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.

61 thoughts on “Every Man Can Squat 405

  1. Fill in the blank: “Every man can deadlift ___ lbs.”

    (And yes, this is an exercise to make me feel better about not being able to squat 405 lbs yet.)

  2. Hitting 405# in December was a landmark day for me. But only for a day. This year’s goal – squat 405×5.

    And props to Colton for getting into it early. I was a 6’0″ 145 pound walking twig when I graduated high school. Now I’m just a thin 185# almost a decade later.

  3. I’ve been training at a private gym for a couple of years now. The other day I had to train at a commercial gym because of some construction at my place. It was shocking how I got stared at the entire time because I was actually squatting in the rack and not doing curls. My last set was at 420, nothing groundbreaking there, you would have thought I broke some sort of record from the amount of people watching me. It was embarrassing. You would have thought my balls were hanging out of my shorts.

    It turns out that my balls WERE actually hanging from my shorts.

    Justin Steve

  4. I’m a grown ass man but, I can’t squat 405lbs for reps yet. I’ve never tried my 1RM but, my highest 5RM is 365lbs. (With a belt and sleeves (not tight wraps).) So, from what everyone says, I should be able to do 405lbs+ with 1RM.

    sdanelyjr, that’s my same goal by the end of the year, 405lbs 3 sets of 5. Good luck on yours.

  5. This is the best post ever. I’m going to hang it up at the gym for all the bros next to me squatting 205 to quarter depth for reps.

    I am a GIRL and I squat 320, so really y’all have no excuse. I say this not because it’s impressive, but to merely make a point that 405 is possible for everyone if they squat consistently.

    If you aren’t squatting twice a week, you’re not taking your training seriously. It’s that important. End rant.

  6. DAMN @misimmons it is kind of impressive you squat 320. Unless you weigh like 200+lbs as well. Impressive indeed.

    I also agree 405 is table tennis strength. that only 50lbs below my squat max currently but whatevs. Hahaha.

    Currently I go by the 4/3/5 plate rule for the ‘lifts’ and once I reach 3 plate bench I will change it to 5/4/6. And so on.

    brb late bloomer.

  7. I forget where I heard it from but to be an average-ly strong man i.e. nothing amazing it is like 200lbs press, 300lbs bench press, 400lbs squat, and 500lbs deadlift.

    Definitely not enough people squat…I’ve been at a new base and I haven’t seen anyone else do a parallel squat over 225lbs in 3 weeks.

  8. +1 to this. I think every man can also bench 300 and deadlift 500 if he wants it. And at the same time be fit enough to run 3 miles in under 24 minutes. The thing is, you have to want it. You have to really want it. 104 squat sessions is a lot of pain. It means lifting even when you don’t really feel like it. It means lifting when you’re sore. Most people avoid anything resembling discomfort whenever possible. For the past couple of years I’ve aimed to have 45 good training weeks a year. That allows for travel/vacations/other issues. If I miss a day or two in a week, it doesn’t count towards the total. 45 solid training weeks a year is possible for just about anyone who wants it.

  9. I’ve been hitting Strongman training hard. Lots of lower body work (sled, yoke, farmers, and more) in addition to regular deadlifts and squats.

    Well, it is time to HTFU and squat one more day a week. Thanks for this.

  10. I have started squatting by myself here in Madrid two months ago.I started doing high bar,because it was the only way I had squatted before(at a crossfit box).I got to squat 264 pounds(120kg) for five,and I decided to buy Starting Strenght and learn how to low bar squat.

    Nowadays I am squatting 225 pounds with low bar,as I do not want to go very quickly because of the difficulty of the movement for me.In addition,I am going to start working in a finantial consulting firm on monday,which will take me about 12-13 hours a day of working.Despite that fact,I want to squat 405 in the future.Don’t know how long is it gonna take me,but I want to achieve this average level of strenght.

    I am confident that if it remains a goal of yours that you can achieve it. Be consistent; put the time in. Luck, Mario.

    –Just

  11. @mlsimmons That IS IMPRESSIVE!!

    My current goal is 300lbs and I am getting so close I can taste it.

    Good post today. Wish my hypothyroidism meds made me skinny;-)

  12. Thank you for reminding me.

    It’s easy to start thinking you’re stronger than you are when you train at a commercial gym.

    I hate to admit it, but I’ve definitely caught myself, post 405*5 set, bowling around the gym like I’m some sort of a big deal.

    Remembering that 405*5 is nothing special is gonna help me get better.

  13. I’ve been trying to get @mlsimmons to submit videos to Justin for months. She’s the strongest girl I know. She failed to mention she got that strong while in law school and is currently preparing for the bar exam.

    #noexcuses

  14. @sdanleyjr @mlsimmons

    SEND VIDEOS!!!!

    It motivates other women…..so they way I see it, she has a responsibility on behalf of all strength training females to share her said strength.

    Pretty please with sugar on top.

  15. My current goal is to squat 315, and I’m getting pretty close. For some reason, my squats have lagged behind other lifts (for a while I squatted and benched the same weight, but my squats have pulled ahead lately). I will be proud when I squat 315, and when I squat 365, and then 405.

  16. This post is particularly timely for me in that I’ll squat 405 for reps in a couple of weeks. I’ll be proud but won’t treat it any more than what it is; a marker on the road.

  17. The beauty of the squat is that there is nothing easier than letting 315/405/495/etc. roll off your back when your at the bottom but for whatever reason, you drive it back up. Squatting is the best therapy money can buy.

  18. Damn, I feel like a weak lil bitch now. I’m 6′ 6″ and 335lbs and I can only do the 365lbs for 3 sets of 5. Of course, I’m sure I could do more if I had my other arm. :P

    If you can do 365x5x3, then you can squat 405 (as long as the balance isn’t an issue). Glad to see you’re still around.

    –Justin

  19. Damn, looks like I have some work ahead of me. This post, along with some other things (including the release of TM Vol. 2: The Brentening) has led me to decide to get back to a faster strength progression soon. I’ve just now (i.e. this week) started trying to cut down my body fat and increase my conditioning, so when I hit my goals in that area I’ll get back on the Texas Method. This means running at least one or two more cycles of 5/3/1. Three at the most, if the fat loss comes slow. IRRegardless, I’m tired of feeling like a fat fuck and looking like one in anything but flannel (at least to myself).

    I ran the numbers and discovered that if I stayed on 5/3/1 for a year I still wouldn’t be at a 405 squat, and that’s unacceptable. Still, it’s a great program if you need to work in more conditioning, have a busy or totally fucked life, or just want to un-fatfuck yourself.

  20. I think I saw that video on Twitter that Justin posted! Sweet!

    Its still impressive! You are on your way to 350!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Never apologize for screaming.

  21. One question about squats – I am pretty sure the answer to this question is no, but I would like to ask it anyway.

    Would it be worthwhile/okay to do a session of Front Squat and a session of Back Squat (low bar) for your 2 squat days a week or should we just do the back squat and if you want to train quads do HBBS? For example I would be doing… 275X5X3 for BS and 205X5X3 for FS or something this week.

  22. Apologies – the reason the shift to FS/BS would be to increase my power clean (which is probably only at 225 from technique mostly). I’ve read that it is tough to clean what you can’t front squat and my FS is only at 255 1RM.

  23. As someone who has struggled with an LP (with the squat stalled at 175lb, again at 185lb, again at 210, again at 250; currently 275lb and it feels like a ton of bricks), this post is very motivational.

    “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.”

    This is why I love this website.

    I don’t know much about you, but I wouldn’t count the 175/185 as stalls. Sounds like you probably did it kinda wrong. But well done at the progress. I’d say you’re probably done with a linear progression on squat.

    –Justin

  24. awesome post. I can’t wait to hit 405. My goal is to hit it by the end of the year for a set of 5. Currently I’m at 330lb for 1×5 on TM. This gives me good motivation to get it done.

  25. well fuck you all because it felt pretty amazing when i first squatted 300lbs. i texted like 40 people.

    brb telling my 20 month old niece that learning to kick her feet in the pool isn’t amazing because she can’t do the breast stroke yet.

    dicks.

    You never disappoint. You’re the new stankrom.

    –Justin

  26. @mlsimmons, I bow down to you. My goal is just 300# (haven’t maxed in a while but I’d say I have about 30# to go still)… and I guess if “every guy should be able to squat 405#” then every girl should be able to squat 285#. (sigh) Well. I have work to do.

  27. Can I be a chocolate starfish that squats 405 though?

    In all seriousness though, I should be able to do this by the end of summer. I hit 350 3×5 before an injury, and am back to 315 3×5 today doing SS still. So 405 should be possible for at least 1 rep if not more

  28. @missimmons and @mrsconnery, it’s good to see some other women moving around some real weight.

    I’m all for revelling in the sense of accomplishment in finally getting a goal you’ve been working towards but I don’t know why you would ever stop setting bigger goals as long as you have some kind of chance of achieving them. I was thrilled when I squatted 225 and 315 and everything after that but that doesn’t mean I’m done. It must means I need to pick a more challanging number.

    And I guess all of this means that if I really want to make the guys at the gym feel bad, I’ve got a bit more work to do.

  29. This is just what I needed to hear. Unfortunately the military is full of scrawny dudes who are weak as shit so there’s never anyone strong at the base gym and I get an inflated sense of my own strength.

    I Squat 385 right now so I just need to shut up and squat more.

  30. I had what was left of my left leg amputated 3 years ago.

    Are you saying that since I can’t squat 405 that I’m not a man? I lost my leg fighting for my country, but because some asshole on the internet says so, I’m no man.

    Fuck you, asshole.

    Is this a meme?

    –Justin

  31. @Puke

    Not sure if you’re joking or not. In case you’re not, this is quoted from the article:

    “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.”

    He has his leg and squats more than 405 (right?). Weird joke I guess.

    –Justin

  32. mlsimmons: Awesome. Also: I have work to do.

    Question for Justin: I’m working my way back up from that hip injury. I’m currently on TM. Things are progressing nicely, and I’m pain-free, but I’m impatient with the pace of progress. I’ve toyed with switching the squat back to my LP. Is there any UTILITY in doing this, or should I just simmer down, be patient, and not risk re-injury?

  33. @melmec, @mrsconnery and @karibot, keep at it. It took me almost 2 years of steady squatting (3x a week on average) to reach 300. My suggestions are to keep up with mobility. Find your weak spots and mob the crap out of them.
    Also, do heavy triples. Confidence is like 65% of squatting so crushing a heavy triple for three reps helps build that confidence under the bar.

  34. Pingback: Saturday 6.16.12 « Crossfit South Bend blog

  35. I hit my goal of a 405 squat last November (wanted to hit before 2012). Couldn’t have done it without the inspiring posts on this site. When asked ‘why is 405 your goal?’, my most common response was ‘because its awesome.’

  36. Thanks for this post! I just hit three wheels for a few singles last week, (but I have also done 295 for three sets of five, so I’m sure there is more in there)

    Hearing that I SHOULD be putting 405 up gives me a definite new goal.

    I have been stalling at the 285/295 range and have reset a couple times – made some gains each time but am now going to try TM (just bought the TM #1 ebook) as I am 44 and think LP may be digging a bit deep at 295x3x5 three times a week.