Sounds good right?
Basically, you do 20 rep breathing squats, with some pullovers and drink 9 dairy farms worth of milk a day, in a nutshell.
|In case you never ran across the squats n milk crew
Breathing squats are squats where you take big deep breaths between each rep in order to well, breath heavier. Anyone who has ever done a 20 rep set of squats will tell you, this really isn't required. The "Golden Age of Lifting" crowd will tell you that you take the big breaths to help with rib cage expansion. Thus, why you do pullovers after the squats. So you can make your rib cage bigger. A bigger rib cage means a bigger frame, is the theory.
Maybe this actually does/did work for some people. To me, I never understood the need for the big deep breaths. When you do 20 reppers, you breathe heavy and hard enough without that shit. The only thing I saw happening with 3 deep breaths was hyperventilating and getting light headed. This doesn't seem like a smart mans way to squat to me.
Anyway, 10-12 years ago "squats n milk" became a mantra for all skinny "hardgainer" types. And it became the answer to all training related riddles.
"I want big arms"
"squats n milk"
"I want a big bench"
"squats n milk"
"I want to look like Arnold"
"squats n milk"
"I want a threesome with a my girlfriend"
"squats n milk"
|"Two chics at once...squats and milk man"
Basically, it was like the "Direct TV hates puppies" syndrome.
"Time Warner offers this service free. Hundreds of dollars worth compared to Direct TV so you could be spending those hundreds on dog food. Puppies loves dog food, therefore Direct TV hates puppies."
No, wrong. Of course.
The idea was. But what got lost in it, by the dogmatic, was that the simple message was "do the big lifts, eat a lot of food, work hard, and you'll get big.
No, to the dogmatic, it was literally "squats n milk".
It didn't matter if you wanted a bigger bench or bigger arms or a better deadlift or wanted to increase your overhead press. Everything had to start with squats and milk.
I don't know if it was intellectual laziness or dumb training advice or a real belief that high rep squats and milk cured all training woes and cancer. But shit got ridiculous.
I remember one particular message board guru who railed against me because I said you can get big and massive without doing squats and deadlifts. He even went so far as to call me to tell me I couldn't say that.
I'm here to state, that's still a truth. If you never cared about a big squat or deadlift, you could do all sorts of lifts and still get as big you could get, from a genetics standpoint, without ever doing them. This is not blasphemy or sacrilege. Lots of bodybuilders get big as hell without doing lots of squats and/or deadlifts. In fact, many of them don't like squats or deadlifts from the fact that they don't always do the job that a bodybuilder might be looking for. If your hams need more work then stiff legs may be the better tool. Barbell rows and chins/pulldowns work just fine for filling out the rest of your back. And plenty of guys have built impressive wheels laboring on a leg press instead of under a bar.
I'm not saying squats and deadlifts are overrated either. They are still, IMO, the most economical movements you can do, and still the two best exercises in terms of demonstrating lower body and overall strength. However it doesn't mean they are requirements for building mass. And this kind of talk infuriated the squats n milk crew.
|Just from an observational standpoint, you can't tell what kind of training philosophy someone has
I also never understand all that work for a big ribcage. Some people say it's because you can fit more muscle on a bigger frame. This is bunk and bullshit. That is a genetically predetermined at birth. Lots of guys with big frames are naturally thin, and don't fill out very well. Anyone who has ever been around basketball players has seen some of these guys with huge frames, side wide shoulders, long clavicles, etc but these guys are walkings sticks. And they eat like they won't live to see the next morning. On the flip side lots of "small framed" guys carry a shit load of actual muscle. Your frame doesn't really have anything to do with how much muscle you can or will carry. Yeah I know, lots of really huge guys have huge wrists and ankles, etc so forth and so on. Everyone knows that "farm boy big" dude that has like 19" wrists and baseball mits for hands. So what? You can't train for that either. You got what you got. Spending that much effort to increase your ribcage by the smallest fraction seems galactically stupid to me. Especially when the return on your investment isn't anything guaranteed at all. You're probably not going to expand your ribcage. And again, who the hell gives a fuck if you can?
From an aesthetics standpoint, there isn't anything magical about making a bigger rib cage. A lot of that came from those old side chest shots you'd see where the guy had a big rib cage and somehow, that was impressive. So wanted that as a look. No one in bodybuilding gives a shit about rib cages, so I never understood the reasoning.
|Not the look I am going for
So what was so magical about it?
It was really just hard work, and eating. It doesn't really matter where the hard work comes from. You give me pathetically skinny 10 guys, and I can force feed the shit out of them and get them big as hell in a year. And I can do it without any of them ever back squatting or deadlifting. I certainly sure as shit would never use a breathing squat to do it. Some guy using a light weight to squat, so he can breath deep a whole bunch, isn't going to make half the progress of a guy that piles on as much weight as he can for medium-high reps on other leg movements like leg press or hacks or whatever.
In the end, it's really all about weight on the bar. The rest is bullshit.
Squatting to get big arms will not work as good at building big arms if you don't bench, dip, chin, curl, row and concentrate on moving big weights there too. You can grow a big ass upperbody without ever squatting or doing leg work. Don't anyone tell you that's not true because everyone knows guys that have stick legs and massive upper bodies. So which is it?
Again, a lot of it was witch craft. The dogmatic squat n milk guys know you can build big arms without squats, however they didn't want the noobs turning into douche bag beach lifters. Guys that walk in and bench and curl every workout. And I find this to be noble. I had to run an asshole out of the squat rack this past week for curling in it on my squat day.
But at the same time, taking a hard line stance or being dogmatic about something will only paint you into a corner and sooner or later you get exposed as a fraud. Or at least your advice does. Once you've been doing this long enough, you will know bullshit when you see it.
So do squats n milk actually work?
Sure. For some people I suppose. But I've never met a really massive strong guy that swore by breathing squats. I've always heard the legend talk about some guy in a gym that did em that looked like he was a former Mr. Olympia and shit like that. But in 21 years of doing this shit, I've never talked to a guy that impressed me physically that said he owed it all to breathing squats. Generally it's the same shit. Squat heavy, pull heavy, press heavy, do some fun stuff, eat a shit load of food. That's your recipe to get as big as possible.
Milk? Yeah, lots of us drank the shit out of some milk to build mass. Works good. In my teen years I relied on food for the most part. Shakes weren't as tasty then and often bloated me up too much, allowing me not to eat as often or as much. Now there is a whole "don't drink milk" crowd crying like bitches about how we're the only animal that drinks the milk from another animal. Which is also bullshit, but I don't feel like ranting about that now.
|Nothing wrong with milk unless you're lactose intolerant!
Now high rep squats work. But my personal opinion is that they work better as a supplemental piece to your training. After a hard set of 3 to 5, for example, or after some singles. As the main stay I think they have some draw backs.
For one, I don't think that beginners or relative novices get as much out of them as they can. Mainly because the form breaks down, they get injured a lot, they cut depth when it gets hard, and they flat out don't have the ability to train with enough intensity to get the return investment on them. New guys need to learn the movement, get a feeling for what their groove should be like and do a lot of volume real often with it until it's all pounded into stone.
Guys who can knock out a good looking set of 315 x 5 on squats are probably advanced enough to benefit from a high rep back off set. 225x20 or something like that. But shit like 135x20 and shit like this, I feel, is really a waste of time.
IMO high rep squats and deads are really advanced techniques that beginners and novice trainers should not be messing with. You can make plenty enough gains doing set of 5-12 for years when you start before you need to resort to high rep sets. I also don't think the benefit of doing sets of 20 in the squat are as great until some real weight can be thrown on the bar. 225x20 is kind of a minimum standard but really 250x20 is probably even better. An even better thought is that you probably don't even need high rep squats until you can squat 405 balls deep without a belt. Just my opinion. It doesn't mean you can't throw in a high rep set here or there, but a "widow maker" with 155 pounds is pretty much laughable weak sauce. My wife has done 135 x 20 and she's 120 pounds with an artificial hip. So let's keep things in perspective here.
Let me also add that because of the leverages you are born with, some people may be able to do high rep squats and benefit like crazy (Tom Platz) and some people may not (tall lanky guys).
I've written plenty of beginner routines and you will never find a 20 rep squat set in my beginner routines. There's no reason for it. A basic 3x10 works just fine. Why complicate shit?
You should definitely complicate your milk and add as much shit as possible to that however. I recommend starting with a basic chocolate syrup.