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Squatting for Bodyweight Gains

Published: 2023-06-29
Squatting for Bodyweight Gains
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In this article, I dive into the unique interplay of squats and bodyweight gains. Our discussion extends to specific training techniques such as 'breathing squats' and 'breathing pullovers', dietary considerations, and the crucial role of caloric intake in bodyweight gains. 



Time to invoke a little science here. 

The greater majority of levers in the human body are third-class levers. That means that the order of the components is fulcrum-force-resistance, as illustrated by the following diagram.




Now if all the components remain the same but the length of the lever was to increase (as it does during normal maturation), it should be obvious that an equivalent force would not be able to move the same load or to move it as quickly.  So in order to lift a heavier or equal weight with the longer lever as quickly, the amount of force must be increased.

Since the heights of humans are directly proportional to longer femurs and humeri, taller individuals must be able to generate more force, and that force must be generated by an increase in muscle mass.  So the taller the individual, the more muscle must be developed and hence the greater the body weight. 





Consequently, the following tables have been developed to represent the ideal relationships between height and body weight.  They have been extrapolated from data obtained by measuring the heights of elite-level lifters between the ages of 16 and 35. 




Many individuals entering the sport are too light for their height and need to gain muscular body weight. 



An athlete needing to increase body weight for weightlifting competition might consider going on a four-week or eight-week cycle with the emphasis on Breathing Squats super-setted with Breathing Pullovers while still practicing the classic movements in order to maintain technique. 


Breathing Squats

This variation is performed as a normal back squat, but between repetitions, the athlete should take three deep breaths and then hold the third while descending into the full bottom position.  5 sets of 8 will do a great deal to sway the metabolism into a more anabolic pathway.  The first set should be light, the second set should be medium, and the final three should be as heavy as possible while maintaining technique.  The eighth rep should be at the limit of one’s capacity.  A ninth rep should be impossible.  Immediately after each of the final three sets, the athlete should perform a set of 20 breathing pullovers.


Breathing pullovers

help to provide oxygen to the body and trigger growth.  The movement starts with the athlete lying supine on a bench. The bar supported directly above the chest with a clean-width grip.  The weight need not be heavy.  A 15 or 20-kg bar will suffice.  The athlete then lowers the bar with straight arms to a position behind the head until the arms are parallel to the floor.  Simultaneously, the athlete inhales deeply.  As the bar is returned to the starting position on straight arms, the athlete should exhale forcefully.  3 sets of 20 should be performed, each set performed immediately after the three heavy squat sets. 



The following training program should be performed 3x/week for the first three weeks. 

Breathing Back Squat:  Light/8, Medium/8, (Heavy/8)3

Breathing Pullover:  (X/20)3

Snatch:  60%/2, 70%/2, (80%/2)3

Clean &; Jerk:  60%/2+2, 70%/2+2, (80%/2+1)3

Bent-over Row:  (X/6)4

Press:  (X/5)4

Good Morning:  (X/6)4


On the fourth Week perform the squats with 4 reps per set, and the breathing pullovers with 10 reps per set.  The other exercises remain the same.  Poundages may be increased when possible.



You can’t gain weight without ingesting more calories.  Therefore the following table should be useful guidelines. 





Remember, these are guidelines.  They are appropriate for hard training athletes.  In order to gain weight, more nutrients may need to be ingested.  They should be in the format of 3 large meals and two snacks.  Ideally, two meals and a snack should be ingested prior to the training each day. 

Adequate sleep is a must, as the growth process occurs during sleep.  Some of the weight gains may be in the form of fat, but that will be catabolized later as the increased musculature of the body uses up more calories from the fat during sleep. 



30% of the daily calorie intake should be in the form of proteins of high biological value.  Meat, eggs, and milk have favorable proportions of essential amino acids, which will facilitate muscular growth.

60%-65% of the caloric intake should be from carbohydrates.  The carbohydrates will provide the majority of energy for training and growth.  Keep in mind that carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber are indigestible and are therefore not available to aid in the growth process.

5-10% of the caloric intake should come from fats and oils.  Fats are necessary for hormone synthesis, which is key for anabolism.  They are also necessary for the synthesis of cell membranes and they are rich in calories which will aid in reaching achieving daily prescriptions. 

A Word of Caution: It is not advisable for health purposes for Master lifters in the older age groups to maintain heavier bodyweights for an extended period of time.



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