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Front Squats: ATG or Parallel?


#1

Hey everyone, I'm new here, I've been lifting for a little while, and been lurking for a little less than that. Just wanted to ask a question:

I'm 6'4", and it's really difficult for me to do back squats at all, there's just no point for me. So I've been doing front squats with my pathetic numbers. I know the proper technique I think, except for one detail: when lowering, do you guys think it's better to go ATG or to parallel?

I ask because ATG for me is really not possible for me at my level of strength/flexibility, so I've been going as close as I can to the ground (which ends up being an inch or so), and I'm having problems coming out of the hole. I feel like my legs can take more load, but I just...can't do it.

Is the answer "front squat more", or should I stop at parallel, or...?

Thanks in advance


#2

I personally don't ever go ATG because of flexibility issues and the fact that I squat to get better at squatting. I'm not going to go ATG on a max so why do it during work sets.

So I would say to do both, front squat more and stop at parralel or just below.

P.S.
How much do you squat?


#3

Without seeing your front squat technique, it's hard to say exactly what you should do. If you're having trouble getting out of the hole, the problem might be deactivated glutes, tight hip flexors or hams, who knows.

If I were in your situation (which I once was from too much time spent on my ass at work), I would A) start with some glute activation before squatting, like a couple sets of fire hydrants per leg, followed by a set of light sumo deadlifts and B) use a load that really stimulates my quads on the front squat, even if I couldn't get ATG with it. The stimulation work will help get your glutes firing prior to the front squats and help you sit back. Your real goal (I suspect) is quad and posterior chain development. I say don't sacrifice load for absolute perfect ATG form on every rep. Control the movement, break parallel and drive hard off the floor and into the bar.

You may also benefit from some hip mobility work and stretching the hip flexors and hams.


#4

I'm a little taller than 6'4" and I back squat every week. While you may not be able to effectively use the back squat right now (for whatever reason), you shouldn't just say "There's no point for me". I had to over come some flexibility issues as well as some lower back issues before back squats did anything for me but make my back hurt.

Personally I feel stopping at parallel puts a lot of pressure on my knees and going ATG feels more 'natural' to me on the front squat.

Do you use a belt? Being a taller guy you may want to look into it.


#5

A measly 60kg :\ I know, I know!

I have been working on my mobility and stretching recently. My hip flexors are quite tight, I think, and not very strong either, so I've been working on that to try and help out both my kung fu and gym time. Not so intensely though, maybe I should ramp it up.

[quote=]frankjl wrote:
I'm a little taller than 6'4" and I back squat every week. While you may not be able to effectively use the back squat right now (for whatever reason), you shouldn't just say "There's no point for me". I had to over come some flexibility issues as well as some lower back issues before back squats did anything for me but make my back hurt.[/quote]

It's great that back squats can work for you, but I tried for a very long time (about a year) to get somewhere, and the length of my femurs makes it very difficult for me. I couldn't even get to parallel without having my torso come all the way forward...it was just extremely uncomfortable.
I haven't used a belt before either...perhaps I should look into that as well.

Thanks for the replies guys!