How much should I Back Squat

How much should I Back Squat? That is one of the most persistent questions I have heard over the last years.

While it is definitely a good idea to have guidelines and benchmarks on how much you should Back Squat, the answer to this question isn’t that easy.

This article and video answers the questions:

The answer to the question of how much you should squat can be manifold, therefore I will look at the different aspects of training frequency, training volume and strength standards.

Let dive right into it.

How much should I Back Squat in a week

Olympic Weightlifters squat every day, or better they squat multiple times a day, usually combinations of Back Squats and Front Squats. This has led to the popular squat everyday program, which entertains the idea of squatting every day to better strength gains.

Whilst this approach is appropriate for Olympic Weightlifters, it might not be the right approach for athletes.

Why is that?

Olympic Weightlifters are evaluated in the competition by how much weight they can lift from the ground overhead. For Olympic Weightlifters the Squat, whether it’s a Back Squat or a Front Squat is an essential training exercise, hence they train squats frequently.

Why is squatting every day not the best idea for athletes?

For most athletes lifting weights is a means to an end of becoming better in their dedicated sport. If we would now prescribe squatting every day, we would have to make sacrifices in other areas. Strictly speaking, we have to replace other training by strength training workouts focused around squatting. For most sports that would not be the right strategy, since the sacrifices in other areas or replacing other training would come to the detriment of their sporting performances.

While the question would still stand out, how much should you Back Squat ina week in order to get the greatest adaptations?

For most athletes and people who strength train ambitiously a frequency of 3 sessions per week is sufficient if it is done correctly.

For most athletes and people who strength train ambitiously a frequency of 3 sessions per week is sufficient if it is done correctly.

So, what means done correctly?

If you have read articles from me before, you know I believe technical mastery comes first. The first step in training correctly and using the Back Squat as an example is to learn and master the Back Squat technique.

Once the Back Squat technique is mastered, you need to have a well-designed program for a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks. The more advanced the athletes are, the shorter the program can be since they have a solid base to start off. A well-designed program includes changes in training intensity and training volume, typically training intensity increases over time, while training volume decreases.

If you chose to squat 3 times per week, as I do with my athletes, you can think about changing the exercises throughout the week. You can certainly do 3 times a week Back Squats, but you can also do Back Squats on day 1, a single leg variation on day 2, and Front Squats on day 3. There are different exercises to choose from and all of those have their place in training, depending on the training goal and desired training outcome.

If you want to dive deeper into that topic, check out How often should I Back Squat as an athlete, a dedicated section to plan your training in the article How often should I Back Squat.

How much Back Squat volume is necessary, let’s talk sets and reps

One of the big advantages of the Back Squat is that it’s what I call a ‘robust exercise’, which means you can use it through a wide variety of repetition schemes from 1 repetition up to multiple repetitions, 15, 20, 30 or more if you desire to.

As opposed to the Front Squat or Overhead Squat, which are squatting variations that just make higher repetitions more difficult. I have written about the difficulties of higher repetition for the Front Squat and Overhead Squat here

Check out this example of a 10-rep maximum Back Squat at 2-times bodyweight from double Olympian Twan van Gendt

Therefore the Back Squat is an exercise you can use for all different training goals, increase strength and power, improve strength endurance, and getting bigger.

The Back Squat is an exercise you can use for all different training goals, increase strength and power, improve strength endurance, and getting bigger.

You can use the Back Squat to

  • improve Maximum Strength, working with intensities above 85% 1RM for 1 – 3 reps
  • improve Power, working with a wide variety of intensities between 0 – 70% 1RM for 2 – 6 reps (if you are wondering why there is such a wide variety of intensities, I have explained that in this article The Importance Weight Training Has On Power )
  • improve Strength Endurance, working with intensities below 60% 1RM for 15 or more reps (Strength Endurance comes in different forms, very similar to Power with different training intensity zones and repetition schemes, which will be a topic of a future article)
  • to get bigger, working with intensities of 80 – 85% 1RM for 4 – 6 reps for functional hypertrophy (or myofibrillar hypertrophy / growth) or 65 – 80% 1RM for 6 – 12 reps for non-functional hypertrophy (or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy / growth)

How much should I Back Squat for my body weight?

Finally, I get to the point of how much you should Back Squat for your bodyweight, right?

Please check out the Back Squat standards, that I have found by working with my athletes for more than 10 years.

Back Squat standards

Back Squat standards

As you can see from the Back Squat standard chart, every female can achieve a 1-time bodyweight Back Squat, and male 1.5 times bodyweight. For women, a 1.5-time bodyweight Back Squat is a very good result, and for males a 2-time bodyweight Back Squat is a very good result. Remember, not everyone can be a Twan van Gendt, the example from above, where Twan Back Squattetd 2-times bodyweight for 10 reps.

I have discussed the Back Squat standards in more detail in the article The Fundamentals of the Back Squat.

Also, check out the Back Squat standards from

How much should I Back Squat conclusion

Every ambitiously training person and the athlete can benefit from 3 weekly Squat training sessions. Whilst you don’t necessarily need to Back Squat in every session, you can rotate the squat variations throughout the week.

The Back Squat is a ‘robust exercise’ which means, that the Back Squat can effectively be trained through different repetition ranges, from 1 repetition to 20 or more repetitions, if you desire to.

The Back Squat standards range from a 1-time bodyweight for females and a 1.5-times bodyweight for males to more than 1.5-times bodyweight for females and more than 2-times bodyweight for males.