💪 5 Squat Mistakes Killing Your Gains

Take a break from daydreaming about the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes in your future, and try to concentrate on these fitness and nutrition tips instead. (Then feel free to go back to the turkey.)

Here’s what’s on tap today: 

  • Dr. Layne Norton breaks down a study that compares high- vs. low-volume training for strength and muscle gains. 

  • Five squat mistakes to avoid to prevent injury and improve leg muscle growth. 

  • Men’s Open bodybuilder Nick Walker reveals more about the injuries that cost him his spot at the 2023 Mr. Olympia. 


More Volume, More Gains 

Credit: NexaTerra Gaming / YouTube

In a recent video, powerlifter Dr. Layne Norton presented the findings of a study that compared the effects of higher versus lower training volume. As expected, the participants who performed the most sets over 12 weeks experienced more muscle growth.

The study involved 31 trained males divided into three groups. The first group completed 10 sets per week for 12 weeks. The other two groups gradually increased their training volume, eventually reaching a peak of 52 sets at the end of the 12-week analysis. Ultimately, the research concluded that there’s a direct correlation between training volume and muscle growth, indicating a dose-response effect.

While that might sound straightforward, it’s important to note that while increasing the number of sets per week can lead to greater muscle growth, avoiding excessive or rapid increases in training volume is crucial to prevent injury and for proper recovery. We recommend following the incremental volume increases used in the study to ensure optimal results.

Form Check

Squat School

Credit: Veles Studio / Shutterstock

The squat, a.k.a. the "King of All Exercises," is a cornerstone of any effective training program, providing benefits beyond lower body strength. Squats also boost your core strength, improve your mobility, and help you burn some serious calories along the way. However, mastering the correct form is crucial, as improper execution can lead to training stagnation and potential injuries.

For example, it’s important to maintain proper alignment of your knees and hips throughout the squatting motion. This small adjustment can make all the difference between harnessing the full potential of this regal exercise or experiencing setbacks on your fitness journey. Discover the five common squatting mistakes that athletes of all levels often make and learn how to correct and enhance your technique.


Mutant Healing Factor

Credit: @nick_walker39 / Instagram

Men’s Open bodybuilder Nick Walker had high hopes for the 2023 Mr. Olympia after his impressive third-place performance the previous year. However, his dreams were shattered when he was forced to withdraw from the competition after suffering a hamstring tear. In a recent Instagram video, Walker shared the extent of his injury and disclosed that he’s also dealing with a calf issue. 

Fortunately, Walker's MRI revealed only a minor grade 1 strain in his calf. While grade 3 strains involve severe damage, grade 1 implies mild muscle fiber damage. Although he won't be competing in the upcoming 2024 Arnold Classic, we anticipate Walker's return to the competition world sooner rather than later. 

Unless promoters grant Walker a special invite to the 2023 Olympia, he’ll need to win an IFBB Pro League show outright in order to secure a spot in the 2024 Olympia lineup. Despite this setback, "The Mutant" remains optimistic for the 2024 IFBB Pro bodybuilding season.


New Podcast, Who Dis?

  • BarBend debuted a new podcast this past week called Strength Weekly. Check out the first episode, where BarBend co-founder David Tao and senior editor Phil Blechman break down the 2023 Mr. Olympia, examine CBum’s historic run, and look back at the infamous Bulgarian Method of weightlifting. 

  • Protein is the building block of muscle. But is too much protein harmful to your body? Read our take on how much protein you need per day and when to know you’ve had enough. 

  • You can never have too many row variations in your holster — and the seal row is one of the best out there. Learn how this underappreciated move can unlock bigger, better gains.


Your Too-Early 2024 Mr. Olympia Pick

Credit: @dereklunsford_ / Instagram

Who do you think will win the 2024 Mr. Olympia? Pick one below to vote:

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Did Derek Deserve It?

Credit: @bodybuildingworldonline and @romania_muscle_fest_pro / Instagram

In the November 7, 2023, edition of The Ripped Report, we asked whether or not you thought Derek Lunsford deserved the 2023 Mr. Olympia crown. Here’s how you voted:

  1. Yes, Derek deserved it (63.27%)

  2. No, Hadi Choopan should have won (26.53%)

  3. No, Samson Dauda should have won (6.12%)

  4. No, Brandon Curry should have won (4.08%)