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20 Rep Squats for Building Massive Muscle

20 Rep Squats for Building Massive Muscle


Since August, I have been experimenting with 20 Rep Squats.

Performing 20 Rep Squats is a tactic that was made famous by many oldtime strongmen and other writers of yesterday.

The claim is that by performing 20-Rep Squats, you can put on substantial amounts of muscle mass.

Since that is one of my primary objectives right now, along with increasing full body strength, I decided to give 20-Rep Squats a try.

Now, from my understanding there are a couple of ways that 20 Rep Squats can be done. The method I am using is what was described to me by James Fuller, who actually is the one who made me consider doing these after all.

He suggests taking your 10-rep max weight in the Back Squat and performing 20 Reps with it. You rep out the first 10 Reps without rest, and then you finish with the last 10 Reps with any rest-pauses you need, but you absolutely do not set the bar down. It remains on your shoulders from the moment the set begins until you hit the 20-rep mark.

Other approaches exist. For instance, some teach rest-pausing as needed throughout the set. Others suggest taking as big of a breath as possible into the lungs before each repetition, in an effort to expand the rib cage as much as possible.

As far as expanding the rib cage, I have not researched that, but I will say that after my set of 20-Rep Squats, I do lie on a bench and perform chest stretches using the Dumbbell Pull-over movement.

Regarding MY 20-Rep Squat Sets

When you watch the videos below, take note that I am not using my 10-RM in any of them. There are a couple of reasons why…

1) I am always cautious of my back and I am siding toward being cautious. Nothing sucks more than being hurt and unable to train, especially when you know you could have prevented the injury by being cautious, so that is exactly what I am doing.

2) I do a great deal of Squatting BEFORE I do my 20-Rep Squat set. I pair Squatting with my gripper work and often do 8 to 10 work sets before my 20-Rep Squats, so I am already fatigued.

3) These 20-Rep Squats have essentially become my Squat finisher. These are the last thing I do before I move on to the next portion of my workout. My 10-RM is probably closer to 305 or 315.

Tom Platz Squats 500 for 23 Reps

Reading Sources for 20-Rep Squats:

20repsquats 20reps brawn
I have not read these books

My 20-Rep Squat Workouts

20 Rep Squats: 225lbs – Aug 17

20 Rep Squats: 235lbs – Aug 26

20 Rep Squats: 255lbs – Sep 2

20 Rep Squats: 265lbs – Sep 10

I did 20-Rep Squats one time back in like 2004 and hated them. I got extremely sore and it interrupted a whole week of my training, so I said to hell with them.

This time however, I really wanted to see what they could bring me, so I have stuck with them.

I plan on gradually moving up in weight and will eventually be up over 300-lbs with them, I am just taking my time.

I welcome comments, especially from those who have followed the program, and I would love to hear about your results.

All the best in your training.


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3 Responses to “20 Rep Squats for Building Massive Muscle”

  1. Todd Says:

    What’s up Jedd. Your email caught my eye; I tried 20-rep squats a little over a year ago for a period of time, after reading Stuart McRobert’s Beyond Brawn.
    I started out ridiculously light and built up over a period of weeks. Every time I was so gassed at the end, I began to like them despite the agony, haha. I also did pull-overs after them based on McRobert’s suggestion.
    My problem was this: one day I was into the set, heaving hard and rest-pausing and I got a sudden, piercing ‘bolt’ of pain right through the top of my skull during a rep. It was excruciating. I’m so hard-headed, I finished the set and rested before finishing my workout but I was messed up for days. I even got an MRI and thankfully nothing showed up wrong with my vessels.
    However, that spot still hurts slightly sometimes, and it never hurt before then.
    “Be careful out there.” 🙂
    So needless to say, my experiment with 20 rep squats was over, but I wish that would not have happened, it’s a fun thing to challenge oneself with. Thanks for all your work, love your stuff.

  2. Clifford Says:

    You need to lose the weight belt. If you look at lifters from the past they did not use all the assistive gear that you see in use today. As a result, they worked the supportive muscles. Also, full range of motion is important. Ass to ankles!

  3. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thank you for commenting.

    Sorry, but with my back injury history, removing the belt ain’t going to happen.

    As I’ve stated, this my lowest I can get right now. I am working on depth this month in #Legtember.

    Also, I have yet to see an ass to ankles 20 rep squat video. If you know of one, I’d love to see it.

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