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Back or Front Squat. Best?


#1

...I find doing front squats with the bent curl bar more comfortable than doing back squats. Is one better than the other? And if so how much better?
I would love to continue front squats...Rob.


#2

dont ignore back squats....they help you put more weight on the bar for your front squats.....

front squatting should not be in place of back squatting, it should help supplement back squatting...

i dont care what your goal is...getting bigger or getting stronger, you should never replace back squats which help stimulate great hypertrophy and strength

besides, for begginers (not saying you are), front squatting can be hard on your back and knees because there elbows arent high enough or there isnt a proper back position

for most people, more emphasis should be placed on squatting deep and not rounding your back


#3

While it is true that you can use a heavier load with back squats, front squats are an excellent exercise and can replace back squats if you have issues with comfortability. You will then need to do some extra ham work for the lost work in back squats.

The front squat should allow you to get deeper and really blast the quad. I like to do them with a 10lb plate under my heels sometimes. I like to do a 2-3 count lower and immediately drive back up. Stay in control--don't bounce up. Keep your eyes locked straight ahead maybe slightly up and keep the elbows high.

Remember to throw in some straight leg deads or good ams or some other quality ham work.


#4

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#5

both are great exercises. the difference imho are thus:

  1. front squats hit more quads, upper back and abdominals. they also force you to squat more upright, thus if back problems are limiting your backsquating or deadlifting, they are a good alternative.

  2. back squats, probably the king of all exercises, maybe only "my" version of snatch pulls are better for an overall body exersise.

if you do total body workouts like me and try to squat every session in one form or another, they are a good alternative when you feel still geeked up form back squats. ex: monday i may back squat to a heavy double, wed i might front squat to a moderate-heavy double, friday do high rep back squats.

also, as mentioned before, since front squats do not hit the posterior chain as hard as back squats, throwing in some RDL or goodmorings ore better yet reverse hypers/glute ham raises(if you are fortuneate to have access to these two gems) is needed.

my 2 cents!


#6

In some ways the question is like asking which is better -- bench pressing or bent over rows? The two exercises serve different primary functions. Back squats (when done correctly to parallel or below) are very primary on the posterior chain -- hams, glutes, lumbar. Front squats shift more focus onto the quads, while still demanding much from the core.

I'm a believer that one should do both. I like the back squat and similar movements (box squats) as the primary and front squats as a supplemental. The type of bar being used will shift the weight loading making either exercise easier or more difficult depending upon where it places the weight.


#7

Front squats hurt my knees because my knees suck. I can't even do trap bar deadlifts.


#8

by the way if your looking for a great assistance exercise for the front squat, try strongman tire-flipping....very similar muscles used


#9

I perfer Front Sqauts. Why, because I do power cleans first so I have a hip dominante leg excercise and a quad dominante excersice. That and I find it easier on my back going ass to ankles in the front squat.
But then again I back squat on another day, but then I also jump squat and split squat.


#10

Hate to disagree here but you can get deeper with Front Squats and is not harder on your back at all. It's easier.Also Alywyn Cosgrove has also said many times he has replaced Back Squats with Front for most people because you are using more muscle.
I can go completley ass to grass with Front and not back...sorry to disagree


#11

Deadlift is KING!!! Squats were discovered after DL :slight_smile:


#12

I don't think one squat is 'better' than the other, however if following a conjugate type program it is important to have excersise variety, and front squats complement the back squat perfectly. I trian in weightlifting, so in my experience the front squat is the staple of my program, it has the most direct impact on the clean and the jerk. However, the back squat is used about once a week to challenge the legs with more weight than the front squat allows.

That being said, if your form on the front squat isn't perfect, you shouldn't do it. Front squating with improper form can be very hard on your shoulders and back and could cause more damage than good. So keep those elbows high and front squat some big weight!!


#13

******Hate to disagree here but you can get deeper with Front Squats and is not harder on your back at all. It's easier.Also Alywyn Cosgrove has also said many times he has replaced Back Squats with Front for most people because you are using more muscle.
I can go completley ass to grass with Front and not back...sorry to disagree*****

im a strength coach....as i said in my original post begginers sometimes struggle more with front squats because they can be harder on back and knees because its a bit harder for some of them to keep an arched position in the front squat, they tend to round their back a bit more....plus some of them have flexibility problems in the wrists

yes you can go deeper but you cant put as much weight on.......burgener, pendlay, and other prominent olympic weightlifting coaches would never remove back squats with front squats for this reason.....

back squats stimulate greater hypertrophy....plain and simple....back squats can still be a$$ to grass, you just have to work on them.....

i could understand cosgrove replacing backs with front squats so begginers could get deeper while he kept an eye on their back, etc....but there is no way i could see any sane person ever replacing back squats all together

you have to get careful when you speak about training begginers, because as zatsiorsky points out even simple calisthestics can bring about positive strength gains....however as athletes begin to plateau their weak links need to be addressed....whatver they may be

if Cosgrove had alot of success teaching fronts to begginers, thats great....if they can keep an arch in the front, they sure should be able to keep one in the back and they would develop strong middle/lower back muscles however if he were touting this as a great method for the intermediate to advanced athlete, he'd be crazy

think about this for a quick second....plenty of powerlifters who squat 900 can front 4-500 easily but very few olympic lifters who can front 4-5 can squat 900....

as Cressey points out in his article, maximal strength is massively important for whatever your goal....hypertrophy, just being strong, being ripped, etc


#14

This is definitely a nice combo and pairing, since front squats don't smoke the lower back quite as bad as back squats, probably from lower weight. I also do traditional deadlifts off the ground on another day.


#15

ROB:

Get the best of both worlds and do both, alternating every other workout... sometimes what is productive and worth the sacrifice isn't always comfortable.


#16

I've seen Chad Vaughn switch to doing FS exclusively for months at a time only to come back to PR on the BS. I can say the same for Loreen Miller and I think I remember Ashley Edens do the same at least on one occassion before she quit lifting. My memory may be incorrect on this last one. Oh and when Boevski visited the U.S.A. I never saw him do anything other than a FS. So I would disagree with your statement.


#17

I agree. In fact after your FS throw in some Overhead squats. I started throwing in more exercise variety into my workouts recently and can say it's been nothing but an improvement.


#18

Nice reply :slightly_smiling: to my statements


#19

*******I've seen Chad Vaughn switch to doing FS exclusively for months at a time only to come back to PR on the BS. I can say the same for Loreen Miller and I think I remember Ashley Edens do the same at least on one occassion before she quit lifting. My memory may be incorrect on this last one. Oh and when Boevski visited the U.S.A. I never saw him do anything other than a FS. So I would disagree with your statement.*******

its definately possible to do exclusively fronts for a long period of time and hit pr's...zatsiorsky would call that a delayed training effect...

i used exclusively front squats for a 3-4 week period to up my tire flip....

but even in your statement you indicated vaughn didnt stop back squatting.....just stopped back squatting for a period of time....

maybe certain coaches have different philosophies but i know don mccauley, burgener, and pendlay dont eliminate back squatting....i happen to agree with them because my front always jumps when my back does but not neccesarily vice versa....


#20

I personally alternate front/back squat every week or sometimes even go 1-2 in the same workout. I find back squat builds overall leg mass and development including glutes and hams while front squats while goin very deep concentrates on mainly the quad and particularly the Vastus Medialis (teardrop) muscle. Depends on how you position your feet. Also if someone has a problem with balance or form the smith-machine is excellent and so are dumbell squats which someone really can go ass-to-floor with. But to answer the question should one be used over another I'll have to give a movie quote.

"Shall we have the lobster or the cracked crab."
"Can't we have both"
"Dmitery, lobster and cracked crab for everyone."

Name the movie and yes, incorporate them both.