Today we are doing the back squat.

5 sets of 5 reps.

The back squat is unparalleled in effectiveness.  If you want to get strong, if you want to get lean, if you want to get results you need to be back squatting.

Problem is most of you are doing it wrong.

I’m not just talking about piss-poor form with knees shooting forward or buckling in.  Those are form corrections and you need to get those fixed before you even get started.  Seriously, get a coach.  I know it costs money but this is an investment in yourself.  It is worth doing this correctly & safely.

But once you know how to squat correctly, here are the 2 most common errors I see:

1) For the women – you are going too light!  To elicit a hormonal response you need sufficient load.  You need to be challenging yourself a little bit.  But I don’t want to get bulky.  You won’t.  Not on a 5×5.  Not if you are resting between sets.  For significant hypertrophy you need more volume, sets of 8+ reps.  at this low volume you are mostly developing strength.  And triggering testosterone production.  Don’t panic.  Women have testosterone too.  And it is an important hormone in women just as it is in men.  In fact, if you are looking to get lean, it is going to play a key role.  The problem is most women never lift enough weight to trigger the testosterone needed to get lean.  Sorry girls, cardio alone will not get you lean, you need strength training too and nothing beats the back squat!  If you want to be lighter, you need to train heavier.

2) For the men – stop going so heavy!  Seriously, you are going to hurt yourself.  You aren’t impressing anyone.  The world record is over 1000lbs.  You’re not even close.  studies have shown that male teens training in high school weight rooms have done significant harm to their spines with improperly coached, excessively heavy back squat training.  Don’t train like a teenage boy.  Train like a man and know your capacity.  Form first.

So what is a safe and effective load?  I used 70-80% of my one rep max for this workout.  It was challenging but allowed me to maintain good form.  Not sure about your one rep max?  Err toward the side of caution.  Build up gradually adding weight in small increments.  Better to under-do it today and overdo it.  Forget that old macho “if you’re not failing, you’re not trying” that’s a recipe for injury.  Your sets of five should be challenging but not crushing.