefer pause squats for front squats.

Going strong at age 60 - and yes, I'm still squatting. I usually do front squats now. They work better and I can recover from them better than from back squats. Older trainees need to find the exercises that give them the most bang for the buck with the least wear and tear.

As far as progression goes, do this:

1. Start light and easy and use the first
four to six weeks as a break-in period.

a. You need to start light on the bottom
position squat. It's much harder than you
think it is. 

b. Let me repeat that - start light!

2. After you start to feel comfortable with
the exercise, train it hard and try to add five
pounds to the bar every week for as long
as you can.

3. At some point, your gains will slow
down, and it will become harder and
harder to add the five pounds. When
that happens, change the progression
to five pounds every other week. Do
that for as long as possible.

4. Try adding weight to your regular
squats at the same rate as the bottom
position squats at the start of the
program, when the weights are light.

a. When the weights get heavier, your
poundage increases on the regular squats
will be slower because the bottom position
squats are a new exercise for you, and they
have much more room for improvement.

You can try two workouts a week when
the weights are light, but one workout a
week will probably work better as the
weights get heavier.

I hope that helps, and again, have fun on
the program!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. I cover bottom position squats and other
super effective strength and mass builders
using the power rack in these books:

Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
and Development


Strength, Muscle and Power


Chalk and Sweat


2.  My other books and courses are
right here at Dino Headquarters:

Hard-copy and PDF




P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Set high
goals, and work hard to achieve them."
-- Brooks Kubik

If you enjoyed this Blog post, you'll love my Dinosaur Training books and courses. You can get them in PDF and hard-copy editions at my website or in Kindle editions at Amazon. 

For a complete list of my Kindle books, go here: http://www.brookskubik.com/kindle.html