Peak Performance: Snow Prep with Triple-Rep Squats

How-to: Triple-Rep Squats
Courtenay Schurman Courtenay Schurman
January 28, 2015
Peak Performance: Snow Prep with Triple-Rep Squats
Courtenay demonstrates the triple-rep squat. Photo by Doug Schurman

With winter here, and snow in the mountains, your land-based training for the should include strengthening exercises for the quadriceps, particularly if your plans call for snow fun like skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing.

Most people use the squat or its many variations as a foundational lower body training exercise. If you can comfortably sit into a chair and get back out of it without any pain in your knees, this is an excellent movement for you to include in your workout program.

Triple-rep squats add a new dimension to the traditional squat by increasing the time your legs are under tension for each triple rep to enhance strength and endurance in all parts of your quadriceps. Each triple rep will involve squatting down fully, coming up 1/3 of the way, returning to the bottom position, coming up to 2/3 position, then once more returning to the bottom position before rising back to the fully upright start position.

  • Set up: Stand with feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Keep feet pointing straight forward. Contract your glutes (buttocks) to get your hips and lower back into neutral position. Stand tall with your head high, keeping your chin in neutral position (do not let chin drop down or jut forward.) Contract the abdominals and pull the rib cage down. 
  • Resistance: Hold a barbell low across your shoulders in a squat rack, have a loaded pack on your back (home workout), or use dumbbells in each hand or one heavy dumbbell held in both hands. 
  • Performance: On a deep inhale, lower into a squat by thrusting your hips back behind you, keeping chest lifted and eyes forward. Abdominals and glutes should remain tightly contracted throughout each repetition. Sit back and down between your legs and go as deep as your hip flexibility allows. Weight should be back in your heels rather than forward on the balls of your feet. A suitable target is thighs parallel to the floor. Rise 1/3 of the way, lower fully, rise 2/3 of the way, lower fully, and return to standing position. That’s one repetition. 
  • Recommendations: Completing 3-6 repetitions in this way will give you 9, 12, 15 or 18 squatting movements at various depths. Because of the increased time under tension, you may need to lower the load used as your typical squatting weight. This is an excellent variation for quadriceps strengthening if you do not have a spotter handy or wish to train at home with lighter weights. Complete twice a week, three or four sets per workout.
  • Considerations: Keep the abdominals and glutes engaged the entire time to support the back and maintain a neutral spine. Stop the set if you are unable to perform each repetition with excellent form.

Courtenay Schurman is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). For more how-to exercises and tips for the outdoor athlete, visit Courtenay Schurman’s website at or send her a question at

Add a comment

Log in to add comments.