T Nation

Front Squats Instead of Back Squats

17 (soon 17) year old, 183cm, 80kg

I’m training to become a better hockey player.
Since almost every coach I’ve ever worked with prefer regular back-squats over front-squats I’ve always done back-squats.

Every time I do squats i bend my back a bit to much forward and it has led to a sore back (a pain that I almost only feel immedietly after a workout) and my knees has also become a bit sore. My squat form isn’t perfect so to speak.
However, I have always trained squats, 1-1.5 years back, regularly. And now I’m thinking about changing to Front-Squats before I get a serious injury.

How about it?
Is Front-Squats as good as Back-Squats?
Will I develope my strentgth, explosiveness etc. just as good with Front-Squats as I do with Back-Squats?
Will Front-Squats also be beneficial for hockey?
What do you guys think?

(Offcourse I will continue to try to learn regular back-squats, but it will not be my major excersice anymore)

Front squats certainly can be used instead of back squats but you’ll have to perform a little bit more extra work for the glutes and hamstrings. If you throw in a couple of extra sets of GHRs or reverse hypers you’ll be fine at the end of you’re workout you’ll be fine.

I know many people who prefer front squats to back squats. They both do a good job. I would recommend switching over definetely if you feel its necessary. Every once and a while you could incorporate back squats into the mix just to mix things up a bit and polish up your form.

This is from a recent interview done here on T-Nation. The guy’s name is Robert Remedios he is the N.S.C.A coach of the year. I happen to agree with his thoughts on front squats…excerpt of interview:

T-Nation: When young athletes come to you for training, what’s the first thing you
do with them?

Dos: One of the first things we do is the bodyweight full-squat. I like to see what I’m starting with and a butt-to-ankles squat can often tell you a lot about an athlete. From there we might look at a single-leg squat as well.

I was recently asked what I thought was the number one exercise. I said a full front squat. I don’t think there’s another exercise that can tax so many muscles and work both upper and lower body flexibility at the same time.

We don’t back squat our athletes because I see back squats as more of a problem than anything. When we first made this change, we had a huge difference in load numbers. These days the numbers might be confused with actual back squat numbers with many, many athletes going well beyond 400 pounds.

Go ahead and get all over me for doing single leg squats because there’s “not enough load.” My volleyball athletes do sets of ten with 40-plus pounds of external load. What can you do? Oh, and yes, the athlete pictured below can regular squat a shitload as well.

What is GHR?

Okay, I read the article at the moment. It seems like he knows what he’s talking about! :slight_smile:

I think I’ve made up my mind also, I was worried that front-squat wouldn’t be a good enough change for back-squats. But now I’ll start doing them alot more often.

[quote]Control_61 wrote:
What is GHR?[/quote]

Glute Ham-raise

In Swedish: kallas finnen, eller liggande l?rcurl om man k?r det i maskin

?r du ocks? medlem p? h?lso-forumet btw?

make sure you do some posterior chain work to balance it off because front squats are more quad dominant and so is skating so you are likely to develop an imbalance that may lead to injury

I agree Front squats are great and will likely build your back squat if you do both do them and DL’s and hey your golden.

I would NOT lose back squats all together if you suck at them all the more reason to get better at them find that weakness and attack it make it a strong point


Not that you need anymore convincing, but both Charles Poliquin and Mike Boyle, two great trainers of athletes, are advocates of front squats.

And make sure you don’t always do front squats, switch your exercises up every 3-4 weeks.

How about instead of giving up on back squats, which would make you a big pussy, why not make it a strong point and get some strong ass glutes and hamstrings?

Because back squats hurt him. Did you read his post?

[quote]rmccart1 wrote:
Because back squats hurt him. Did you read his post?[/quote]

He has weaknesses and technique issues that he should be addressing if he wants to get stronger/decrease risk of injury in the squat.

It doesn’t mean the lift is bad for him, he just needs to work on the things to make him better at it.

Hey I’m sorry to hijack your thread but I’ve also recently been thinking of doing more front squat than back squat work.

I’ve been looking for research/any writing on back squatting and spinal compression, and if this poses a problem. Any thoughts?

Right, but if front squats feel better to him, and he wants to do them for the majority of his squatting, he should do that. Also, he’s a hockey player. Beyond improving his performance on the ice, he may not care about his squat, which is perfectly fine. If front squats work for him, he doesn’t “need” to get better at the back squat.

[quote]vandalay15 wrote:
rmccart1 wrote:
Because back squats hurt him. Did you read his post?

He has weaknesses and technique issues that he should be addressing if he wants to get stronger/decrease risk of injury in the squat.

It doesn’t mean the lift is bad for him, he just needs to work on the things to make him better at it.[/quote]

And that is exactly what he said he plans on doing.

Read his first post.

I really wish people would FULLY read the whole opening post instead of jsut going by the title and a quick glance.

[quote]Hanley wrote:

I was replying to how he said he was going to switch over before getting seriously injured and that squats would no longer be a major exercise.

I was also replying to the other dude above me, not just the thread starter.

He is 16 years old and admits his form isn’t the best. Most likely improving his technique and doing enough work/assistance work will bring up his weaknesses enough.

Just saying no need to replace squats w/ front squats as a “major exercise”. Both are good, so use both but work on issues he has now.

I’ve done front and back squats, and they do not feel the same and give me a different soreness the next day. I think you should go ahead and do front squats theres nothing wrong with adding exercises, but you should also work on correcting your issues with back squats at least to the point that you can do them in alternating workouts.

I don’t train these guys and have only seen instances of elite athletes in training, but I’ve never seen a superior explosive and fast athlete that had pain while squatting.