Marc Bartley’s Squat Routine

TAGS: spud, marc bartley, max effort method, squat, powerlifting, strength training, barbell, training

Squatting big in a meet is every powerlifter’s dream. For some, it can make or break the meet. The big squat sets the tone for the meet. This is truly the case for me. Therefore, my focus is always on the BIG SQUAT.

I only squat once a week, which as you will see, is enough by itself. On squat night, every Wednesday, 15–20 guys show up and controlled chaos ensues. The only thing on everyone’s mind is the BIG SQUAT. At the Maximus Compound, we currently have four 1000 lb plus squatters (almost five at the APF Seniors), two 900 lbs plus squatters, two 800 lbs plus squatters, and a fresh young crop who are eager to take our place at the top.

The following routine has proven very effective in producing large gains in a very short period of time. This program has no fancy names attached to it. It is simply a hybrid of different training strategies that work very well together. The 12-week routine consists of three consecutive three-week waves, two deload weeks, and the rest/meet week. You can add an extra deload week after each three-week wave if you need more rest. If you follow it, you will get stronger without a doubt.

The first three-week wave is a strength-speed cycle, or as I call it, Super Band Tension torture, where extreme amounts of band tension and low bar weights are employed. We use the boxes, which are parallel or slightly below in height. Briefs and belts are the only gear allowed. The band tension will provide two thirds of the weight and one third will be regular weight. Each blue band yields about 100–125 lbs. Green bands are around 70–100 lbs and purple are 50–75 lbs, each with a slipknot at the bottom. The total tension at the top should be 15–20 percent over your best 1RM. When you reach the box, it should be reduced by one third, making the load manageable but frying your brain in the process. This is the only box squat in the cycle. The rest are regular squats.

The second three-week wave is an old Russian routine slightly modified. Bar weights will range from 65–85 percent each week over the three weeks. There are five work sets with the following reps: five, three, three, three, and five. You can wear briefs but only on sets one, two, and five. Sets three and four are the meat and potato sets. On these sets, wear a belt with your briefs. Once you determine your start weight, simply add 30–50 lbs per set through set four and then go back down to the weight for set two for the five rep final set.

The third three-week phase is to adjust to squatting in full gear. I like to get within 20 lbs of my opening attempt in the first week and then work down the next two weeks. This way I still get gear work, but I don’t kill myself before getting to the meet.

The final three weeks consist of two deload weeks and the rest/meet week. I only use briefs and a belt, and I keep the bar weight at 55–65 percent of my 1RM. The following is my exact training schedule prior to the 2005 WPO Super Finals where I squatted a PR of 1058 lbs.

Super band tension box squatting

Week 1: two blue bands and one green band each side with 375 lbs (35%), five sets of two reps

Week 2:  three blue bands with 325 lbs bar weight (30%), five sets of two reps

Week 3:  three blue bands, one purple with 285 lbs bar weight (27%), three sets of two reps, 415 X 1 (39%), 505 X 1 (48%)

Each workout is followed by deadlifts or good mornings, reverse hypers, glute ham raises, and ab work. The assistance work stays the same throughout the entire cycle.

Russian routine (B=belt, NB=no belt)

Week 4

NB, 685 X 5 reps (65%)

NB, 735 X 3 (69%)

B, 775 X 3 (73%)

B, 825 X 3 (78%)

NB, 735 X 5 (69%)

Week 5

NB, 735 X 5 (69%)

NB, 775 X 3 (73%)

B, 825 X 3 (78%)

B, 865 X 3 (82%)

NB, 775 X 5 (73%)

Week 6

NB, 775 X 5 (73%)

NB, 825 X 3 (78%)

B, 865 X 3 (82%)

B, 905 X 3 (85%)

NB, 825 X 5 (78%)

Heavy singles

Week 7

145 X 3 reps X 2 sets

255 X 3 X 2

345 X 3 X 2

455 X 1

Briefs, 545 X 1 (51%), 655 X 1 (62%), 745 X 1 (70%)

Suit with straps down, 855 X 1 (80%)

Full gear, 945 X 1 (89%), 1005 X 1 (95%)

Week 8

145 X 3 X 2

255 X 3 X 2

345 X 3 X 2

455 X 1

Briefs, 545 X 1 (51%), 655 X 1 (62%), 745 X 1 (70%)

Suit with straps down, 855 X 1 (80%)

Full gear, 945 X 1 (89%)

Week 9

145 X 3 X 2

255 X 3 X 2

345 X 3 X 2

455 X 1

Briefs, 545 X 1 (51%), 655 X 1 (62%), 745 X 1 (70%)

Suit with straps down, 855 X 1 (80%)

Full gear, 905 X 1 (85%)

Deload weeks

Week 10

145 X 3 reps X 2 sets

255 X 3 X 2

345 X 3 X 2

455 X 1

Briefs, 545 X 1

Work sets, 655 X 3 reps X 6 sets (62%)

Week11

Same warm-up, work sets 655 X 3 reps X 5 sets (62%)

Meet week

Week12

145 X 3 X 2 sets

225 X 3 X 2

315 X 1

Briefs, 455 X 1, 545 X 1, 655 X 1,745 X 1,

Suit with straps down, 855 X 1

Full gear, 925 X 1

Opener 1014 lbs, second attempt1036 lbs, third attempt 1058 lbs

Marc Bartley is one of the premier 275 lbs lifters in the world and a WPO competitor. At the 2005 Arnold Classic, he squatted a huge 1058 lbs. Marc has been competing in powerlifting for six years and has used the IPA, APF, USAPL, and WPO to showcase his strength. He currently owns Total Gym in South Carolina. Despite his appearance, Marc is a very well-educated man and holds two degrees from the University of South Carolina—one in finance and one in economics. He recently squatted 1124 lbs and has totaled 2652 lbs. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaBarbell.com.

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...