I feel that the front squat is the back squats misunderstood and forgotten little brother. If you step into any regular commercial gym throughout America and the world, I guarantee 99.9% of the time you won’t see a single person doing any front squats. If you stayed there from the sun up to sun down, I would guess that you still wouldn’t see a single person doing front squats. I’m not sure why this is the case.
I think some instances, people just don’t realize that front squats exist, or maybe it’s because since no one does them, people don’t understand them that much. But if you step inside any type of power lifting gym, strength and conditioning center, a college weight room or an Olympic training center, you’ll see these guys doing the front squat with regularly.
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Front Squats vs. Back Squats:
The front squat is one of the best lower body movements that anybody can do to grow up strength, explosiveness, and muscle mass in the lower body, especially in the quadriceps. The reason that the front squat hits the quads more is that the bar is placed on your shoulders in front of your body.
Therefore the load is directly over the front part of your body wanting to pull your torso forward. This greatly enhances quadriceps recruitment. The other thing that I like a lot about the front squat is the stress that it takes off of the lower back especially when you go ass to grass, which you should be doing OR at least attempting anyway.
The problem with back squats for a lot of lifters is it gives them a lot of pain in their lower back after a heavy day of squatting. At the deepest portion of the back squat, there is an increased amount of loaded stress on the lumbar vertebrae. There’s even more stress placed on them if you prefer to squat with a wider stance than normal.
This is popular with power lifters because all they care about is lifting the most amount of weight with proper form, so an easy way to do that is to take a wide base. This reduces the range of motion takes a lot of stress off the quadriceps and places more of it on the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. These three muscle groups are a lot stronger than quads any day of the week.
So for most people, the front squat is going to be a lot safer and easier on your lower back as compared to back squats. The other thing that I like a lot of front squats is the amount that your core has to work to put your torso upright during the movement. Think about it for a second? That entire load that’s in front of your body wants to pull you forward, so your abdominal wall has to contract fiercely to keep you upright.
This is a major abdominal exercise that a lot of people don’t even realize. I often receive comments the following day from clients who did front squats the prior day telling me how much their abs injured all across their abdominal wall just from the front squats. It’s pretty neat.
Ways to Do Front Squats:
Now there are 2 (two) ways to do the front squat. The first method is when you come up to the bar, rest it on your collar bone area and cross your arms over each other. When you step out with the bar on your body, you want to make sure that your elbows stay elevated the entire time.
A lot of people when they just start out tend to lower their elbows as they descend into each repetition. You have to make sure that you purposely keep your elbows raised the entire time. This will help you stay healthy and tight.
This movement is going to be awkward at first because no one is used to having 100+ (hundred plus) pounds of weight on the front part of their body by their throat ever in life. But over time you will get used to it. The only thing for the pain that I could recommend is possibly wrapping a towel around the bar, but other than that, nothing really can help you. You just have to get used to the movement. Over time you’ll build up a tolerance and calluses.
The other way to hold the bar would be to take a hook grip. For this sort of set up, you need to have flexible wrists that can extend backward and flexibility in your thoracic spine and lats. If you are tight in this area, you won’t be able to get your elbows all the way up and through which will then force you to collapse your chest and torso during the movement putting a lot of strain on your lower back and possibly increasing your chances of injury. Plus you won’t be able to lift as much weight.
Another thing that I must point out with regards to front squats is that it’s advised not to go really above 6 to 8 repetitions. In fact, Charles Poliquin states that you shouldn’t do more than six reps with this exercise, and I have to agree with him based on my trial and error.
The reason is that since the bar is out in front of your body, your lower back erectors and upper back muscles such as your traps and rhomboids are going to give out before your lower body does. This can force you to lean forward during the movement and possibly hurt yourself. So it’s advisable if you just stick with front squats in the 1-6 rep range for multiple sets.
All in all, the front squat is one of the best and pure lower body movements that you can increase lower body strength, power, explosiveness, and muscle mass. At first, you won’t be able to do much weight because of the awkward movement but over time your body will become used to it, and you’ll start to see your weights flying up every single week.
If you still in doubt then i recommend you different platforms where you are trained by experts and gives you desired results you want. My favorite sites are body transformation blueprint, adonis golden ratio and eat stop eat diet. Even there are other programs that i could recommend but i prefer first one over any other program.