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Front squats as an upper back exercise?

I have always been a big fan of the traditional back squat. But just these past couple of weeks i thought about giving it a rest for about a month and doing the front squat as an alternative. I have never really done front squats only here and there. In other words i have done enough of it to know how to do the movement correctly whilst at the same time still use good poundage.
Just a few days ago (on leg day), i did give the traditional squat a rest and done front squats instead. This time i did them with real intensity, its probably the first time that i have REALLY done front squats. Two days later, and my quads are scorching with pain. But what is somehwhat suprising to me is that my upper back muscles (trapz, rhomboids, teres major, teres minor) are almost just as sore. Its a great feeling really, its a lot of pain but it is pain that we all love having i guess. I have heard that the upper back muscles are heavily recruited during this exercise to not allow the weight to simply drop forward. But can anyone add in something more techniqal? Your experiences with the front squat perhaps.
Morale of this story is that Front Squats Rock!

That happened to me at first when I did front squats but I think it was just due to being tight in those areas and leaning forward a bit when coming up out of the hole. Actually the first time I did them the bar slid off my shoulders down my arms and took a lot of skin with it so it wasn’t pretty. Once you get used to it you will find you can do the front squat without any upper body involvement. In fact, you should be able to get the bar in position and let go of the bar and it will stay in place as long as you dont lean forward.

Yeah, I dig front squats as well. Can’t say I feel much in my upper back though, may because I keep my torso almost vertical throughout the movement…

How much can you lift on the FS? I usually stick to 135-185, rep range lessening as I go up, but I can’ t go much heavier. I know a dude though whose not as strong as I for the most part and he can do 225 for like 6 which amazes me b/c I have a tough time keeping the bar on my clavicles/shoulders…

Go Low.
<200

I stick with about the same poundage as you. I know i can go heavier i just want to get the technique perfect before i move up. Since like i said i havent really done them before.
Kelly i almost had the same problem as you had. The bar slipped downwards a few times and i had to stop it with my hands. I almost sprained my hand doing it though. I found that front squats with someting like a t-shirt or jumper works well. If you are wearing a tank top or singlet it is very easy for it to slip. I have that video where ronnie coleman does 585 for 4 reps. Let me tell you that is some crazy shit.

A nifty device (that I think was covered in a useful stuff writeup) is the manta ray. It wraps around the bar and your shoulders to provide a nice snug fit. The back model is great too, cause it takes some pressure of the spine.

How do you hold the bar? If you are holding it with your arms folded w/hands on opposite shoulders you’re going to feel it more in your upper back, especially if you are doing more reps. Try holding it power style with your palms up and elbows pointing straight ahead. It’s more difficult at first but it allows you to stay more vertical once you start to add weight. Plus you can work more variations of the lift with this grip, like the squat press.

Slanine, the reason your upper back is sore is simply: Your body works as a chain. Your upper arm articulates with your scapula, your scaplua must be stabilized to your rib cage with your rhomboids and traps. If they don’t stabilize your scapula, your scapula moves, hence your upper arm falls, thus the weight falls. Usually the muscles of the upper back will fatigue before the legs do. A tip: You must feel like the bar is choking you to do the front squat properly and keep the reps low.