T Nation

Front or Back?

After reading quite a bit on this site, I find that there is kind of a “controversy” between front and back squats for tall guys. I’m 6’1" and about 165 lbs. I’m not the tallest dude out there by any means. I’m just curious if I had to pick one, which one would best benefit me? Also, what would be the difference between Zercher Squats and front squats?


It’s hard to say which would benefit you since none of us are you.
However, you can give them both a try for a couple weeks. Find which one is more comfortable (knee/back comfort, etc). “They” say that front squats are easier on taller guys, but you just may be an exception. So give them a try and see which one works better for you.

I can’t remember what article it was in, but I think CT described an easy test to see if back squats suit your body type.

For what it is worth. I’m not as tall as you, I’m 5’11, but I have become more fond of front squats over the last year of training. Not that back squats were giving me problems, but I like to squat and deadlift in same week of training. I felt like the back squats were really hitting my lower back a lot and I just wasnt comfortable hitting deadlifts a few days later knowing my lower back was a little burnt. I switched to front squats and like I said have become a big fan of them.

Back squats and tall people equal a lot of the work in the movement being put on their lower back due to the fact that the bar is so much further away from the pivot point of your hips. Thats just the nature of leverage. Front and Zercher squats allow the bar to remain on a centerline of the body without requiring the lower back to work as hard(due to the fact that you are not bent over as far with the bar).

In addition, I feel that for myself I have a much easier time going through a deep full range of motion on the front squat safely and with near perfct form compared to the back squat, as I have my feet much closer together(shoulder width). Just my opinion.

Do both.