The Stan Efferding Squat Workout!

Stan Efferding was one of the strongest human beings on planet Earth. He set numerous powerlifting world records including the all-time powerlifting world record total in the 275 pound weight class.

Stan squatted 865 pounds, bench pressed 600 pounds and deadlifted 835 pounds for a total of 2,303  pounds. Talk about incredible!

Stan Efferding was strong in all three of the power lifts but he is best known for his squatting strength. Stan’s best squat in competition was 865 pounds but he squatted as much as 905 pounds in during his meet prep cycle. Here is a video of Stan’s 905 pound squat:

How on Earth does anyone get this strong? Stan Efferding had been training for longer than 20 years when he set his powerlifting world records. He is the first person to tell you that it took many years of hard work before he reached his full potential.

As Stan became stronger and stronger he found that he needed more rest in between his workouts to make optimal progress. In his prime Stan trained 2 days per week using a modified version of The Lilliebridge Method to prepare for his powerlifting competitions. Yes, you read that right: Stan was training twice per week when he squatted 905 pounds in training!

Here was Stan’s exact powerlifting training split:

Stan Efferding’s Powerlifting Training Split

  • Monday: Bench Press
  • Saturday: Squat / Deadlift

That’s it! When Stan Efferding trained for his bodybuilding competitions he trained using a modified 6-day push / pull / legs split. However, when it was time to set powerlifting world records he cut back to two heavy workouts per week.

Stan trained his lower body every Saturday. He actually alternated between a squat-focused workout and a deadlift-focused workout every week. For example:

Stan’s Squat / Deadlift Training Schedule

  • Week 1: Squat
  • Week 2: Deadlift
  • Week 3: Squat
  • Week 4: Deadlift

And so on. When Stan squatted 905 pounds he was only squatting twice per week! Eric Lilliebridge and the Lilliebridge family popularized this training schedule many years ago. Many world-class powerlifters find they get their best results training this way.

Stan Efferding designed his powerlifting meet prep cycles using a very simple form of linear periodization. He performed moderately heavy triples towards the beginning of his training cycle and slowly increased the weights until he was performing maximal singles right before his competition.

Here is one example for how Stan designed his meet prep cycles:

Stan Efferding Squat / Deadlift Training Cycle

  • Week 1: Deadlift = 80% x 3
  • Week 2: Squat = 80% x 3
  • Week 3: Deadlift = 84% x 3
  • Week 4: Squat = 84% x 3
  • Week 5: Deadlift = 88% x 2
  • Week 6: Squat = 88% x 2
  • Week 7: Deadlift = 92% x 2
  • Week 8: Squat = 92% x 2
  • Week 9: Deadlift = 96% x 1
  • Week 10: Squat = 96% x 1
  • Week 11: Deload Week
  • Week 12: Competition Week!

These percentages are based off of the weight that Stan wants to hit in his powerlifting meet. For example if Stan wants to squat 900 pounds in competition (and he thinks this is realistic!) then he would use 720 pounds for a triple in his first squat workout.

In his prime Stan competed both as a professional bodybuilder and powerlifter. He alternated back and forth between bodybuilding competitions and powerlifting competitions so he always started his powerlifting training cycles with lower training percentages while his strength shot back up.

Now let’s look at a typical Stan Efferding powerlifting squat workout. Check it out:

Stan Efferding Squat Workout

  • A1: Back squat (competition stance), 3 x 1**, 2/0/X/0, 3-5 minutes rest
  • B1: Leg press against bands, 2 x 8-10, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Lying leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / neutral), 2 x 10-12, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Barbell bent over row, 2 x 8-10, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 2 x 10-12, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed at 85%, 93% and 100% of his target weight for that day.

Here is a great video of Stan Efferding squatting with Eric Lilliebridge. Check it out:

Stan Efferding keeps his squat workouts nice and simple. He works up to some heavy singles, doubles or triples on the squat and then performs some higher-rep accessory work for all of the key squatting muscles.

Some of you may be thinking that Stan doesn’t use enough volume or frequency to make optimal progress. After all, how can Stan set powerlifting world records training the squat once every 2 weeks? There are a few things to keep in mind.

Stan Efferding is an elite level powerlifter and one of the strongest men on the planet. He creates very deep inroads into his recovery ability every time he trains. If he doesn’t keep his volume and frequency relatively low then he can’t recover from his workouts – it’s as simple as that.

You also have to understand that Stan spent most of his time training for bodybuilding competitions. When Stan trained like a bodybuilder he trained twice a day, six days per week and directly trained every muscle group twice per week. His volume and frequency were off the charts!

When Stan transitioned from his bodybuilding style of training into his powerlifting style of training he already had an enormous foundation of size, conditioning and work capacity.

He didn’t need to waste his time performing a whole bunch of high-rep assistance work. All he needed to do was perform the main competition lift followed by a few accessory exercises and go home.

I’m not saying you can’t use a higher-volume training program to prepare for your next powerlifting meet. Guys like Josh Bryant, Chad Wesley Smith and Dan Greene make their living coaching people with high-volume programs.

However, for Stan Efferding this lower volume / frequency approach was just what he needed to set powerlifting world records in the squat and to become one of the strongest men on planet Earth.

If you want to learn more about Stan Efferding’s unique approach to training then check out the following articles:

Let’s wrap this up with one of my favourite quotes by Stan Efferding on training:

“Don’t chase the 1%, there is no magic training routine or diet that’s going to provide any measurable results over the basic principles for getting huge and strong: Train heavy, eat and sleep more.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen

I am the creator and owner of Revolutionary Program Design. I help advanced athletes take their training to the next level and achieve results they never imagined possible.

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