My Journey to a 192.5kg Barbell Squat

When I joined Sam’s fitness 4 years ago, I really didn’t know anything about serious weight training, in particular the barbell squat. I’d played rugby but never really took the weight training side of things too seriously.

It wasn’t until I started training with Sam after work that I learnt to love training. Most days after work we would pack up and spend over an hour training together. There was plenty of jokes and laughter in between sets. Bu we took it seriously when we were lifting.

Time For a Change

I slowly dropped off the boil and was sick and tired of doing the same thing day in day out. Instead of looking for something different to do, I just lost interest. I look back and I hadn’t trained with any great consistency for over 2 years. Basically I was just going through the motions.

One of our customers who we became with friends with had a contagious passion for training. Graham started to talk about different programs and how he’d love to train with us. At first I was a little apprehensive.

If I decided to train with Graham there was no get out clause. He would be coming here every day to train and I had no escape.

Vince Gironda

After many weeks of coming in and talking about different programs and exercises, he started to talk about this guy called Vince Gironda. He went through the program he was going through and it just scared the living daylights out of me. Barbell squats were never discussed.

Eight sets of Eight reps with minimal rests in between for six to seven exercises?? Was this guy kidding? How the hell was I going to do this? Going from no consistency to going head long into a training program that seemed grueling was daunting. But the prospect of stagnating indefinitely made me decide to take a leap of faith.

Best Training Program Ever

It was the best weight training program I have ever taken part in. After the first few sessions I was all in. I was sweating bullets and wishing to stop on many occasions, but I am so glad I stuck it out.

We did 8 x 8 for about 4-5 weeks and then we changed to 5 x 5 for about 3 weeks. The only reason we stopped was because it was just before Christmas and also Graham was going away to New York. I can’t wait for him to come back so we can get straight back into it!!

Barbell Squat 1RM

In the process of completing my Cert IV in Personal Training, I was lucky enough to be able to do my 1RM’s. It was with 2 instructors, so it was fair dinkum. I only had the chance to do barbell my squat and chest. I will definitely do deadlift at some stage.

I was a little nervous doing my barbell squats as I hadn’t done a free weight squat for over two years. The last time I did free weight squats I could only manage 5 reps at 135kg. During the Gironda Program I used the Powertec Leverage Squat Calf and the Powertec Leg Sled for a majority of my heavy leg work.

The time had come for me to face my demons, a free weight squat. The fella who had gone before had completed a lift of 207.5kg. There was no way I thought I would get anywhere near that. Especially give that I was a relative noob at that exercise.

But I am competitive and did not want to make a goose of myself.  The boys psyched me up and I just went for it. My best barbell squat was 192.5kg which I am really proud of. Considering I did 200kg squats on the Leverage Squat Calf the day before, I think it was a pretty good effort. I might add that there is a leverage advantage on the squat machine so it is nowhere near the same as barbell squats.

My legs were absolutely done after that. They were toast.

More Than One Way To Build Strength In Barbell Squats

I guess it just goes to show that you don’t necessarily have to do free weight exercises to build up your strength or to any sort of strength training. I strongly believe that with the correct program and good equipment, you can get stronger. You just have to push yourself.  I never would have dreamed to lift 192.5kg for a barbell squat 2 years ago, now I’m lifting the bar even higher.

My goal now is to break the 500lb mark by the end of the year. It may be ambitious, but I know that if a keep training with Graham and we keep pushing ourselves to the limit, the world is our oyster.

A Basic Gironda Program

I have written the program below for anybody who wanted to give it a go. I would highly recommend it. But it isn’t a workout you do half assed, you need to put everything into it.

Wide Parallel Dips (Power Rack), Neck Press (IM2000), Shoulder Press (Levergym), Upright Rows (IM2000), Close Grip Bench Press (IM2000) and Tricep Pressdowns (Levergym).

Seated Row (tricep rope)(Functional Trainer), Lat Pulldown (Levergym), Bicep Curl (Curl Machine Accessory), Drag Curls (IM EZ Curl Bar), Wrist Curls (Olympic Bar) and Forearm Curls (Curl Machine Accessory).

Hack Slide (Powertec Leg Sled), Squat (Multi System), Lying Leg Curl (Leg Lift Attachment), Leg Extension (Leg Lift Attachment) and Calf Raises (Leg Sled).

We deliberately try and use all of our machines, so we have thorough knowledge of all of our products. But you don’t really need to do this. If you are limited on equipment, just let me know and we can adapt the workout to what equipment you do have.