View Full Version : Dr. Squat 80 day cycle with RTS - experience so far and questions

03-16-2013, 11:49 AM
Firstly, thanks Mike for publishing this, I've really enjoyed it so far and also appreciate learning about Dr. Hatfield. Having now hit day 40 and what looks like a clear break from volume to lower rep work it seems like an opportune time to examine what's happened so far and ask a couple of things.


i. This does seem to be an excellent introduction to using RTS, I've read the manual and tried to apply the RPE concept a bit but it's nice to just concentrate on being accurate with those rather than too much fiddling with programming. I'd also been thinking about static overloads but with not much idea how to incorporate them so that's also been useful.

ii. Volume is higher than I expected, more a lesson in what my abilities to repeat heavy efforts are than anything else, often takes a lot of sets to hit the fatigue levels. Previously I've mostly used 5/3/1 with some detours into Dan John's MMS and 40 day workouts.

iii. That volume does make it feel like I've cleaned my form up and getting in the groove then grinding is feeling a lot better.

iv. RPE of 7 has been the hardest thing to judge, the flowchart is helping with this and beginning to spot my personal indicators, but it's a lot trickier than 9 and 10. Although that said I've been reminded how much I love doing moderate squat doubles, always walk away feeling very athletic afterwards.

v. In terms of structure, it seems fairly resilient to the minor day moves I've had to make to accommodate work commitments although psychologically I still prefer a 2/3/4 day a week split than the rolling way this works. I'm also seriously ready to go to lower reps now, especially after the 6 rep max workouts.


Training log here https://www.evernote.com/pub/tghaddon/gymwork

Broadly though, squat is back up to as good as it's ever been and much better than when I tested before starting the program. Bench and deadlift massive improvement, 10kg improvement on my lifetime triple in the bench (actually for 4 in this) and 10kg on my five rep deadlift (I'm also now resetting rather than going touch and go). Looking forward to seeing what happens with the lower rep work next now.


i. Day 51 - is there a typo here? Bench doubles at a 9 4-6% are prescribed, but that's a repeat of day 41 and doesn't match the triples at a 10 in the deadlift and squat on days 53 and 56.

ii. Could I get some views on linking this cycle to competing for the first time? I'm planning on retesting maxes with a mock meet on the 27th April and have identified a meet on the 19th May, membership cheque has just been posted and I'm waiting for an entry form.

My initial thought was to just repeat the tail end of the program, if restarting on the 1st May then redoing days 66-80 would fit quite neatly and that would have heavy double work on all three lifts. Would that work, or should I be considering a different kind of mini-cycle?

I've waffled a lot through that, but if there's any other particular observations that would be useful I'd be happy to share.


03-16-2013, 01:10 PM
I think asking Mike on Facebook and tag this link to your post might help too.

Mike Tuchscherer
03-18-2013, 10:01 AM
Nah, I read the forum all I can! I just don't always have time to give the replies that some of these questions need.

1) good stuff. I agree with you.
2) That's a fantastic lesson! It takes hard work to build a monster. I'm glad you're putting it in!
3) Exactly! Strength is a skill. If you wanted to get really good at shooting freethrows you wouldn't just shoot 8-10 free throws a couple times a week. You'd shoot tons of free throws everyday. In lifting, we have muscle damage to contend with, but the more you train, the better your body gets at recovery.

4) I actually revised the flow chart a bit that makes it a bit more intuitive. I'll post it up in a bit.
5) I hear you. I prefer a fixed (or at least weekly) schedule too. But I wanted to keep it as true to the original as the RTS mods would allow.

1) Nope, not a typo. Just a shift in the programming.
2) Tough question in this context. Since you're having such good results with this style of programming, I'd continue in a similar vein. I think you have four weeks, so what I'd do is set up the first two weeks like the "volume block", then the last two like "intensity block". Although in the future, it would be better to know your meet date further in advance. :)
Repeating the tail end of the program is a valid approach considering your situation as well.

06-26-2013, 10:30 AM
Rather after the event, but thought I ought to come back and say how things finished up.

As predicted the lower rep work was a relief after the higher volume part of the programme, I did find I had to cut down on the assistance work though as the heavier weights not that surprisingly seemed to take more out of me.

Results wise, hit 5kg pbs in singles on all three lifts when retesting at the end of the 80 days. For the competition I went with a kind of composite of the volume and intensity block with repeating part of the programme. Couldn't face trying to do the heavy doubles twice over again, so went with a repeat of the x4 @10 workouts and then the last two x2 @10 and static holds just before competition day. At the meet, got a squat 2.5kg off my all time best but missed the third by falling forward, had a disaster on bench by getting my setup wrong and matched all time best on third deadlift, RPE of 9 probably.

Went for max effort on the deadlift in the gym later in the week as it felt like a lot left on the platform and got a single at 200kg for the first time, not earth shattering but a good milestone for me.

On reflection, I enjoyed the system overall, massive impact on deadlift, I think partly just as I've never trained it with that level of volume before and decent results with bench and squat, although more impact on 3-5 reps than singles.

Ended up with a bit of a break from all training due to work commitments but now getting back into it, doing a mixed bag of stuff initially to avoid the psychological issue I always have after a return of feeling stupidly weak when things have dropped down during a lay off. Tempted to just see what happens by repeating the 80 days again, possibly with a few tweaks to the assistance I choose and reducing the amount of belted work a touch. Is that the best plan or do people normally move to using something like the four day plan from the manual, I'll admit to not being sure which way to go with exercise selection or protocols when I think about that in contrast to the more "plug and play" nature of this plan.