NFL Squat Workout (don’t try this at home)

jj watt back squat

It was the winter of 2003. I had just finished my senior year of college football and was getting ready for the draft in the spring.  I had two college all-star games coming soon, prospects of the NFL combine, and pro scouts scheduled to visit my college campus in a couple of short months …

And at this point in the game, a players stock can rise or fall a huge amount.  Shaving a tenth or two off your 40 time, adding an inch or two to your vertical jump, adding a few reps to your 225 bench press rep test can mean moving up several spots – or in some rare cases, even rounds – in the draft.  Which can amount to, well, a lot of dough! :)

So I was FOCUSED.  I experienced some of the the HARDEST workouts of my life at this point in time … and I also made some of the most amazing gains …

See, my trainer knew I had strong legs and was a big back squatter.  But he also knew I typically lifted heavy … and that strength endurance wasn’t my strong point (at the time).

So, one day when he was feeling especially mean and I didn’t have any events/tests/etc. on the schedule for a couple of weeks, he put me through his 10×10 back squat workout.

It went something like this:

– Pick a weight you can back squat 15 times MAX.
– Do 10 sets of 10 with it, resting exactly 60 seconds between sets.
– Also, make sure to use a 3-0-3 tempo during the sets – that is, take 3 seconds to lower the weight and 3 seconds to lift it.  So 10 reps should take you a full 60 seconds to complete.
– Collapse, vomit, lose consciousness, etc.

Sounds so simple … but oh is it so hard :)   I had the deepest soreness I’ve ever experienced in my legs after this workout.  I did it with a training partner – and he threw up not once, not twice, but three times – during the session!

Pushing yourself mentally and physically like this every once in a while – being safe and using good judgement of course – I think is a GREAT thing for your long term progress.  You not only test yourself from a fitness standpoint, you test your MIND – which is at least as important when it comes to reaching your ultimate training goals.

So keep training hard.  Don’t give up.  And talk soon -

Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

PS - If you are looking for “NFL level” mental toughness … but you’re not planning on playing pro football anytime soon … I recommend you check out:

=> Strength Psychology

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