This is a summary of how I ran Paul Carter’s Strong-15 cycle to add 35 lbs to my raw no-wraps squat, going from 465 to 500. This exact progression can be found in his book, Strength Life Legacy. Months ago my schedule forced me into having to get my squatting in early morning. At the time I was running off more RPE style training, but needed to make a switch. Nothing against training using Rating of Perceived Exertion but it is difficult for me to squat effectively in the morning when my body is still stiff, many people can relate to this. I was not moving numbers I was used to moving at night and definitely wasn’t bringing the same intensity. I was starting to get in my head and felt it was time to switch to a program that used percentages and just told me what to squat for the day.
I ran the program with the exact percentages prescribed in the book however I played around with the training maxes. In the book he based the 3 week cycles on numbers you planned to hit at a meet, since I am not peaking for a meet I started the first 3 week cycle with my most recent raw no wrap squat of 465 and slowly upped the training max as each 3 week cycle came around. In the book the program looks like this...
The difference was instead of cycles using percentages of opener, 2nd attempt, and 3rd attempt, I used set numbers of 465, 480, and 500. At the end of the program I took a 500 pound squat attempt which was my goal despite only squatting 465 in training. I felt confident enough to do this because I had a lot of practice taking heavy singles each week and each week I felt my technique get better and the weight move smoother. That is the basis of the program, as the weeks progress you take progressively heavier and heavier singles and have time to improve your efficiency in the lift
These are exactly the weights I used over the course of 10 weeks to bring my squat from 465 to 500
Training Max - 465 lbs
Week 1 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 360 1x, 385 1x, 410 1x, Pause Squats - 300 2x5
Week 2 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 370 1x, 410 1x, 420 1x, Pause Squats - 325 2x5
Week 3 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 410 1x, 420 1x, 430 1x, Pause Squats - 350 2x3
Training Max - 480 lbs
Week 4 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 375 1x, 400 1x, 420 1x, Pause Squats - 310 3x3
Week 5 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 385 1x, 420 1x, 430 1x, Pause Squats - 335 2x3
Week 6 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 420 1x, 430 1x, 445 1x, Pause Squats - 360 1x3
Training Max - 500 lbs
Week 7 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 390 1x, 415 1x, 440 1x, Pause Squats - 325 1x5
Week 8 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 400 1x, 440 1x, 450 1x, Pause Squats - 350 1x5
Week 9 - 230 5x, 270 4x, 315 3x, 350 2x, 440 1x, 450 1x, 465 1x, Pause Squats - 375 1x3
Week 10 - Work up to 500 lb Max Test
During the course of this program I did not do much of any accessory work for squat. I personally have always done well with minimal training for squats. I do recommend you do the pause squats prescribed in the program and do additional hip, core, and hamstring work. During the earlier weeks of the program I included a few x band walks for hips and back raises on the 45 degree bench for hamstrings/glutes as time allowed. The major benefits to your squat will come from running the program as is, however if you have a lofty goal in mind or are in meet prep the additional accessory work is needed to take you to the next level
This progression can be ran as a great prep for a meet which it is designed for, or you can do as I did and use it to hit a squat goal you have. Most competitive powerlifters will find this works well for actual meet prep but since I am not competing in the squat I used it to hit my no wrapped squat goal of 500. If you are picking a squat goal, don’t expect to hit much over a 20-30 lb PR depending on how advanced you are. Choosing too high of training maxes can cause missed lifts which is definitely not what you want on this program designed around improving the quality of your singles. Smooth and consistent training is the name of the game
Try it out and let me know how it goes! As always, if you need any help fitting the template to your individual needs please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here to help!