Book Notes – Squat Every Day by Matt Perryman

Wanted to try writing some notes to recap some of the books I’ve been reading as a means to rehash the knowledge and have a means to understand what I read, as well as have a reference if I need to look back later.

Squat Every Day by Matt Perryman provides a training philosophy around frequent training over the standard minimalist high intensity training used by many strength athletes.

His approach looks closer to what I’ve seen in high level weightlifting as opposed to powerlifting.

History

Daily training has been used in the past – lifters such as Bob Peoples on record saying his training was “daily training with a few exercises and working up to limit poundages of 3-5 reps.”

In addition, there are ties to the Bulgarian style of training, which incorporates minimal assistance exercises and used the snatch, clean and jerk, and squat to maximal levels on a daily basis.

Ego Depletion (Finite Willpower)

A section of the book talks about the idea of finite willpower, and how it can affect training. Ego depletion is the idea there is a certain pool of willpower, and making conscious decisions regularly will “tired” one out. For instance, having to work hard on a challenging mental task throughout the day can make a workout feel more challenging. Within time, effects of ego depletion can be minimized with regular training (regular exposure to stressful events, if managed correctly, make the events less stressful).

Reading Wikipedia above makes this premise seem uncertain, but it’s worth considering in trying to make sure one optimizes themselves and considers the mental aspect of their training.

A takeaway from this is that training combines both the mental and physical.

Temperament, Reactiveness, and Training

When considering the general temperament of an individual (introversion/extroversion), this can show up in how training stimulus affects the individual:

  • Introverts
    • Tend to be high reactors, respond highly to external and training stimulus.
    • Not naturally active.
    • May be better with more frequent training with less intensity.
  • Extroverts
    • Tend to be low reactors, needing more stimulus to feel a response.
    • Naturally active.
    • May be better with higher intensity and longer rest training, as they prefer and need higher intensities.

Training Structure

Base Structure:

  • 5-6 workouts a week (flexible, can be anywhere for 3-7 days a week)
  • 1 hour each
  • 1-2 main lifts (generally structured as squat and press, or press and pull)
  • 1-3 assistance lifts (core, arms)

Hit a benchmark “minimum” for each lift, and work past that. Focus on smooth movement over grindy and slow.

When jumping up in lifts, two general styles:

  • Big jumps – good for exercises frequently done (squats)
  • Smaller jumps – provides extra practice at cost of energy & time (generally more useful for pressing movements)

Start using 2-3 back off sets when feeling ready (if in doubt, say no).

Advice

  • Reductionism (act of breaking things down and simplifying) doesn’t always apply in all systems. Too many things going on to explain each detail.
  • Willpower is ultimately finite but can be trained over time.
  • Goal is to reduce emotional intensity – lifting should be level, not up and down. Relaxation is a skill since it conserves emotional energy.
  • Body is a garden, not a factory (use a bottom-up approach for experimentation, not top-down approach (highly planned)). Guiding a process as opposed to managing.
  • Do your best not to have total stoppage in training (better to go very light than to completely take time off). Hurts motivation much more, and falling out of habit is hard to recover from.
  • Focus on the process, not the achievement.
  • Think practice, not working out. The focus is to build lots of “work” over a large amount of working sessions as opposed to working yourself hard in one session. Regular training promotes treating training as a “skill”.

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