What I Think About Squatober

Squatober is upon us. The annual Squatoberfest celebration that began in 2015 at the behest of Sorinex Strength has become a popular part of the Instagram lifting landscape. It draws criticism and creates camaraderie every time someone mentions it or posts a picture in their Squatober mustache t-shirt. So since nobody asked me, I’ll tell you what I think.

What is Squatober anyway?

Glad you asked. (Good to see somebody’s staying awake in this class.) Squatober is essentially 21 days of squat based training, centered around some form of squatting. Although the back squat predominates, you do see front squats and there’s ample attention paid to posterior chain work in the form of RDLs and rows. You even get to do chest and bis so your beach muscles are appeased.

So What Do I Think?

Events like Squatober and Deadcember (yes, that’s for deadlifting and it happens in December; stop interrupting!) draw a virtual crowd because they present a challenge; a change of pace for recreational lifters who largely train year round without competing. They’re not as likely to attract lifters who peak for strength sports (although it can happen) or athletes who are more focused on endurance sports.

I think Squatober, Deadcember and even Instagram CrossFit competitions like the ones sponsored by Gray Matter Lifting, are a great way to test yourself and break up the monotony. To me, they serve the same purpose as entering a local competition or doing a 5k race.

Completely Unscientific Conclusions

  • From a physical standpoint, I think Squatober is perfect for endurance athletes who hate to lift. Knowing that this is only going to be for a short window of time makes it more likely that they might do it, in much the same way that you can talk a strength focused athlete into training for a 5k if it’s only going to be once that year.
  • Training milestones, periods of time when you overreach to achieve a specific goal, are important for long term consistency. The human brain tends to rebel against sameness and if you don’t already have specific, testable training goals, you should probably give squatober a try.  The training plan won’t kill your gains, so long as you eat and recover sensibly (there’s no excuse, recovery days are even built into the program!)
  • One tragedy of the current fitness climate is that people tend to become tribal about their training. They pick a training methodology and stick to it like Moses brought it down from Mt. Sinai to give to the faithfully fit. The problem is, you see these same people start to have nagging aches and pains because our bodies weren’t designed for long-term specificity. We’re programmed to be generalists, adapting to the current environment. The thing you need most is usually hidden in plain sight within the training methods you don’t currently follow.
  • It looks like fun. Every year, I’m training for specific goals so I don’t get to play in the Squatober sandbox. That might need to change next year. Hard to see people squatting tree limbs and not want to get in on the fun.

So this year, give Squatober a try and maybe even Deadcember too. After all, what do you really have to lose?



About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on Amazon.com.



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