The Squat Conundrum: Front to Back
Front squats are one of the most popular exercises among strength athletes. They have been used for decades and still remain the go-to exercise for many powerlifters. However, there’s a problem with them: they’re hard!
What makes them difficult?
First off, it takes some time to master their execution (and even then you may not see immediate results). Second, they require a certain level of flexibility and mobility in order to perform correctly. Finally, they involve a large amount of muscle mass which requires significant amounts of energy from the lifter. All these factors make them very taxing for the body.
As such, when choosing between front squats and back squats, you need to consider all three variables before making your decision.
How do I feel after my workout? Do I feel sore or tight afterwards? Is it easy to get into position and maintain proper form during the set? How much weight can I lift without feeling exhausted or burning out? Are there any other benefits of front squats that aren’t listed here?
In addition, if you’re going to choose between front squats and back squats, how will you decide which one is best for me based on these considerations alone?
These are all important questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not you should get rid of your front squat routine or not. If you’re still struggling to find the answer, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this guide on how to answer these questions and more.
How Can You Tell if Front Squats are Right For You?
First and foremost, you need to consider what type of weightlifting program you’re using. If you’re doing a program that involves only three weekly workouts, you probably don’t have enough time in your schedule for both the front and back squat. In that case, it’s best to drop the front squat and focus on the back squat by itself. You’ll still see results if you’re training hard and getting adequate nutrition.
If you’re doing a more traditional routine that involves four or more weekly sessions, then why not include both?
In this case, it’s best to split your sessions so that you’re doing one back squat focused workout and one front squat focused workout each week.
It’s also a good idea to consider the amount of weight you’re lifting. If you’re struggling to break past the 300-pound mark for your back squat, then it might be best to drop the front squat for a while and focus on bringing up the weight you can lift for traditional lifts. Once your strength on compound lifts has increased, you can then add the front squat into your routine with greater success.
The last thing to consider is flexibility and mobility. If you’re struggling to perform a proper depth front squat (your hip drops lower than your knee), you won’t be able to lift as much weight as you otherwise could. Because of this, it’s just best to stick to the back squat until your flexibility increases to a level that allows for deeper depth in this exercise.
We’ve gone over some of the pros and cons of both exercises, but if you’re looking for a final verdict on which one is better, it’s really going to come down to your own personal preference. Some lifters prefer the feel of front squat while others swear by the back. Try them both out for yourself and see what works best for you. Our suggestion is to try the back squat first and see how it feels.
If you enjoy that, then try the front squat for a while and see how that suits you.
If you try these tips out and you’re still not sure which one is best for you, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try front squat sessions mixed in with your back squat sessions and keep an eye on how your legs are developing.
Which style do you feel more after your workout? Which one do you feel more the next day?
These questions are important to ask yourself so that you can determine which one you should stick with in the long-run.
Before we wrap this article up, we have one more suggestion for you. Ask a friend or training partner to film you while you work out so that you can see your form from multiple angles. This will help you see if there are any flaws or issues with your current squat style. Just make sure the person filming isn’t too distracting, and always ask before you film them!
We hope you enjoyed this article and learned a thing or two about front vs back squat. As always, we encourage you to share this with your friends and anyone else who you think can benefit from it. Thanks for reading and stay strong.
P.S. – If you don’t have a training partner to help you with these exercises, you can always check out the Rogue Monster Bands to assist you. These are great for adding slight instability to the bar as you lift, which can force added muscle activity.
Just make sure you don’t place them too tight or too high on the bar that they hinder your ability to get the bar off the rack. Check them out by clicking the image below!
Sources & references used in this article:
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From citizens to citadins? Rethinking right to the city inside housing squats in Rome, Italy by M Grazioli – Citizenship studies, 2017 – Taylor & Francis
Trade Distinctiveness: Solving Scalia’s Tertium Quid Trade Dress Conundrum by L Smith – Mich. St. L. Rev., 2005 – HeinOnline
The Conundrum of Kamaiya: Ex–Bonded Laborers, Local Leaders, and the Construction of Claims and Profit in a Nepalese Squatter Settlement by KM Gallagher – Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 2017 – journals.sagepub.com
Anti-Bro Arm Movements: Bicep Curls for a Healthy Back by B DeSimone – breakingmuscle.com
Validity and Reliability of the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 5 Repetition Maximum to Determine Unilateral Leg Strength Symmetry by M Helme, C Bishop, S Emmonds… – The Journal of Strength …, 2019 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Does the performance of five back-associated exercises relate to the presence of low back pain? A cross-sectional observational investigation in regional … by CP Gabel, HR Mokhtarinia, J Hoffman, J Osborne… – BMJ open, 2018 – bmjopen.bmj.com
This City Is An Archive: Squatting History and Urban Authority by M Thompson – 2010 – Basic Books (AZ)