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Front Squats

How does everyone feel about front squats as a replacement for back squats? Due to a knee problem, back squats cause too much pain. But front squats do not hurt nearly as bad. I am pretty sure this is because I can keep my kees out in front of my hips and lessen the knee stress. Also, what percentage of weight can people handle with the front squat as compared to the back squat?

I personally prefer Front squats to Back Squats. I know they do more to develop my quads and balance. It is true that I can handle about 120 lbs more while doing back squats for reps, but I prefer the results I get from Front Squats.
Best of Luck.

If front squats feel better then go for it. Poliquin says your front squat max should be 85% of your back squat max.

Do you use standard form for your front squats? I have knee issues as well and would be interested in how you do your squats with less pain.

please explain the results you spoke of with the front vs rear squats. Thanks in advance.

Thanks for the responses. About 120 pounds less as Older Lifter says seems to be about what I can handle. Actually a bit less but have not been doing them too long yet. No way I can come close to 85% of my back squat. But maybe that is a goal to work towards.
Jason, I just use good strict form and the front squats do not bother me much. I saw a doctor who did x-rays and checked the knees. Ultimately he diagnosed it as DJD. He said that the best thing is to continue lifting but to try and not stress the knee by keeping the feet anterior to the hips and shoulders. I guess I can do this better with Front Squats or it really seems to just happen naturally.

The biggest difference has been in my quad development. Back squats seem to develop the top part of my thighs, while front squats developed my overall thighs and spinal muscles. I am not to partial to thigh with over developed brevis muscles.
Best of Luck with your training.

With all due respect to Mr. Poliquin, I think that rule of thumb is pretty silly. Even if you can develop such a rule, it must be relative to how much of angle your torso assumes during the back squat. A traditional powerlifting back squat will certainly not obey that rule.

My work weight on front squats is actually right around 85% of my back squat work weight. I agree that it’s a silly rule, though. It totally depends on your training objectives. A powerlifter would have a much lower percentage compared to an Olympic lifer, for example. I happen to think front squats are great, but maybe I’m a little biased.

What would we all agree is proper form for the front squat? I have heard several different things that vary a bit from one another.

Front squats are great. As I’ve incorporated them more into my routine, I like them more and more than back squats. They are not an exact substitute, but with some deadlifting and olympic lifting, you’ll have plenty of posterior chain work.

As for form, I hold the bar in the rack position of a clean. This is the only way I can maintain control of the bar and has allowed me to use much more weight than when I did the crossed hands method.

I prefer front squats because they seem to work the quads and abs much better than back squats. I find back squats are only good for working the posterior chain and I can’t really understand why anyone would do them on a quad dominant leg day.