A Google search for "squat routine" will return a flood of results. Most of these are from Internet "experts" and paper pushers who have never properly squatted their own body weight. I chose to ignore the advice of those who have never been there, and instead opted for a route that led to me to a 700-pound squat. Boom, son!
How did I do it? Plain and simple: If you want to be really strong, and if you want the kind of muscle density that would make "The Situation" cower in fear, then you need to study and learn all you can about Westside Barbell and Louie Simmons.
Louie is a legend in the strength game. He coached the best, he's been the best, and is revered by everyone who ever stepped foot on a powerlifting platform. If there's anyone who knows strength, it's Louie Simmons. Naturally, when I wanted my own Herculean squat, I sought him out in his legendary gym: Westside Barbell.
Win the Westside Way
Westside is the Mecca of powerlifting gyms. In a world where 400-pound squats to depth are rarely seen, Louie has filled Westside with behemoths regularly squatting 1000-plus, benching 900, and deadlifting more than 850. This is an exclusive group of strength athletes, and it is not the type of club where you can walk through the front door and pay your $10 monthly fee to use treadmills with televisions on them. There are no signs or advertisements. You train by invitation only.
When I strolled through the door, I was fresh off a photo shoot. Lean, tan, and a mean 185 pounds, I entered the trenches of grizzled barbell warriors. Believe me, it was as intimidating as any situation I've been in.
I knew Louie, so he said he would help me out, as he does with most anyone who wants to get strong. Still, it didn't stop me from being ambitious.
Me: "I want to get into powerlifting! I want to squat at Westside."
Louie, smirking: "Skinny Cory wants to squat at Westside?"
Yes, skinny Cory wanted to squat at Westside. I wasn't ready yet, but the journey started. I studied, researched, and read everything I could regarding Louie and the Westside Method. I immediately started eating more and my diet looked a lot more like the "Get Swoll Diet," plus some weekend cheating. I ballooned up to 210 pounds and my strength skyrocketed.
My training focused on building fundamental speed, technique, and strength in my squatting. I would do 8 sets of 2 reps, followed by speed deadlifts against bands (6 sets of 1 rep), again focusing on speed. This workout was always finished with sled drags, a great conditioning tool to end the training day.
Note: You can add other assistance work (leg curls, reverse hyper, lunges, etc.) if desired. Add these moves before the sled drags. This is a great beginner workout for people starting on the Westside program.
Ready to Rock
After plenty of hours under the bar, Louie finally thought I was ready to train at Westside. I remember that day clearly; it was an incredible honor. On my first day, I squatted 410 pounds of bar weight with 220 pounds of band pressure off a box. It looked like a train wreck, but at the top it was more than 600 pounds!
It was amazing. I felt like I had arrived and it simply made me even more hungry, figuratively and literally. I kept training at Westside occasionally and continued to learn from Louie, officially squatting 610 pounds at a meet weighing 210. A year later, I got my 700-pound squat, weighing just 208 pounds. That day I also benched 480 pounds and had a 575-pound deadlift for a 1,755-pound total.
In two short years, I had gone from a photo shoot weighing 185 pounds to squatting 700 and pulling nearly 600 pounds. It was an incredible ride and I learned a great deal, getting very strong in the process.