T Nation

Front Squats - Volume or Heavy?


#1

So I've been back squatting for years now and for a variety of reasons have decided to swap them for front squats for the next 6-8 weeks. I front squatted last week and was pleasantly surprised.

My question for the guys that regularly front squat is this: for building size, has heavy weight and low reps OR higher reps and higher volume worked better for you? Also, how many work sets do you typically do each session?

I've been training for several years now and am new to this exercise and have not figured out all of the nuances yet. Any advice and anecdotal experience will be appreciated.

Last week my entire core was pretty damn sore for the days following my leg session. While front squatting, I went heavy for a few sets of 5 reps and also did a few sets of high reps. Since I was sore all over, I can't tell yet which approach worked better.

On my heavy sets, I noticed that my quads easily handled the weight; balancing myself and maintaining an upright position was my limiting factor. Hopefully my core strength will catch up quickly over the next few weeks.

On my high rep sets, I definitely felt the burn in my legs, but in the past my legs have responded best to heavy weight. Perhaps a change will kick-start another growth spurt...

Thanks in advance.


#2

[quote]Big Aristotle wrote:
So I’ve been back squatting for years now and for a variety of reasons have decided to swap them for front squats for the next 6-8 weeks. I front squatted last week and was pleasantly surprised.

My question for the guys that regularly front squat is this: for building size, has heavy weight and low reps OR higher reps and higher volume worked better for you? Also, how many work sets do you typically do each session?

I’ve been training for several years now and am new to this exercise and have not figured out all of the nuances yet. Any advice and anecdotal experience will be appreciated.

Last week my entire core was pretty damn sore for the days following my leg session. While front squatting, I went heavy for a few sets of 5 reps and also did a few sets of high reps. Since I was sore all over, I can’t tell yet which approach worked better.

On my heavy sets, I noticed that my quads easily handled the weight; balancing myself and maintaining an upright position was my limiting factor. Hopefully my core strength will catch up quickly over the next few weeks.

On my high rep sets, I definitely felt the burn in my legs, but in the past my legs have responded best to heavy weight. Perhaps a change will kick-start another growth spurt…

Thanks in advance.[/quote]

I tried front squats today and could only manage 80kg for 2 sets of 5 before the bar started slipping out.

Very awkward exercise, guess I should stick with it and try to bring it up closer to my back squat.


#3

Not sure what your goals are, but if your just wanting to move heavy weight; work up to it.

Start with higher reps and get the form right…then reduce the volume/up the weight every two-three weeks.

I gained some awesome strength front squatting. Going from 185 for 5x8 to 325 for two singles in about 3.5mo.

…much better for back health (if you have worries about back pain; which i do/did)


#4

Front squats never go over well for high reps. The upper back fatigues too easily.

Stick with low reps in FS and use traditional squats or leg press for volume.


#5

Why would training parameters differ for the front squat vs. back squat?


#6

[quote]hexx wrote:
Front squats never go over well for high reps. The upper back fatigues too easily.

Stick with low reps in FS and use traditional squats or leg press for volume. [/quote]

x2, I’ve experienced the same.

Edit: What I mean is: my back seems to fatigue before my legs do when going for higher reps.


#7

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
hexx wrote:
Front squats never go over well for high reps. The upper back fatigues too easily.

Stick with low reps in FS and use traditional squats or leg press for volume.

x2, I’ve experienced the same.

Edit: What I mean is: my back seems to fatigue before my legs do when going for higher reps.[/quote]

x3 also I run out of breath very fast doing front squats. Once I get above 5 reps it becomes damn near impossible to breathe with all that weight sitting on my chest. FS is by nature a low rep, heavy weight exercise.


#8

I find it very cumbersome to perform high reps for the front squat. Perhaps I need to work on a my technique a little, but I’m finding it hard to breathe. 3 reps is about my limit.

However… front squats using the smith machine is another matter altogether.


#9

i remember Poliquin mentioning in a question of strength article that you dont want to go above 5 because the rhomboids fatigue quickly. makes sense, after 5 or 6 it feels like im focused on keeping the bar stabaalized rather than squatting.


#10

[quote]Nima wrote:
i remember Poliquin mentioning in a question of strength article that you dont want to go above 5 because the rhomboids fatigue quickly. makes sense, after 5 or 6 it feels like im focused on keeping the bar stabaalized rather than squatting.[/quote]

x2 on reading about the rhomboids getting tired after 6 reps. But in practice I’ve had much better results in the 10-12 rep range. But, I also do a lot of high rep upper back work (15-20 rep range,shoulder problems) and I don’t feel my back getting tried or have problems stabilizing the bar when front squatting.


#11

Both


#12

I haven’t had any issues with high rep front squats. I must need more weight :stuck_out_tongue:


#13

[quote]Nima wrote:
i remember Poliquin mentioning in a question of strength article that you dont want to go above 5 because the rhomboids fatigue quickly. makes sense, after 5 or 6 it feels like im focused on keeping the bar stabaalized rather than squatting.[/quote]
Yeah he says you should shoo for around 6.

Like someone else mentioned. Smih machine is brual man. followed by a leg press or hack squat widowmaker forge about it


#14

im the same as most of you guys. once i get past about 5-6 reps, im so out of breath im almost gasping for air when im done. do most of you guys hold the bar clean style, or cross your arms and rest the bar on your shoulders? ive never tried the latter.


#15

I like 'em for 20-rep sets.


#16

I like clean grip cuz it tends to keep me more upright compared with crossed arms. If you aren’t to bulky and have the flexibility, I would always say do it this way. but thats me. Ass to the Grass squat


#17

[quote]DragnCarry wrote:
I like 'em for 20-rep sets. [/quote]

An Australian with an All-Black for his avi???


#18

This is my favorite exercise, and it’s my main squat because my back is so fried.

I have had the same experience as Dave and Waylander. I just get out of breath and exhausted doing too much volume, even on warm up sets. I have a strategy for dealing with that.

And Jimmy, I always cross my arms. I just can’t do that wrist bending shit and keep good form. I know I should try to learn it but experimenting with the grip just messed up the whole lift.


#19

I just can’t do the whole wrists-bent back thing. It’s just too awkward for me, and with my history of joint pains, I don’t want to aggrivate anyhing. As far as reps, once you realize you have to work with lower poundages than back squats, you really can start focusing more on doing the actual work, and not just saying you moved some big number. I don;t do low reps, but I don’t do high ones either.

Some days I’ll stay around 225, or 245 and do sets of 10-12, other days I’ll go up to 275, which only allows me about 6-8. I think variety is the key to anything, despite what your muscle fiber type split may be.

S


#20

I prefer 3 reps, and 5-6 at max. 5x3 followed by 2-3 sets of high rep split squats should get the job done.