I would like to move away from barbell squats during leg day. Here is the leg program I have in mind (one day per week as part of a four-day lifting routine):

  • EITHER Bulgarian Split Squat (5x5)/Hack Squat (5x5)/Leg Press (4x8)
  • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts (4x8)
  • Dumbbell Lunges (4x8)
  • Calf Raises (3x15)

Is this a suitable program for leg hypertrophy? I am also doing 30 minutes of interval cardio on the elliptical and exercise bike 2-3 times per week. Am I missing any particular muscle group? And Which of the three (split squat, hack squat, leg press) should I target?

  • Why do you want to move away from barbell squats - are you squatting elsewhere in your program, or is there some specific reason to remove them?
    – N.Briton
    Feb 21, 2019 at 0:57
  • Mainly back problems with loading that much weight onto a barbell.
    – Someone
    Feb 21, 2019 at 5:00
  • Sounds like you need to work on core strength, and positioning in the squat. I'd focus on that - add squats back in, 5x5 starting light but really working on positioning and tightness, and work your core every session.
    – N.Briton
    Feb 21, 2019 at 22:34
  • I get that, but that's not within the scope of this question. I'm wondering about replacements for squats.
    – Someone
    Feb 22, 2019 at 2:07

1 Answer 1


Of course it is possible. There are even strength & conditioning coaches who stopped using Squats, such as Mike Boyle. However, I want to make the distinction between squats and back squats. I believe squats are a natural human movement, and must be done frequently. Therefore, I would suggest you to do Goblet Squats, or air squats for mobility benefits. Back to original question, follow your routine. If you are not getting the results you want, try to add more volume or add another leg day, etc. Increasing total volume with increasing caloric intake is the key to muscle growth.

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