Every Man Can Squat 405

Brent was telling me about some dickhead somewhere on the internet that was making a big deal about squatting 300 pounds. I can’t recall exactly what quote Brent used, but the guy apparently said it was “AMAZING” or something. It’s really not. It’s kinda amazing for a girl to do that, but not a guy.


I coached a 14 year old kid a few years ago. He had hypothyroidism, which means that his metabolism was super slow. They had him on some meds that provided thyroid hormone, yet his dose may have been a bit high. This made his metabolism super high. Therefore, he was a smaller, thinner kid. But god damn did he want to be big and strong — he’s still one of my favorite people. The first day of training, he squatted 95 pounds for some sets. Less than half a year later he squatted 305. I don’t have video of that, but here’s old an video of him squatting 275×5 (there are two more sets, this was the first).





This 14 year old kid was able to work up to a 300 pound squat. It’s pretty good for a 14 year old, but I certainly wouldn’t call it “amazing”. For a grown-ass-man, it’s not a big deal. People have been accidentally squatting 300 for 50+ years. Every man can squat 405.


This, of course, assumes a healthy individual with no existing pathology — anatomical or otherwise. A regular guy can squat 405. And when he does, it may only be amazing if he was a weak-ass dude when he started. I’d be proud if “less genetically gifted guy” squatted 405, but I still wouldn’t call it amazing, or breathtaking, or whatever stupid thing the stupid under-achieving guy Brent was talking about said.


What should you do if you can’t squat 405 yet? The simple answer is to squat twice a week and don’t stop until you squat it. If you garner the accumulated work of squatting twice a week for a year, that’s 104 squat sessions. If you do that for 18 months, it’s 156 sessions. Two years is 208 sessions. It doesn’t have as much to do with set/rep schemes, or volume/intensity; it’s just that you continuously get the acute and chronic stress of squatting.


It’d make the most of your time to emulate a linear progression for several months at first, then a volume/intensity approach (like the Texas Method), and then tweak it from there. At the end of the day, it only matters that you squatted.


I’m not asking you if you think it’s possible, I’m telling you: Every man can squat 405. If this is a goal of yours, then get started yesterday. There are plenty of factors that would effect the success of this goal, but none of them are more important than just getting under the fucking bar and doing it. Then do that consistently. Don’t lower your standards for yourself or to make other people feel better about themselves. You’re not a beautiful butterfly, chocolate starfish, or whatever. 405 will make a statement, one that says, “I am average, but I busted my balls to do this, so eat shit guy in the corner who is doing wrist curls with the smith machine.”


Do eet.

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  1. Added note – although manually digging 40 feet of 3′x2′ footer in clay cuts into one’s recovery, it does wonders for back strength; my mid-and-upper back feel like iron when I squat now. I may need to keep an ongoing trench open in my yard from now on!

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  5. Great article this, I have been lifting for about a year now, originally just to lose weight, but over the last 6-9 months I’ve become more and more interested in getting stronger. For me the problem is that I go to a commercial gym (the equipment is decent enough) so there is really no one to aspire to, just a bunch of guys doing endless curls in the mirror or the odd huge guy who never seems to lift anything particularly heavy (I wonder where that size comes from?), and so I have been going backward and forward recently over what my goals should realistically be. For a while I thought very few people were capable of achieving a squat of 405, or a deadlift of 495 for that matter, and so thought I should set my goals more conservatively. But after a few months now lifting with the explicit aim of to gain stronger (I am still trying to drop weight so calories are restricted, but I see no reason why I shouldn’t still be trying to increase my numbers!) with a squat of 260lbs, and a deadlift of 350lbs, I have had a nagging thought that if I am only ever going to squat 315 and deadlift maybe around 380-400, then I didn’t really have much further to go. Which would have been a bit of an anti-climax considering I was expecting strength training to have a bit more longevity to it than that! Anyway, I have been having the thought for a while now that I should be aiming for the ‘big’ numbers, and you’re article has sealed the deal! Not only should a 400 squat and 500 deadlift now be definite goals for me, but I think they should only be what I am striving for in the medium term, longer term I should be looking way past that. Who knows? 500lb squat? 600lb squat? The sky is the limit!

    On a side note I have only just found the 70s Big website and already I can tell its right up my street, no bullshit, all about the grind, great stuff!

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