T Nation

Form Check - Front Squat vs Low Bar Stance


#1

My low bar (competition) squat makes me feel as if my quads are very weak and my back overpowers everything, but I feel so much more comfortable front squatting, and actually can use a wider stance and push my knees out better with the front squat. My stance is not wide by Westside standards but it feels a lot better to open up my hips front squatting than going low bar. I have tried using a more vertical torso low bar but that seems to take away all my hip/back power.

My max beltless front squat is 275 and low bar is only 365. Deadlifts are also quite a bit higher at 445 conventional and 475 sumo.

Any recommendations or thoughts on my form would be greatly appreciated.
Sorry for the crappy viewing angles but this is all I had for footage.



#2

Front squats are usually limited by your thoracic spine strength more than quads. I see nothing wrong with your low bar squat except that you aren't that strong, so keep squatting and you will improve. More volume, more frequency if you only squat once a week.

Personally, squat is my worst lift and it is largely due to weaker quads but I don't bother with front squats because technique is the main limiting factor in my case. SSB squats are good, the movement pattern is similar to a front squat but you can handle a lot more weight and rounding your upper back won't make you drop the bar or break your wrists. I also do split squats to build up the quads, leg press would be good too. Some people like high bar squats as well, it's usually a good idea to switch up variations/assistance exercises after a few weeks.


#3

Your form is at least decent in both vids. I'm sure there's something that can be nitpicked on, but I can't see it.

What your describing doesn't sound like anything that's wrong with what your doing, but just the nature of the two lifts your comparing.

Low bar uses a lot more hip/back than front squats.

Also, your lift ratios are well within the realm of normal. Often as people become more advanced, their squat will catch up to their deadlift.

It's also very common for front squats to feel more natural. So much so that front squats are often employed as a form progression to back squats. Sometimes, I even see trainers progress people new to squatting in this fashion: goblet squat > front squat > back squat.

Many people commonly say that low bar back squats feels unnatural. This is perfectly normal and the way to overcome it is to low bar back squat more.


#4

Alot of your problem in general here I think is coming from weak quads and hams compared to your upper back. Even with that pretty extreme grind you never lost back postion at all all. Id personally drop the front squat in favor of HIGH bar PAUSE squats and Hack Squats.


#5

Everything looks fine. I agree with doing high bar since it'll feel more natural than the low bar squat and is a compromise between the front squat and low bar squat. If you choose to stick with front squats far out from a meet then make sure to include a lot of hamstring and lower back work with RDLs or SLDLs.


#6

Thanks everybody for the replies. High bar pause squatting does sound like a good way to rely less on the back and build more leg drive.

On a side note, does anyone have anything to say about hamstring strength for the squat? The only way I gauge their strength is by SLDL's which have always been a strong lift for me. Then you have a few elite coaches saying hamstrings are purely isometric in the squat. So what gives? I also only feel them working in the hole low bar and feel like my high bar squat is all quad/glute.