The 20-rep squat program dates back to 1968, when it was originally called “Squats and Milk.” At the time, lifters would drink a gallon of milk a day while they followed it! The fact is, no matter the name it goes by, the 20-rep squat program delivers results and many top bodybuilders have built some extremely impressive sets of wheels following it over the last four decades.

Here’s the routine:

Day 1: Legs and abs

Exercise Set Reps
Barbell squats 1 20
Dumbbell pullovers 3 10
Leg extensions 2 8-10
Standing calf raises 4 8-10
Crunches 3 50

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Chest, shoulders, triceps and abs

Exercise Set Reps
Bench presses 3 failure
Incline-bench presses 3 failure
Dumbbell flyes 3 failure
Military presses 3 8-10
Lateral raise 3 8-10
Close-grip bench presses 2 8-10
Pushdowns 3 8-10
Crunches 3 50

Day 4: Off

Day 5: Back, biceps and abs

Exercise Set Reps
Barbell deadlifts 3 failure
Bent-over barbell rows 3 8-10
Chin-ups 3 8-10
EZ-bar curls 2 8-10
Crunches 3 50

Day 6: Off

Day 7: Off


  1. Train the lower body twice per week, once with the 20-rep barbell squat routine and the other with something without squats (deadlifts).
  2. With the 20-rep squat routine, perform the first workout with a resistance that normally challenges you for 12 repetitions. Get 20 reps.
  3. For each succeeding 20-rep squat workout, add 5 to 10 pounds on the bar and find a way to accomplish 20 reps.
  4. Follow this routine only for 6 weeks, then train normally for 6 weeks before tackling this routine again.