Yesterday I did one of the hardest squat workouts I’ve ever done. I mentioned before that I like doing my hardest workouts at the start of the week and this workout fit the bill .
Lately I’ve been focusing on strengthening my paused squats. Ever since I began my assault on the Squat , I’ve been doing a lot of paused work. I figure that if I get stronger at my paused squats, my regular squats will be easy. The last time I tested my squat max was 3 months ago. The other benefit of paused squats is there’s no hiding. When you pause at the bottom, you’ll know if you’re reaching depth on your squat. Paused squats also prevent you from using momentum to get back up. It’s pure muscle strength.
The way I’ve been doing paused squats is doing 6 sets of 2 with 4 second pauses. I always rest 3 minutes in between sets. I went doing 315 pound paused squats to 330 pound paused squats.
Since I’m a little crazy, I decided to mix things up a little. I used cluster sets for my squatting routine.
What Are Cluster Sets?
Cluster sets are sets within a set. Let’s say you normally do four reps of an exercise. When you’re doing your reps, stop at two and rest for 20 seconds. Keep resting for 20 seconds after each rep. You’ll find that you can do more than 4 reps within that set.
If you end up doing five or six reps within that set, rest like you normally do before the next set. As you continue this rep scheme in each set, you’ll find yourself doing more reps than you normally do.
You can manipulate sets and reps in cluster sets to build muscle, gain strength, or both.
The goal of this workout was to get 18 total reps for the paused squats. Instead of doing two consecutive reps, I’d do one rep and rest for 20 seconds. I did 3 reps per set. My body definitely felt different working out like this. This felt more like a pure strength workout than when I’d do six sets of two. The last time my body felt like this was when I tested my squat max three months ago.
Once I got to my fourth set, I thought about giving up. I felt some fatigue in my hips. As I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of giving up.I pushed through and did my six sets for 18 total reps. It felt great. I knew I had to adjust the rest of my workout and my following workouts in order to avoid burn out.
As someone who loves challenges , I’m glad I did this workout. It was one of the hardest workouts I’ve done in a while. The most challenging part was mental. I know I could get the reps up. I just needed to fight my inner doubts. Tough workouts like this will teach you that your