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Become Strong & Successful with Tom Hibbert

Winning Performance Articles

Norwegian Method (Multi-Frequency Squat)

The Multi-Frequency approach has been around for some time now, and with good reason, as it produces results. It was first brought to my attention from the data & program by Dietmar Wolf, who was the Powerlifting Coach of Carl Yngvar Christensen and Head Coach of the Norwegian Powerlifting Team. Those that are unware, Carl Yngvar achieved a 1,230kg Total (490/350/390) in November 2014. This was a World Record at the time in the IPF 120kg+ Equipped category.

The Premise of the System is Simple: Squat more, to Squat more!

The Squat can be trained like a skill. Take juggling for instance, if you wanted to improve your juggling would juggle once a week? Probably not, and if done correctly the squat can be utilised multiple times a week. As I say often, Success Leaves Clues, and I find more clues within the systems of Olympic Weightlifting.

By checking the data of many Olympic Weightlifters, the frequency at which they squat, and the end results, you see a correlation of squatting frequency and 1RM’s. Other benefits of this system are the sub-maximal nature of the squats. Squatting sub-maximally would reduce the chance of injury, allow a greater pool of squats to ensure development through the full strength curve, enable increased focused on your weakness and increase your work capacity. It is most certainly a system based on patience. Adhering to the proper RPE or % of 1RM will lead to sustained results and less issues walking down hills.

Weekly Overview

  • 1: Low Volume & Intensity
  • 2: Average Volume & Intensity
  • 3: Correct % to Weight
  • 4: All Out

Weekly RPE Overview

  • 1: 6 out of 10
  • 2: 7 out of 10
  • 3: 8 out of 10
  • 4: 9-10 out of 10

Back Squat

  • Week 1: 3 x 8 reps @ 60%
  • Week 2: 4 x 7 reps @ 65%
  • Week 3: 5 x 6 reps @ 70%
  • Week 4: 2 x 5 reps @ 75%
  • Week 5: 3 x 8 reps @ 70%
  • Week 6: 4 x 7 reps @ 75%
  • Week 7: 5 x 6 reps @ 80%
  • Week 8: 2 x 5 reps @ 85%
  • Week 9: 5,3,2 reps (Squat Twice)

Front Squat

  • Week 1: 3 x 6 reps @ 62%
  • Week 2: 4 x 5 reps @ 69%
  • Week 3: 5 x 4 reps @ 76%
  • Week 4: 2 x 3 reps @ 83%
  • Week 5: 3 x 5 reps @ 72%
  • Week 6: 4 x 4 reps @ 79%
  • Week 7: 5 x 3 reps @ 86%
  • Week 8: 2 x 2 reps @ 93%
  • Week 9: 5,3,2 reps (Squat Twice)

Looking at the original program above you’ll notice a few things. Each week we drop a rep & add a set, slowly increasing intensity, and on the 4th week we have a de-load in volume. The Front Squat starts at a higher percentage and also increases by a larger amount week to week. This is how it best responds to loading. Now the original program also calls for squatting 5 times a week & twice a day. It is best advised to titrate up the dosage. If you’re only used to squatting twice a week then just go to 3.

Learning patience both with increasing the frequency & upping the weights will see better results in the long term. With frequency, the ability to tolerate is the key principle. You’ll notice on the repetitions if you compare them to the %’s that’s there’s a big gap. Meaning reps will be left in the tank. That is key. When it comes to the second cycle (week 5-8), you’ll pick different squats and switch the order up completely. Constantly working in these %’s will ensure it’s light enough for you to work on your technique. Remember, co-ordination is the first part of strength.

When it comes to adding assistance gear, I adhere to the principle of ‘Strong without, Stronger with’. So, why not got through a period of no-no-no squats? Your joints will actually thank you, contrary to popular belief. Worst case, only add in belt & wraps in the 4th week of each cycle which calls for you to go all out. Also ensure you’re picking squats with a variety of strength curves and according to your weakness. It may change each cycle but you’ll experience the ability to be strong throughout a full strength with no sticking points.

Conclusion

The biggest battle and also the biggest reward are one and the same. You need to get used to squatting lighter weights, but stay calm & at ease in the fact that it will transfer to a bigger squat at the end of it. Here’s a personal example: I had a 225kg squat for reps in competition. During the build up I didn’t use wraps once nor did I squat over 200kg. Come the competition I hit 9 reps in wraps for a joint event win.

I could have & nearly did put in some program examples and written for a lot longer than my allocated time for this article…but then you’re not going to experience the full learning effect and I’d rather teach you the principles and how than simply roll out a program. I look forward to hearing about your results!

Bonus Tip: For Increased Success, consider what you’re doing for neurotransmitter control