T Nation

Changing Leviathan (Anchor) Programming, Front Squats as Main Lift


Hypothetical question: IF I wanted to use front squats as my main squatting movement, would it be ok in the Anchor part of the program to do 5’s Pro + 1-2 Jokers (or just straight up 5’s Pro) instead of PR set?
I’m starting the program next week and thinking about it, I prefer to keep FS sets within the 5 reps range.


do whatever you want. Front squats are not the same as squats. That is all.


As always, use common sense and the years of training experience to guide you. I have no idea.


Hi Jim,
a question: let’s say there was someone SO DUMB that he always trained front squats since the very start of his lifting “career”, and kept them as main squat lift when he began 5/3/1, someone like me.
I’ve done back squats maybe 7-8 times total, so my technique while acceptable is still rough. And I tested the back squats TM discovering it’s just about 5% higher than the front squats TM.
If I wanted to put back squats as main lift going on with 5/3/1, which approach would you suggest? Back squats main lift + front squats supplemental; front squats main lifts + back squats supplemental or back squats as both main and supplemental?


Depends on what your goals are: do you
A) want a big back squat and/or
B) need to be big and powerful for a sport


Tough question.
I definitely want to have a decent base strength level, that’s my #1 goal at the moment.
I’m on the good track for a 2.5bw deadlift, working on 1x press and 1.5x bench (who are doing ok), but my best back squat right now would be a 1.5x and front squat a tad less, which is hilariously bad - especially compared to the deadlift.
I’d want to fix the lagging squat bringing the back squat numbers up to an acceptable level. I’m not playing any other sport but there’s a ton of things I appreciate of front squats and overall I simply like doing them.
My ideal setup would have back squats as main and front squats as supplemental. I’m just unsure if I should drop front squats for a few months while completely focusing on back squats.


if you’ve done front squats all your life, why not do a few cycles of back squats and see where you land? Chose a light TM and work through it. You could use front squats as supplemental, but maybe just hammer in on the back squats for a while?


Yep I think I’ll go that route, I tested the squats TM (5 solid reps with 1-2 in the tank) yesterday so I’m ready to go.
Starting Leviathan next week, which allows to choose the supplemental template (was thinking about BBB@FSL for back squats), then after Leviathan I planned to go Pervertor, who rotates Widowmakers, BBB and BBS for supplementals.
It would be about 5 months in strength/volume programs with high volume back squats, don’t think my front squats will suffer (might even improve)


I don’t do heavy back squats anymore. I’m 52 and don’t need anybody’s permission. Front squats for me.

All I did was look at my accessories as front and back are similar, but not the same.

As stated, use your head.


This is easy - just replace the back squat with the front squat. HOWEVER, not all things carry over to the front squat, despite internet lore. Namely, multiple higher rep sets (think: BBB) are not a good idea. That is fine as there are dozens of different options to choose from.

As JFG stated, just use your head and some common sense. It’s not a huge deal