T Nation

Front Squats vs. Back Squats


I was wondering if any forumites can tell me of any advantage of front squats over back squats? To me it seems the the same. I just started CT's OVT(Awesome BTW) and prefer back squats to front.


With some, front squats allow for more upright posture. On the flip side, I have some difficulty balancing the bar across my shoulders.



Front squats put more emphasis on the quad.


Yah, Atreides is right. Front put more strain on the quads, and back on the glutes and hams.


both of the above plus for me fronts dont put as much pressure on my low back.


PDOG..it is opposite for me. I feel more lower back pressure doing front squats. My form is good. I think a person's physiology (trunk length, bone size relationships, etc...) make a difference on this one. I am 6' medium frame ecto-meso type. Atreid mentioned it hit the quads more...that makes sense I suppose because of the weight distribution.


Front squats put more emphasis on quadricep development since you can't sit back as far. It also puts a premium on upright posture, core and trunk strength, and arm flexibility.

Stay strong
Mike Robertson, MS, CSCS
Director, Athletic Performance Center


Front squats tend to work the quads and hamstrings a bit more than the back squat, which tends to recruit the low back and glutes more. Do both!


If you master front squats and get to where you can use any weight at all with them, you will be the stud at your gym. Few enough people squat; almost no one front squats.


Front squats definitely stress my lower back and core a lot more than back squats. I like to switch it up where I do front squats for 4-5 weeks and vice versa.


Not much to add. I guess it depends on your weaknesses. Back has always been a weak point. Front squats work the whole back more than, back squats for me. Like others they hit the quads more, and back squats hit the hams and low back more.


Since I put a lot of Oly work into my routines, I like to concentrate on front squats a lot. This has allowed me to do two lower back sessions a week and still deadlift and not overtrain my lower back. If I back squatted every week and tried to train my lower back AND deadlift, I wouldn't make it. So, for example, I think you can work on your front squat if you would like to bring up your good morning or deadlift and not be worred about overtraining as much. Adds some variety and allows you to prioritize other things and yet still squat.


I started doing front squats a few sessions ago and discovered that they feel much better on my lower back than back squats do. However, I get nasty bruises on my shoulders (actually, the "intersection" of the front delt and bicep) from it. If I hold the bar back further on my delts, it chokes me. Tried both the upside-down-wrist-hold-thing and the cross-arm-hold-thing. Anyone have suggestions to reduce bruising?


i guess the low back thing is a highly individualized issue. for me the low back stress is reduced. i believe it is because on fronts i actually sit back further since there is no bar to push me forward. i also keep a more upright position. i.e. not much forward lean.

regardless i always incorporate both. ill do fronts for say 4-6 workouts and then alternate to backs.


I seem to have a problem with my traditional back squat strength actually translating into quad size. It's a form problem as I tend to lean forward too far whenever I go too much over 300. Instead, I either use a Hatfield (safety squat) bar or do front squats. The improved form really brought my legs up to speed. The only problem with front squats is that you won't see any substantial size until you're using well over 200lbs. Using the crossed-arms over your shoulders technique works better if you wrap the bar in a towel. Don't use too large of a towel though or the bar will have a tendency to want to roll off. Just like with any new exercise---practice practice and eventually you'll start cranking up the poundages.


I concure with all of you with how front squats emphasize the quads more. But out of curiousity....I just want to make sure I am not the only one who cant do as much weight with front squats as I do with back squats. Am I correct in stating that one usually cant do as much weight with front squats??? And if so.....what weight differences do most of you have between your front/back squats??


Well, I'd not say that I'm all that advanced with front squats, but my working weight is about 70% of my back squat weight. But it IS improving (at least until I had some hammie tendon challenges a while ago).


karma, as already suggested, you can use a towel, but when I was learning, I used nothing and eventually my shoulders toughened up and now I don't bruise quite so easily. You'll get used to it, but you will have ugly marks for a while.

First pull throughs and now front squats. Very nice to see, karma.


I too struggle getting comfortable with front squats.

What do you think of the barbell hack squat as an alternative for place more emphasis on the quads?



And my ass is getting even nicer to see.

Anyway, kidding aside, it boils down to one thing.....Boredom. I haven't been as consistant as I'd like to have been over the last year (usually 3-4 weeks of being "on" and then 2-3 weeks being "off" of training/diet). So I was training in perpetual Meltdown style. Sure, I'd up my weights, up my reps, change up the exercises and all but I just got friggin' bored with it. I'd been "on" since about a month before getting laid off and now for the last 5 weeks or so that I've not been working, I've been really "on". And really bored. So I've just been doing some digging around in previous issues for ideas to make a new, fun routine. Got any more ideas? :wink: