For no particularly good reason I want to write about something that has already had endless words written about it and that I probably won’t contribute much meaningfully “new” to the topic on. But so it goes. That topic is the 20 rep squat (sometimes called more specifically the 20 rep breathing squat). This is kind of the original rest-pause training, an entire book has been written about it although if you gain 30 lbs in 6 weeks, it’s not gonna be mostly muscle, and I imagine most have at least heard of it.
But I’m hoping not to make this just the same old generic article that everyone has seen. Yes, I want to look at the 20 rep squat in a general sense, in terms of how it is done but I also want to look at variations and a couple of things about it that many may not be aware of. I’m sure, as is my wont (what the hell does that even mean), I’ll tangent into some other random stuff too.
What is The 20 Rep Squat?
So what is the 20 rep squat, anyhow? Based on the name you’d think it was just some generic set of 20 repetitions but that’s not an accurate description. As stated above, it’s really the first rest-pause approach (that I know of anyhow) and you will typically see something to the effect of “Take your best 10 repetition maximum weight and grind out 20 reps” with it to describe that set. Let’s look at that first.
By definition, you can’t do 20 repetitions with a 10 repetition maximum (RM) weight. If you could, it would be your 20 RM. And this would be true if you were using that 10RM weight in a relatively continuous, no major rest between repetitions way. But again this is rest-pause training and that’s not how the set is meant to be done. But even here there are two traditional ways that the set has been done.