20 Rep Breathing Squats Routine

The 20 rep breathings squats routine is brutal and comes from the days when men were men because steroids were not available as easily as they are today. It was originally developed in 1968 by John McCallum and was called the "Squats and Milk" workout because the bodybuilders at the time would drink a gallon milk on the days this workout was done.

The 20 rep squat routine is squatting 3 X week using one set of 20 reps, sometimes 2 sets but on different body-parts like when doing breathing squats one would do a set of 20 reps with squats and then do 20 pull-overs. The 20 rep routine listed below should be done 3 times a week for a maximum of 6 weeks.

It takes it out of you not only because you are squatting three times a week but because you are increasing the weight you squat every workout by 5 pounds every time you squat. You can work out what your starting weight should be by working out what your own 5RM (5 rep max) is.

You then need to subtract 5 pounds X 18 because you'll be doing 18 workouts over 6 weeks. This equals 6-week training multiplied by 3 times a week which means that if your 5 RM is 300lbs your starting weight will be 210lb. Strength coaches like Mark Rippetoe have been using this method for years.

You can easily make up your own three-day training routine as long as you make sure that you do one set of 20 squats three times a week. Below is a list of a few popular 20 rep training routines including the original one used in 1968 by John McCallum.


Behind-the-Neck Press - 3 sets of 12 reps
Squat - 1 set of 20 reps
Pull-Overs - 1 set of 20 reps
Bench Press - 3 sets of 12 reps
Bent-over Rows - 3 sets of 15 reps
Stiff-legged Deadlift - 1 set of 15 reps


Squat - 1 set of 20 reps
Pull-Overs - 1 set of 20 reps
Overhead press - 2 sets of 10 reps
Power cleans - 2 sets of 5 reps


Power Cleans - 5 sets of 5 reps
Squat - 1 set of 20 reps
Military Press - 2-3 sets of 12 reps
Chin-ups - 2 sets to failure
Dips - 2 sets of 10 reps
Conventional Deadlifts - 1 set of 15 reps


Squat - 1 set of 20 reps
Pull-Overs - 1 set of 20 reps
Bench Press - 2-3 sets of 10 reps
Bent-over Rows - 2-3 sets of 15 reps

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