They don’t call the barbell back squat the “king of mass builders” for nothing.
It’s one of the best exercises around for packing on strength and muscle on your:
- And even your back
(Which is why you should never, ever skip leg day.)
And one of the key drivers of muscle growth in those areas will be progressive overload, or in other words, getting stronger (more weight, more reps, less rest) on the squat over time.
A 315-pound squat is considered to be a pretty substantial benchmark for most lifters.
So how long does it take to squat 315 pounds or more?
The average time of how long it takes to squat 315 pounds seems to be about one to two years of serious training.
It can be a lot faster or a lot slower, depending on a bunch of different factors, including:
- Your own bodyweight
- How long you’ve spent bulking or cutting
- Training history and genetics
- Programming and routine
Let’s dive in a little deeper on what you can expect during your journey to a 315 squat and beyond.
A large majority of weightlifting exercises have a direct correlation with your bodyweight.
In other words, the more you weigh, the more you can (usually) lift.
Two of the exercises that are MOST impacted by your bodyweight are the squat and the bench press.
It’s why so many exercises, and these in particular, are so often talked about in terms of bodyweight multiples.
(For example, a 2x bodyweight squat is considered pretty strong.)
There’s a lot of debate about why this is the case, but it’s some combination of:
- More weight often equals more overall muscle mass
- More body weight means a more solid base to push from and better leverage
- More mass around key joints provides more stability for lifting
There’s obviously a limit, but if you want to get stronger just for the sake of it (and aren’t worried about aesthetics and abs), packing on the pounds is a great way to go.
So if you want to know how long it’ll take to squat 315 pounds, start by figuring out what percentage of your body weight that is.
A 1-1.5x bodyweight squat (for a one rep max) is considered novice to intermediate level strength, and a 2x bodyweight squat is usually considered advanced.
Beyond that, you’re talking about elite level strength.
If you’re 250 pounds, a 315 squat should be pretty attainable within your first year of training.
If you’re a lean and toned 150, a 315 squat will probably take you a while to achieve.
Bulking vs Cutting
Here we get into the age-old debate: strength vs aesthetics.
Suppose you wanted to squat 315 pounds as soon as humanly possible, no matter what you had to do to achieve it.
Well, in that case, you could enter a long dirty bulk (ie, a large calorie surplus), squat several times per week, and pack on a ton of both fat and muscle in a short time.
In that case, you could achieve your squat goals pretty fast.
If you wanted to get a strong squat but were determined to stay fairly lean and maintain a proportionate physique (and not ignore other muscle groups), you might go through several bulking and cutting phases to add muscle and strip away fat.
The more cutting or fat loss you do, the longer it will take you to reach any strength goal, squat included.
If you’re brand new to lifting, you’ll likely be able to gain some strength and muscle while losing fat, but when you become more seasoned you’ll often have to choose one or the other.
The best thing for your health will be to slowly build your leg strength over time while avoiding unwanted fat gain.
You do that with:
- Lean bulking phases (a small calorie surplus of about 250/day, or 17 calories per pound of bodyweight)
- Cutting phases to strip away fat (500 calorie-or-so deficits every day, or body weight in pounds x around 12)
- A good amount of protein mixed with healthy fats and good carbs
Though it will take you longer to hit your 315 squat that way.
Retraining your muscles is easier than training them from scratch.
You have probably heard of this concept, known as “muscle memory.”
Simply put, if you used to squat 315 back when you played high school football, it’ll be easier and faster for you to reach that number again as opposed to someone who has never trained their legs.
Remember this when anyone claims they were able to squat 315 after just a few months of training.
Chances are, they had the strength potential in their legs the whole time and were able to get amazingly fast gains from retraining them.
(Kind of like how people who have the best body transformation photos usually had a sneaky amount of muscle mass the whole time and just needed to cut a few pounds of fat to look jacked.)
You’ll never convince me that everyone responds to the same training the same way.
Take two people who are:
- The same age
- The same weight
- The same gender
- The same training history
And put them on the same workout program, and I guarantee they’ll both have slightly different results.
There could be things that are impossible to control or account for, like natural testosterone levels, joint angles, and other differences in leverage.
So whether you can squat 315 pounds in 8 months of training, or it takes you 2 years, might be partially down to luck and the genetic lottery.
Don’t use that as an excuse, though! Train hard and get your diet on point if you’re not seeing the results you want.
Programming / Routine
Not all squat programming is created equal.
Now, to be fair, I can’t say what the best approach is or which one will work the best for you.
But there are bad programs out there. And there are plenty of programs that don’t emphasize the squat in order to get you to 315 as fast as possible.
Depending on what routine you’re running, you could:
- Squat heavy once per week
- Squat heavy twice per week
- Squat heavy once and high reps once every week
- Squat three times per week
- Squat your 1-rep max every day (Bulgarian)
- Rotate between different squat variations and leg accessories (pistol squats, box squats, lunges, etc.)
- And so on
Many of these approaches will work to build your leg and even full-body strength! But which one will be the fastest? I can’t say for sure.
If maximum leg power is really important to you, experiment with different approaches and see what brings you the best returns.
Gender (Can women squat 315 pounds?)
In general, women’s frames will be able to pack on significantly less muscle mass and strength than men.
However, women can still get crazy, stupid strong.
With that in mind, can female lifters realistically expect to reach a 315-pound squat?
According to most strength standards databases, a 315-pound squat for any woman would be a highly-advanced level lift.
For women under 200 pounds or so, a 315-squat would be an elite level lift worthy of entry in powerlifting competitions.
So it’s not impossible by any stretch! But women who can squat 315 would be in the very upper echelon compared to most female lifters.
Is squatting 315 impressive?
Look, online fitness is naturally biased toward a self-selected group of people who are incredibly dedicated to the sport/hobby.
And of those, the most vocal people are the ones who have made great progress.
(You don’t hear a lot from average folks who have been working hard for years but don’t have insane numbers yet.)
What I’m saying is, if you spend too much time online you start to feel like a total failure if you’re not a member of the “1000-lb club” (meaning, a 405 deadlift, a 315 squat, and a 225 bench plus a few pounds here and there).
If you’ve spent any time in a regular, commercial gym you know that almost nobody can hit those numbers except the best of the best.
So, no, just because you can squat 315 doesn’t mean you should compete in the Olympics or start a YouTube fitness channel, but it does mean you worked your ass off for at least 6+ months, lifted hard, and ate the right things in order to achieve a goal relatively few people can match.
I’d say that’s impressive.
How long does it take to squat 405, 500, or 600 pounds?
Few people will reach these numbers, realistically, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
The stronger you get, the harder it is to continue adding strength and gaining new muscle.
If it takes you about a year or two to go from zero to a 315 squat, you should expect another 6 months to a year to go from a 315 to a 405 squat.
It’s impossible to say for sure, and many people can do it faster than that and go on to hit even higher numbers.
This timeline will depend HEAVILY on your programming and your adherence to your diet.
Sorry to say that newbie gains never took anyone all the way to a 400+ squat!
How long does it take to squat 135 pounds for reps?
Unless you’re extremely, extremely light, a one-plate squat should come relatively easily during your first few months (or even weeks) of training.
Most strength standards indicate that a 1x bodyweight squat is a beginner or novice level lift, so I would expect you to be able to reach that number easily on most programs.
(And even with a poor diet or during a cutting phase.)
But, of course, it all comes down to weight and gender.
A 135 squat for reps by a 90-pound female, for example, would be pretty impressive and would take her some time to achieve.
From all the testimonials I’ve read and my own personal experience in the gym, you should expect to hit a 315 squat after around a year or two of seriously training for it.
(It may take longer if squatting heavy isn’t your main goal, like if you’re focusing on overall aesthetics or other leg-based lifts).
You also have to factor in your own bodyweight and gender. If you’re extremely lean (say, 130 pounds), a 315 squat would be VERY impressive and will take you a while to achieve.
If you currently weigh 300 pounds, you should expect that milestone to be a lot easier to reach.
Whatever your current progress is, keep working and just try to be a little bit stronger than last time! That’s all any of us can really hope for in the gym, at the end of the day.
Hope this helps!