The 30 day squat challenge is a relatively easy way for a beginner to begin incorporating a variety of bodyweight squat variations into their exercise routine. The challenge length helps build the exercise habit in the participant, increasing the likelihood that a regular exercise routine can continue to be followed after the challenge is “over.” [Read more…]
Best Squat Programs for Powerlifting & Strength
Squat programs are powerlifting or strength training routines that focus on increasing the one rep max for an athlete's squat. Other routines may increase the squat work capacity of the athlete.
Some of these program spreadsheets are better suited for meet prep or peaking, while others are better for off-season training. Squat programs are often combined with routines that train other lifts like the bench press or deadlift to build the overall strength of an athlete.
Most of the links below will take you to a spreadsheet that will create a squat program for you.
The 11 Best Squat Programs for Powerlifting & Strength
- 12 Week Squat Program (Kizen)
- Russian Squat Routine
- Hatch Squat Program
- Tim Swords 7 Week Squat Program
- Greg Everett 10 Week High Volume Squat Program
- Candito Advanced Squat Program
- Gene Bell's Jr. Squat Peaking Program
- Brad Gillingham 16 Week Squat + Deadlift Program
- USSR Yearbook Squat Routine 1974-1976
- N Suns 5/3/1 Spreadsheets (includes squat focused routines)
- Greg Nuckols 28 Spreadsheets (includes squat focused routines)
Here are some helpful articles to help you learn more about the squat and its variations.
- Squat vs Hack Squat
- Squat vs Belt Squat
- Hack Squat vs Leg Press
- Squat vs Leg Press
- Split Squat vs Lunge
- How to Squat with Correct Form
- How to Front Squat with Correct Form
- Squat Muscles Worked
- Front Squat Benefits and Muscles Worked
Want more? Search the Lift Vault Program Library!
Search the Lift Vault Program Library to find the exact program you're looking for based on many criteria (e.g. experience level, days per week, and much more).
The latest squat programs are also available below.
Deep Water is a 4 day (or 5 day if you do the recommended active recovery) strength program designed by Jon Andersen. It runs for 6 weeks and is infamous for its “100 reps in as few sets as possible” workouts for squat, deadlift, and push press. For this reason I have included this program in the squat program and deadlift program collections as well.
You could run this only for the squat, deadlift, or overhead press, though that was not the original intent of the program. [Read more…]
This is a 6 days per week, 10 week high frequency/volume squat peaking program designed by Greg Everett. While it was designed with Olympic weightlifters in mind, hence the high volume for front squats as well as back squats, it can be used by anyone looking for a high volume squat peaking program. [Read more…]
Tim Swords is an olympic weightlifting coach and this is a 7 week squat program he employs. It can be used for the front squat or the back squat, though it is designed to peak the front squat.
These spreadsheets are based off of an interpretation of his work and are not officially endorsed or associated with him in any way.[Read more…]
Released in 2016 by Jonnie Candito, this is a 9 week advanced squat program. Similar to his advanced deadlift program and advanced bench press program, this emphasizes progression on the squat and places significantly less emphasis on the bench and deadlift. This is geared toward lifters that have plateaued on their squat or are looking to focus on it for other reasons. [Read more…]
This is a variation of Tactical Barbell programming combined with the GZCL program framework. It only programs the bench press and squat movements. Deadlifts are not included. This is ideal for athletes that are either unable to deadlift or looking to focus primarily on improving their bench press and squat. [Read more…]
Created by Coach Gayle Hatch, the Hatch Squat Program is fairly straightforward:
- Train the squat 2x per week for 12 weeks
- Each training session programs front squats and back squats
- The Hatch Squat Program uses a descending pyramid rep scheme
- The athlete will attempt a 103% of 1RM squat in week 11
The Hatch Squat program would be useful for intermediate and advance lifters looking to break through a plateau on their squat. Because of it’s 1:1 rep ratio between the front and back squat, it’s written more with weightlifters in mind, not powerlifters. It could be effective for off season powerlifting training though. [Read more…]
The original strains of what became the Russian Squat Routine, the 1974 and 1976 USSR “Yearbook” routines are very specific and should only be used when preparing the squat for competition. These are not general, off-season programs to be run repeatedly.
- 1974 is a 3 week program, 1976 is a 6 week program
- Both are high itensity; but 1976 stays at or above 80% of 1RM for all 6 weeks of the program
- 1974 dips into the 60% range on the lighter workout days, but stays at or above 75% the rest of the sessions
- 1974 works primarily with 3-5 rep ranges, 1976 works with significantly more sets of 2 reps, likely as a result of the higher intensity
- 1974 comes with two 3 week flavors that can be run sequentially (flavor 1, then flavor 2), repeatedly (flavor 1 or 2, then repeat for the next 3 weeks) to achieve the 6 week cycle
10/1/19 Edit: Fixed the rounding and added support for lbs and kgs! 🙂
Dan Alexander’s 10 week Powerlifting Peaking Program is designed to improve the 1RM of the squat, bench, and deadlift by 5%. Spread across the three lifts, this can result in a sizeable boost to a lifter’s total on the competition platform.
Update: KG and LB rounding now supported.
Developed by Fred Hatfield (aka Dr. Squat), this 9 week peaking program is based on two workouts per week: one heavy, one light.
It can be run for a specific lift or all three lifts.
The 1RM increase is 10%, making it an ambitious peaking program, although it does allow for a deload period half way through the program for recovery. [Read more…]
Used by Gene Bell Jr. to prepare for a powerlifting meet, this program consists of one weekly squat workout over the course of 12 weeks to increase the 1 rep max by over 6%.
- Squat 1x weekly
- 12 weeks in length
- Most work is done in 60-80% range, with final 4 weeks starting at 92.5% and working up
Update: Spreadsheet now rounds weights to the nearest 5 (lb) or 2.5 (kg).
This 6 week program is designed to help peak the bench press, squat, or deadlift. It is based on training twice each week: once heavy, once light. After 6 weeks, it aims to increase your 1 rep max by 5%.
Greg Nuckols released 28 program variations through his site, Stronger by Science.
In addition to these programs, I strongly recommend you check out The Art & Science of Lifting and the free lifting guides he authored. He also co-authors the best monthly round-up of cutting edge research on strength, hypertrophy, and related subjects. It’s called MASS and it’s absolutely worth a look. He even has a free issue available as a preview.
nSuns 5/3/1 is a linear progression powerlifting program that was inspired by Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 strength program. It progresses on a weekly basis, making it well suited for late stage novice and early intermediate lifters. It is known for its challenging amount of volume. Those who stick with it tend to find great results from the additional work capacity.
Redditor /u/nsuns assembled a 5/3/1/ LP spreadsheet complete with 4, 5, and 6 day variants in addition to deadlift and squat specific workloads to help everyone get stronger.
Use the table of contents to jump to your desired spreadsheet or read on below to learn about which nSuns program you should run.[Read more…]