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Front Squat As Primary Squat


Which of you use Front Squats are your primary squat movement?

What was the reason you switched?

Do you add in a lot of poster chain exercises to make up for the difference?

I find myself truly enjoying front squats more and since I’m not a competitive lifter I don’t really have a NEED to back squat. I also like how after even heavy FS sessions my lower back feels really good. It definitely feels like a more natural movement to me compared to a back squat.

A part of me feels like I’ll be missing something if I drop back squats. I don’t think that’s necessarily true but a part of me feels like I would be.


I’ve used it as a main lift often. It’s in rotation right now.

I love it. I can use the full rack position so it feels super stable & I feel very “athletic” when doing it. I compete in strongman (offseason right now), and I feel front squats have direct carryover to straight bar overhead work.

The odd object work taxes the hell out of the posterior chain too so I didn’t feel like I was missing out.


Front squats are better than back squats in every way.

That’s right; I said it.


You know I’ve always thought this. I think the fact you can’t really fake it. Either you going to stand up or not lol.

But why is the back squat looked as the holy grail then?


Much more weight can be used - which has its benefits for many athletes.

Nothing wrong with the fronts though.


Stoopid head powerlifter types.

And also you can use more weight which people find gratifying.


I use them both, but I don’t find one better than the other. I am able to engage my hams and glutes more when I back squat, and I’m able to engage my quads more when I front squat. So, to me, they’re two different lifts for two different purposes.


Front squats are my main squat movement at the moment. I hate them but I’m using them to strengthen the catch position for the clean as I’m trying to learn the Olympic weightlifting lifts.


You work more hips because of the difference in torso angle. This will obviously depend on your leverages and how you squat. If you are back squatting with a comparably upright torso, the difference should be minimal.


Worlds Strongest Man Champions Svend Karlsen and Magnus Samuelsson both used front squat.

Multi time Mr Olympia Arnold talks about front squatting to hit thighs because he was tall and regular squats made him lean forward.

Multi Mr Olympia Frank Zane loved front squat so much he made a special front squat harness. So did Louie Simmons.

Former World Record squatter Sam Byrd talks about front squat one day and light, fast back squats a 2nd day.

All those guys were good. It’s probably not for everybody, but if you’re onto it, it works. Even at the highest levels.


For what it’s worth I’m considering it. Back squats seem to irritate my SI joint whenever I start struggling and technique isn’t perfect. Part of me says to just keep focusing on technique and get it sorted but part of me things why bother if I don’t have to?

Something about front squats just looks and feels cooler too. I like how after doing them my upper back and abs especially are trashed.


I’m thinking an ideal scenario for me is doing heavy front squats but keeping back squats but only doing them for sets of 10. I feel like heavy back squats kill me too much.

I think I’d be just fine using front squat and deadlifts as my main lower body movements. Assistance id still use rdl, gm, ab work, back raises, ghr, split squats, lunges.

Plus if I ever go back to back squatting they say you can back squat what you front squat right?


I’ve “always” done front squats and no regrets here.
First year of training I worked up to a few crappy reps at my bodyweight, then started from scratch the last six months (I’m not really built to squat) and currently getting very close to hit 1.5bw with good form, which is my short term goal. Started doing them since I’m not followed by anyone in the gym and the front rack position felt safer when I didn’t know how to handle even an empty bar, kept doing them when I saw the major benefits: like you, I don’t compete, don’t plan to do it, and front squats have done wonders for my overall mobility - ankles, knees, shoulders, wrists. I think they’re one of the major contributors, if not the single main contributor, to my posture improvement, especially in the thoracic spine. Also, core stability.
They gave me hell at the beginning but after I nailed down the correct stance, mechanics and positioning, they kept giving me benefits and paid huge dividends imho.
And, for me too, the plan is now to keep front squats as main squat and back squats for volume and mass.
I decided about an year ago that my own big 3 would have been deads, front squats and the press since they’re the lifts I enjoy the most and being strong-ish even in just one of them is quite relevant for a mere mortal like me who just likes to lift.

I’m not strong at all but, in my limited experience, yes. I back squatted three times in my life, all recently, and I could back squat (while fatigued) more than I can front squat, actually. The back rack position is a breeze compared to the front rack.
I’m fairly sure I’m back dominant so keeping the front squats is a bit of extra challenge and, so far, I didn’t feel the need for extra posterior chain stuff - maybe in the future if it’s needed


I also like both. I may slightly prefer the front squat. For general “guy that wants to be strong” but not competing in either PL or OL, probably good to do a little of each, with a slight lean towards the one you like better or feel suits your body better.

It’s probably fine if you want to make the FS your main heavy squat but keep some back squats in as lighter work, almost as an assistance exercise.


I think front squats are a better movement for most purposes, but there are 2 reasons I prefer back squat in my own training. One is that you can load it with more weight. Presumably, there is a benefit to performing an exercise that allows you to move more weight. The other is that my rack position just isn’t that stable. I can front squat over 400 for a rep, but 225 for 10 is extremely challenging because my unsteady rack position limits me.

If I was more comfortable holding a front squat, and could do like 5 sets of 10 at a reasonably challenging weight, I’d incorporate them more. What I’ve found as a good compromise in my training is the SSB. I’ve been using that a lot. Pretty much best of both worlds. Obviously super easy to hold, and the leverages of the squat are like a front squat.


Back squats always messed with my hips and back so I just stopped doing them. I did train them hard as fuck when I did, though.

I’ve trained only front squats for a while now and I just feel so much more healthy (back and hip wise) and of course it goes without saying that they make you stronger overall from a functional standpoint.


Thanks for all this info. When I back squat it feels fine, but then for a few days my lower back is super tight along with my hamstrings. I tried taking weights right down and upping reps, same happens. It stops me going running, cycling and chasing my kids in the park. I don’t get this with deadlifts. I think the problem is my mobility but since I’ve had poor mobility even when I stretched daily and did martial arts I don’t think it will change (I’m now 40). I’m going to give front and goblet squats a try and see where we are. To be clear, I enjoy back squats and everything feels fine that day.


They say your front squat is 80% of your back squat. So is that extra 20% really worth it for the average joe?

I’m sure you can build up to a respectable front squat by just doing FS and all the necessary assistance.


If you can front squat 500 like @strongmanvinny2, your squatting woes would be negligible in any variation lol.


That is what I do on 531, Front squat as the main lift then volume work is with back (I actually use SSB but would do back if I didn’t have that bar).