T Nation

Front Squat Worthless for Quad Hypertrophy?

Tnation writer Paul Carter had a post on instagram yesterday saying that front squat is a shitty choice if you need quad mass. What is your opinion on this?


Reads almost like an ad hominem than anything objective. It’d be like me dismissing/agreeing with Paul because he references N1 again.

To convey anything meaningful related to the question: the short answer is I don’t know.

The long answer is: if I want to instill the same degree of suck in my quads as they experience during a front squat during a back squat I’d have to reduce ROM in the back squat to use a load high enough to illicit the same degree of muscle tension in my quads. Which is an ironic anecdote on my end since he writes

MORE QUADS is directly related to the degree of knee flexion that can be achieved in said squat.

I can get deeper in a front squat than in a back squat, so…

Depends on the person really, you can gain mass with almost any exercise if you hit it with enough: Load, reps, intensity, time under tension etc.

I know I’ve never been able to front squat because I have poor mobility, that been said, I’ve done zerchers before with a fairly heavy weight for reps and that was definiely a great work-out…you just need to find a way off padding the bar, unless you love pain!

Front squat type variations are also easier to get ‘in the groove with’ depending on whether or not you are suited to back squats etc

My opinion is that he looks for opportunities to be more right than anyone else.

How could a movement primarily driven by knee flexion be worthless for quad hypertrophy? I skimmed the post and didn’t see an explanation other than “don’t read CT articles”.


Works the quads for sure so is not worthless but can be easily limited by other things like upper back strength. Without form breakdown it loads the quads up well. Most any form breakdown will start shifting load off the quads though e.g. hips shooting up and rising faster than the back which is common.

Hack squats have the positioning benefits of the front squat, loading up the quads, while locking you into the movement so its hard to shift the load anywhere else.


Disagree on the knee flexion thing, as @TrainForPain says the front squat is a squat variant that increases knee flexion. Can accept it is a tricky movement and has many limiting factors that might make it a bad choice in some cases. Not sure shit bag is a good descriptor though.

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It looks like they worked out ok for this guy



This is what he says:

“Zercher anything/Front Squats -
How anyone ends up with zercher squats in their hypertrophy program I do not fucking know other than they read too many articles by Thibs.

Same for front squats.
Just because something is anteriorly loaded doesn’t mean it’s “more quads”.
MORE QUADS is directly related to the degree of knee flexion that can be achieved in said squat.”

Besides the fact that for a friend of CT, I sure have seen him take a lot of shots at CT in various threads and posts, I think you’re misquoting him when you imply he said front squats were “worthless” for quad hypertrophy.

He’s just saying that it being a front squat in and of itself doesn’t necessarily make it more knee flexion, as there’s people who front squat with not much knee flexion, and people who high bar squat with a ton of knee flexion.

That being said, I think that for most people, front squats put you in such a position that you have to use more knee flexion, and that last part of his post kinda just smells like a shot at CT anyway. But he didn’t say they were worthless, and they aren’t. Some big ass quads have been built with front squats.



Tip: Front Squat on the Smith Machine, by Paul Carter, 2016

I think it’s allowed if you do them on the Smith Machine. Not sure about Zerchers though. Might need to use a calf machine for that somehow.

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I think Paul raises some decent points in that post and puts out a lot of good, free information in general but I read some of his comments on that post and a few others last night and cannot believe how rude he is whilst also advertising his business/training group. I don’t see why people would want to give their money to someone like that when there are much better people doing the same thing. It’s the same as he was on here too and reminds me of a child that thinks the only way to make himself seem better is to put other people down. Seems insecure almost.


I asked a question and he insulted me as well. In the comment section i saw him mocking about someone’s job and low income. ( someone who disagreed with him )

A month ago i asked Brandon Curry a question and he gave me a very genuine and pretty long reply.


This is coming from the same guy that said, deadlifts aren’t shit. I still haven’t forgive him :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:


I’ve read his articles and agree that he has put out some good information and I also noted that he could be rude when addressing people’s questions. My question is, who is Paul Carter? He’s a big guy, but not the biggest. He’s strong, but not the strongest. I wonder where that arrogance comes from. Thibs is big and strong and if you read his interactions and responses with posters, he’s polite and makes an effort to help people understand what he’s saying. He’s also not dogmatic.


Think about that. Brandon Curry is one of the top couple bodybuilders on the planet, and can act like a human being.

I think Carter is more insecure than anything, but I can’t stand the dude’s attitude. It annoys me when he puts out his pretentious “how to be happy” garbage knowing how he actually acts. All that said, I really do believe he probably needs a little help to get over whatever is bothering him.


In this regard, my 100% favorite PC article was the one in which he did a careful analysis of the literature regarding physical traits in men that were most attractive to women, and the conclusion he reached was that women are drawn to muscular bald guys with thick beards, aka the Paul Carter look. :rofl:

Said with all due respect, because I really do think the guy knows what he’s talking about (vis a vis lifting, that is).


I did a quick browse over his Instagram after reading that post and he had quite a long post about his family - I won’t go into more detail, but it’s not hard to find, gives some context into stuff.

But as always, if you filter out the not-nice stuff, great info there. I did low bar don’t-let-my-knees-go-past-my-toes squats for years and it fucked my hips and back. I pinned my shoulder blades back on every pressing exercise and it fucked my shoulders and lagged my chest. Dude gets a lot of credit from me, because the free info I got from him fixed those.

But damn - he really takes shots at CT and it just seems like bitterness - “I know more than him/taught him what he knows, why is he so popular?” I’ve had my own thoughts about CTs stuff but the guy is a customer service god. He handles the most outlandish questions (and 30 follow up questions) nonstop and in great detail.

The thing is, if you really have to be the “shut up and listen because I don’t have time for your bullshit” guy, you’d better have some seriously impressive accomplishments behind that that speak for themselves.


aka the ‘Jim Wendler rule.’


Can you share that article? Lol!

I follow Paul and I think he is a great guy that has some complex though and problems with ego.

You really can’t be a fan of his attitude, but lifting and hypertrophy wise, he is really good source. No one would be wrong to take into account his advices.

I honestly think this applies here.


Ouch… but true. I have lost the respect i had for the guy a long time ago.

I found it funny before he came to T nation he bashed on CT .

Came on as a coach and collaborated on e book with him.

Now back at bashing CT.

Go figure