Pure Power Mag 16-week Squat Routine

Scroll down for an introduction to this program.

Bodyweight (bw)
This determines weights for the single-leg assistance work (lunges in weeks 1-6 and step-ups in weeks 8-15). As a personal note, since bodyweight does not correlate to actual strength levels, you might need to tweak this one up or down a bit to suit your strength level.

Current squat training max (TFMax)
The program recommends that you use a training max, usually about 10-12% below your last test or meet max, for the first 7 weeks when the percentages are quite high when kept in mind that this part of the program is done raw. Whatever you put in here determines weights on the main squat sets, the paused squat and the front squat for weeks 1-7.

Current squat competition max (CFMax)
This would be your max in full gear. If you have gained more than 5% of bodyweight since your max, you might want to use a slightly higher estimated max, but keep this number realistic and conservative. What you put in here determines weights on the main squat movement for weeks 9-16 plus weights for the paused squats and squat assistance movements (front squats, quarter squats and squats done as assistance) for all weeks.

Weights are given in kg lbs

Show bench press and deadlift examples
If checked, this list the suggestions of how to integrate the bench press and deadlift training into the program. Unchecking this is useful when you want a more condensed bird's view of the program or, obviously, only want a two-day squat routine.

Weekday to begin program on
Mon    Tue    Wed    Thu    Fri    Sat    Sun
A purely cosmetic option, this is handy if you intend to print out the program and want to train on different days than the default.

About this program

This 16-week squat program appeared in the November 2002 issue of Pure Power Mag (volume 2, number 6) in an article by James Krieger, Dan Wagman and Rob Wagner titled Training for Superiority - One Size doesn't Fit All. The article discusses both training for speed-strength (for athletes who do not need to display absolute power) and absolute-strength (powerlifters), this is the absolute strength program. The program also includes examples of how the bench press and deadlift can be fitted in to create a complete three-lift program, but without any details on exercise selection and loading parameters.

The program consists of three distinctive cycles or phases. The first cycle runs from weeks 1 to 7 (raw to build a foundation), the second from weeks 8 to 13 (knee wraps and belt recommended) and the third one from weeks 14 to 16 (peaking and taper off, done with all powerlifting gear). The program comes with four categories of assistance work:

  1. Paused Squats: done in competition style for the first five weeks then in Olympic style (close stance, high bar position). The weight for these are determined by the competition squat max (CFmax).
  2. Squat assistance: front squats for the first seven weeks, then alternating between quarter squats and light competition squats up until week 15. The weight for these are determined by the competition squat max (CFmax).
  3. Single-leg assistance: lunges for the first six weeks, then barbell step-ups. The weight for these are listed as a percentage of your bodyweight, which in my opinion means that you might need to tweak the numbers slightly to fit your strength level.
  4. Leg Curl: done throughout the program. There is no weights listed for these since machines vary greatly; the authors suggest you use a weight that you can only achieve the required reps on each work set with. As far as I know, leg curls are nowadays largely considered useless for squatting, you might want to substitute leg curls with bands or glute-ham raises (GHRs) for these.

As should be clear by now, this program is designed around equipped powerlifting. Don't take this as expert advice, but if you are going to do this for raw lifting you should probably use your competition max throughout the program as you are not taking a hit during the first seven weeks from not wearing the gear you don't have.