Villain Challenge #2

By Jim Steel (notes by JP)

Our second Villain Challenge comes from Strength Coach Jim Steel. This came out of a conversation he and I had at my gym regarding this very event. We are both fans and have both used this in our training of others as a benchmark for some time. Here’s Steel…

Here’s what we’re shooting for: being able to squat your bodyweight for 50 consecutive reps. So if you weigh 135 (God help you) you have to put 135 on the bar and go up and down 50 times.

First, let me explain that we aren’t doing half squats here. Get that upper thigh below parallel and lock out at the top. Watch Tom Platz on YouTube for reference. You can use a belt if you want, but try to stay away from wraps and suits unless you have injuries and can’t squat without them. The idea is that you can walk into the gym put the weight on and get it done. Sort of like if somebody said you were full of crap about squatting your bodyweight 50 times and you got pissed and grabbed your belt and went crazy. It will most likely be harder for heavier guys, but so what? Do it anyway.

Below is a sample program written by Steel to tackle this nasty challenge. Obviously the numbers can be adjusted to fit where you are in terms of strength. The workouts described would be plugged into your week in lieu of one of your squatting sessions in preparation for the challenge. Steel also adds that you can take as much rest as needed in between sets, but that you should try to keep it under 5 minutes.

Week 1

2×20 60% of BWT

Week 2

3×20 60% of BWT

Week 3

4×20 60% of BWT

Week 4

5×20 60% of BWT

Week 5


Leg development and iron lungs anyone? Have at it!

Jim Steel


11 Responses

  1. Cat

    I did it at a 140lbs and I bet it will suck just as bad at my new weight of 150lbs…love to be the first to crush challenges.. I’m excited.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:35 am

  2. This is sick! 50 rep max is one of the benchmarks in our Club. I learned about it from a tiny High school strength coach in the middle of the rain forest out here in Washington.

    Sets of fifty were expected before you left the weight room most days. The High school standard was all boys were expected to be able to do at least 135 and girls 95. That was the bare standard for everyone.

    The first time I did a BW set of 50 I weighted 190 and it was misrable. Talken to jesus the whole deal. But like crack those 50 rep squats are addicting. My current goal is 245 for 50. I had a miss count and logged 45 at a current BW of 205 last time I tried. Gotta have goals, rad challenge.

    November 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    • Zach, email me when you get a chance.

      November 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm

  3. Aaron

    225# for 50 this morning, bodyweight sits at 205.

    New goal of 250 for 50, Ill figure I need about 3 months to get there. Great site and work. Keep it up.

    November 18, 2010 at 9:00 pm

  4. Pretty brutal huh Aaron? I knocked out my set of 50 last night at 245 in 4:12, Bw 205. My ears were ringing for 30 minutes. Gotta love volume squatting.

    November 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    • David Long

      I did 235 for 20 a few weeks back at 210-220 and SUCK at longer sets. My lungs give out. I did 125×20 x2 and it felt easy, but my legs needed a break so I’m switching VC#2 for Fridays squat work out

      November 19, 2010 at 10:53 pm

  5. Jesse

    Ironically I did this with 135 yesterday as part of my deload week. It was terrible around 25, but it didn’t really get any work after that.

    Now to just got put another 60 lbs on the bar and do it again… *shudders*

    December 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm

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  9. Jimmy

    At a BW of 225 I’ve only ever done 225 for 20 which was fucking hard. Looking forward to doing it for 50.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:21 am

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