A holiday is associated with rest and relaxation - not in this case. This vacation is tough. It consists of 18 training units in 6 days - all consisting solely of squats.
The inspiration for the squat holiday came from one of, if not the most productive training routine - the super-accumulation phase. The original program takes you through 2 workouts a day, alternating between an upper and lower body day for 5 days, followed by a 2 day rest and another 5 training days – done!
The program is an excellent way to build size and strength in a minimal amount of time - provided you have the time and drive to push through the program.
I have used the method successfully with the Hungarian National Short Track Speed Skating Team every December. The goal was to build muscle mass, strength and explosiveness a month before the start of the competition phase, when strength training is often dropped due to travel to and from the world championships. The gains from this phase help athletes maintain optimal posture and explosiveness all the way through to the final and most important competitions of the season.
The Squat Vacation is a modified version of the Super Accumulation Phase that I like to use with those of my clients who want to use their vacation to make big strides, specifically with the squat...
If you have a week and you want to improve your squat technique and weight used in the shortest possible time, this is your approach. The average increase in 6 days is +15 kg in the squat, with a loss of approx. 1.5% in body fat with a simultaneous gain of approx. 3 kg in lean mass - and another 15-25 kg in the squat in the month after the squat holiday - with a constant body fat percentage and a dinner that resembles a predatory feeding.
The structure of the workouts
Barbell squats, 10 sets of 3 reps, 50×0 tempo, 240sec rest
Barbell Squats, heels elevated, 6 sets of 4-6 reps, 4010 pace, 180sec rest
Barbell squats with heels elevated, 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 3010 pace, 180sec rest
For all workouts, gradually increase the weight to a heavy set. The spread within a workout should be around 30%, ie. if your heaviest set is 150kg, the 1st set is 105kg.
These 3 workouts are performed every day for 6 days in a row
A sample day of squat vacation
- 7:00 a.m. - Wake up and have breakfast
- 9:00 - Workout 1
- 10:00 - PWO Shake
- 12:00 - Lunch
- 14:00 - Workout 2
- 14:45 - PWO Shake
- 16:00 - Snack
- 17:00 - Workout 3
- 17:30 - PWO Shake
- 19:00 – Dinner
- 21:00 - Snack
- 22:00 – night rest
Important information for the training
- Give it your all - in every single workout
- Don't pick the weights too defensively if you want to get the most out of your squat vacation.
- With this method, you will increase the weight used during the vacation
- Build yourself up to a heavy set per workout
- Get up before 7 a.m. every day. If you get up after 7am you won't be able to complete all 3 sessions with the necessary recovery period in between and end the day before 6pm
- The first training session starts 2-3 hours after getting up
- Rest 3-4 hours between sessions
- The 3rd session must be completed before 6:00 p.m. Finishing after 6pm will affect your circadian rhythm, sleep, and recovery, thereby lowering your testosterone levels—in short, reducing your gains
- After these 6 days, take 3-4 days off from training to rest and recover. Then you go back to your normal training.
- To maximize your gains in the squat, it's ideal to follow the vacation with a period of relative strength focus.
Intra workout nutrition
During workouts, I'm a proponent of combining amino acids and electrolytes - preferably in the form of the YPSI Amino-Electrolyte Complex, which is available from YPSI trainers across Europe.
Post workout nutrition
As a man with a body fat percentage below 10% or as a woman with a body fat percentage below 16% and aiming to gain mass, drink 0.6-0.8g protein and 2-4g maltodextrin per kg body weight dissolved in water after each training session.
As a man with a body fat percentage above 10% drink 0.8-1g protein per kg body weight dissolved in water after each session
As a woman not interested in gaining muscle mass, consume the combination of amino acids and electrolytes during each workout and only after the last workout of the day consume a post-workout shake consisting of 0.6-0.8g of protein each kg body weight in water.
Have a mix of simple and complex carbohydrates for dinner 1-1.5 hours after your last workout of the day. It should be gluten and dairy free to minimize your body's inflammation levels and optimize your recovery.
Consume between 100 and 250g of carbohydrates - depending on your muscle mass and the total weight moved, for example in the form of baked sweet potato fries, quinoa salad or gluten-free pancakes with raisins, applesauce, cinnamon and maple syrup.
If you have a week off and you want to improve your squat technique and your squat performance in the shortest possible time, then take the squat vacation - An experience you won't forget for a long time...
Image: Karl Bilz. 140kg LH Squat. 69.8 kg body weight. 16 years old.