What it was like to squat every day

Squats are a difficult and exhausting exercise, sometimes causing fatigue for days. That’s why doing them every day is an intriguing idea, and I wondered if there could be an extreme reward for such an extreme protocol.

Leg training renaissance

I didn’t train legs when I first got into training. Partly because of the discomfort, and partly the outsized allure of t-shirt muscles to a teenager.

But eventually I decided the inverted-triangle look wasn’t good, so leg development and strengthening my squat became goals. The pain and difficulty of leg training went from source of dread to stimulating challenge.

1X per week didn’t cut it

Even given priority and a lot of effort, my legs didn’t respond well to training. The once per week model I’d been using seemed ineffectual.

I heard some people had experienced amazing results squatting more than once per week. I was hesitant to try it though; there was a lot of talk about overtraining at the time.

But stagnation makes you reconsider things, and I decided to add some extra squat workouts into my program.

I didn’t die of overtraining from those one or two extra sessions, so the next step seemed to be squatting every day.

What I found

Squatting every day was as good as anything else I’ve tried for size, but not miraculous. It did seem to help more with strength, but that may have just been the change in stimulus.

It was great for practicing my technique.

Training close to failure had to be avoided most days. That said, I could work up to surprisingly high effort consistently and not exceed my short term recovery capability. At least once I’d acclimated.

And acclimating is a big part of it. The first few weeks were draining, but my work capacity improved past that. I had to keep session volume low, though. I did no more than 3 sets each day.

Still, despite deload weeks, a couple of months into it and I was feeling pretty beat up. Not just physically, but mentally too. The squat is a psychologically demanding movement, and doing it every day began to affect training enjoyment.

The worst thing was the toll on my joints, especially my knees, though I could see it being easier on someone who’s a more natural squatter. For me squatting is awkward because of my proportions—my back ends up on a big lean throughout the motion, with quite a bit of forward knee travel.

Should everyone squat every day?

Hell, no.

However, it’s an option to try if you’re obsessed with experimentation. It’s definitely not a long term solution, and best avoided if your sleep, nutrition, and stress-load are out of balance.

I’m glad to have done it, but I wouldn’t do it again.

2 replies on “What it was like to squat every day”

Did your quads, hams, and glutes get measurably bigger? In other words, did you measure them before you started squatting every day and after? I think a lot of times lifters convince ourselves we gained size but never actually confirm it

That’s an excellent point, Christopher, totally agree.

I take measurements regularly, so yes, I can tell you for sure I grew. However, my caloric intake increased at the time, too, and other uncontrolled variables probably also changed. So would I have grown anyway? Perhaps, it’s impossible to say for sure.

For what it’s worth, my suspicion is that the novelty of the new stimulus was a substantial contributor to my results.

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