Send your squat to the stratosphere with our signature lower body developer: the ‘Herc Squat.’

With this exercise, you will reach new heights for your deadlift and squat.

The ‘Herc’ Squat

Squat Insane Weights -- Fred Hatfield
Fred Hatfield




–Lifting Shoes

I assure you, you’ll have never done this exercise. But this isn’t a gimmick–just a simple exercise familiar to most people who have been lifting for a while; but with my personal spin on it.

Accidents happen; but accidents can also lead to great innovations.

And this is what happened when I discovered this particular monster accessory movement.

I found this by accident because my gym only had dumbbells up to around 75lb and I couldn’t find the correct balance when doing a Bulgarian Lunge while using a barbell.

And I wanted to increase my deadlift and squat, but use real weight in the process.

By this I mean that I wanted to far exceed my real numbers in a supramaximal lift to grow my lower body — and fast.

So I used the Smith Machine.

Herc Squat
Herc Squat without the pins!

That’s right, I, a powerlifter at the time, used the Smith Machine.

But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Without much further teasing, here is the exercise: A Supramaximal Partial Bulgarian Split Squat.

It sounds rather unglamorous and a bit of a mouthful to say, but, believe me, it really works.

UPDATE: I will be calling this lift the “Herc Squat.”

You’ll be thanking me for the enormous gains you’ll make to your deadlift, squat, and glute development; but you’ll hate me when you use the can in the days after training.

All you have to do is set safety pins on the Smith Machine, have a bench parallel to the Smith Machine, get under the bar, raise your inactive leg onto the bench–as if you were actually performing a Bulgarian Split Squat.

My twist here is the whopping overloading of the bar that you can get away with. The bar path is restricted by the Smith Machine itself, reducing the need to expend energy on stability.

The safety pins will stop the bar from descending too low to reduce the risk of injury.

Combined, you can really go to town in throwing the weight around.

Moreover, new accessory movements drilled into your program are easy to PR on.

When I first started these, I could do 3.5 plates a side. After a few months, this increased to nearly 5 plates a side.

My max squat at the time was in the mid-500s, and, within a year, I added over 60lb to my squat–mostly because of this exercise.

Now, let’s take a step back: 3.5 plates–or 160kg on the bar–per leg translates to the equivalent of a 320kg squat. I have never attempted to walk out more than 7 plates a side in my life–far less than what I began dealing with.

Then sooner, rather than later, I almost went up to 5 plates a side on my right leg–the equivalent load of a 420kg squat. And don’t forget, thus far, I’m a lifelong natural lifter.

I will never squat anything close to that.

Even if I gained 150lb, blasted tren, deca, anadrol, dbol, and any other compound I could get my hands on for a decade, I’d never be able to squat that.

I would usually do this exercise as my 1st or 2nd accessory movement on my squatting day, depending on how I’m feeling.

Working sets should never exceed six reps as they are very taxing on the joints and inner thighs at heavier weights.

Doing the equivalent of a half squat ONTO SAFETY PINS is more than enough range of motion for this particular movement, with supramaximal loads.

Your glutes, inner thighs, and quads–in that order–will be exceptionally sore for the days after training, so be warned.

Do not program this exercise on a basis more frequent than one month on, one month off as it can be taxing on the body.

You will reap the greatest reward if it is NOT a mainstay, but rather an exercise to shock the lower body and core whenever you’ve begun to hit a rut.

And don’t say you weren’t warned when you make unthinkable gains.

How to Bulgarian Split Squat

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