Squats And Milk : Old School Bulk Up Strategy

The 20 rep squat program is one of the oldest lifting programs there is. It was introduced by John McCallum in 1968 and was originally coined “Squats and Milk” because old school lifters would drink a gallon of milk a day (GOMAD) while on it. Tom Platz used 20 rep squats as a staple in his routine and had some of the biggest and strongest legs on the planet.

This Squats And Milk program is not for the mentally weak individual. It will test your will power and bring you to a threshold that will either make or break you. One of the reasons why this routine works so well is the “breathing squats”.

Generally around rep 15 or so you’ll be out of breath, legs burning, telling yourself this was a horrible idea while you stand there with the weight on your back. At this point the reps come few and far between as you muster up the strength to squat out another rep. These last few reps result in the strength and hypertrophy that make this routine legendary.

Gallons Of Milk…


GOMAD, or gallon of milk a day, has been a method used by weightlifters for decades. It is a technique used to gain vast amounts weight and strength quickly. It fits with the 20 rep squat program so well because all of the extra protein and calories make it ideal for recovery.

If you can manage to do gomad for six weeks you will definitely reap the full benefits of the 20 rep squat program. You are still fully capable of making progress without it as long as you are eating enough and meeting your protein requirements.

20-Reps Of Hell…

For this routine you will be squatting 3 times a week with one set of 20 repetitions each workout. Your goal is to add five pounds to your 20 rep max each training session. This program is only 6 weeks long so you have to go all out every training session.

To determine your starting weight, figure out your 5RM(5 rep max) and subtract 5lb from every workout from the 6-week period. If your 5RM is 300lb and you train three times a week for the six weeks, your starting weight would be 210lb. The difference is 90lb, so your goal after 6 weeks will be to squat 20 reps with the 300lb. It sounds made up, but a lot of elite lifters and strength coaches can vouch for it’s authenticity, including Mark Rippetoe.

“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.”– Mark Rippetoe


The Complete Program…

1. Press behind neck 3 x 12
2. Squat 1 x 20
3. Pullover 1 x 20
4. Bench press 3 x 12
5. Rowing 3 x 15
6. Stiff legged deadlift 1 x 15
7. Pullover 1 x 20

Are You Ready?

You should start your program with a brief warmup. Spend about five minutes bending and twisting, doing light repetition snatches or cleans, sit-ups, running in place, and so on. Don’t wear yourself out on the warmup. Just get your blood moving and a good feeling about the whole thing.

Your first exercise is the press behind the neck. Do three sets of twelve reps. Don’t be frightened by the relatively high reps, and don’t be stampeded into using low rep stuff. The value of low reps has been greatly exaggerated. Moderately high reps, properly used, provide umpteen times the growth stimulation, and are so much better for your health that comparisons become ridiculous.

Do the presses in strict style with a medium width grip. Work hard on them and try to force the poundage way up. There’s no use kidding yourself on this or any other exercise. If you use baby sized weights, then you can expect baby sized muscles. It’s as simple as that and there’s no way out of it.

If you want respectable deltoid, trapezius, and triceps development, then you’ve got to work up to about three-quarters of your body weight for the twelve reps. That means around 105 pounds for a 140 pound man, 120 pounds for a 160 pound man, 150 pounds for a 200 pound man, and so on. Nothing less will do. If you think it will, forget it.

Now, warm up your knees with a few free squats and then start right in on the heavy stuff. Take three huge gulping breaths between each rep. Hold the last breath and squat. Blast the air out violently as you come erect. Hold your head up and keep your back as flat as possible. Don’t go below parallel position. You should use a weight so heavy that the last five reps are doubtful.

150% of your bodyweight for twenty reps is rock bottom minimum. That means 300 pounds for a 200 pound man. And remember, that’s a minimum figure. You should figure on going well above that.

As soon as you finish the squats, do twenty pullovers with a light weight. Twenty pounds or so is plenty. All you want to do is give your rib box a good stretch. The next exercise is the bench press. This exercise has been published enough so that you shouldn’t need any special instruction on it. Do three sets in a rather loose style. The next exercise is bent over rowing. Do three sets of fifteen in very strict style. Rest your forehead on a block or lean it against a post or something to make sure you don’t cheat. Use a medium width grip and pull the bar to your lower abdomen.

The next exercise is the stiff legged deadlift. One set of fifteen reps. Do the deadlifts standing on a bench or a high block so that you can go all the way down without the plates hitting the floor. Concentrate on a full extension and contraction of your lower back. Don’t set the weight down when you finish the fifteen reps. Stand erect and do shoulder shrugs until you grip gives out. You should be able to get at least a dozen shrugs out of it. Do another set of light pullovers, twenty reps, after the deadlifts and shrugs.

Work hard on all the exercises, and work to your limit on the squats. Drink milk as suggested earlier. Get lots of rest and sleep. Maintain a calm, tranquil mind and start saving your money. You’ll need it to buy bigger clothes.

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