Romanian Rhythm Squats for Physique – An Uncommon Exercise for a Common Predicament


A typical deficiency in physique athletes, especially in the bikini and male fitness categories, is overuse of the commonly prescribed drug, Noassitol. (Say it real slow). Also, poor VMO, or poor teardrop muscle development, is very common in these athletes. One solution that I’ve found for this, is Romanian Rhythm Squats (RRS).

I learned this movement from Charles Poliquin, who learned it from Romanian strength coach Istvan Javorek. Typically it would be used for a speed or jumping sport athlete, as it helps work triple extension, increases speed, and helps improve your vertical jump. But we’re going to use it for bodybuilding…why? Because it absolutely smokes your VMO and glutes.

Here’s how to perform RRS’s.

Traditionally, you would use very light weight for this exercise and work on speed and turnaround if this was being used for athletics. Since we are using it for physique, we will use slightly more weight on the bar. Don’t worry about a super fast tempo, just make sure you are using good rhythm (sorry for you white guys…do what you can haha) and make sure there is no pause at the top or bottom. Or any other part of the movement for that matter.

You will be performing 50 reps total…yes 50, this is not a typo. You will switch from barbell quarter squats to barbell quarter squats with heel extension (think partial calf raise) with the same bar every 10 reps. Make sure these are quarter squats. I see a lot of videos out there with people doing 1/8 or 1/16 squats…You need to be in a quarter squat to achieve the response you are looking for.

I would suggest a total of 3-5 sets. Start with 3 sets, that is usually adequate. For more experienced trainees, an increase of sets may be necessary to get the volume high enough.

Now, where would this fit in a training cycle? I suggest you use this during times where you are specializing in glute development and pair it with exercises that will help target the dunkadunk, such as Contreras hip thrusts, lean forward lunges and split squats, and reverse hypers. Make sure you keep some balance with some quad work in the workout and perhaps also a separate quad day, unless your quads are out of balance with your posterior chain.

Here’s a sample workout to get you started. This would be for an athlete that needs glute development but only needs maintenance on their arms, or not much growth on the arms. Please try it and let us know how you get on:

Buns and Guns I

A1. Gironda Leg Curl – Banded, 3 sets of 10-12, Tempo: 2013, Rest: 60s
A2. Romanian Rhythm Squat, 3 sets of 50, Tempo: XXXX, Rest: 120s
B1. Contreras Hip Thrust, 3 sets of 10-12, Tempo: 1014, No Rest.
B2. Forward Lean Walking Lunge, 3 sets of 12-15, Tempo: 2010, Rest: 120s
C. Reverse Hyper, 3 sets of 20-25, Tempo: 1011, Rest: 60s
D1. Decline JM Press, 5 sets of 10-12, Tempo: 4010, Rest: 45s
D2. Narrow Grip Scott Curl, 5 sets of 10-12, Tempo: 4010, Rest: 45s