20 Rep Squats - an excerpt from Rips Starting Strength Wiki page
Ball Busters, Breathing Squats, Widowmakers and Man Breakers. These are words used to describe the 20 rep squat. But back in the golden age of bodybuilding, before expensive supplements and better living through chemistry, this is how the old school weight lifters got BIG. If you can suffer though the 6 weeks that it takes to get through this routine you will grow stronger legs and back and even bigger balls. Mark Rippetoe says, "Trust me, if you do an honest 20 rep program, at some point Jesus will talk to you. On the last day of the program, he asked if he could work in." Don't say I didn't warn you.
We are now starting our 4th week
of this old school strength program.
You have to be mentally prepared or you will not make it.
Pain and fear will be there with you, tempting you to stop, telling you to give up.
Your body will be screaming for you to listen to them, and the little voice in your head will be begging you to do cease and desist.
Tell them to shut up.
Squatting these heavy weights for 20 reps will not feel natural for your body. It will hurt. You will feel dizzy and light-headed. Keep breathing. One of the reasons so much growth is stimulated on this program is that the muscles of the upper body are constantly working to support the weight and to fill the lungs with air. Take as many deep breaths as necessary between reps. You will probably want to vomit. Go ahead. 5 bucks off a Crossfit Vancouver t-shirt.
Now, your body may decide to completely shut down and leave you in the bottom or the top of a squat, unable to move. Obviously, safety is of primary concern so get spotters from here on out. Coaches, expect a few in each class to miss...so stay close.