Jump aboard the front squat gain train

Posted by Dave Napper in Muscle Building

Estimated reading time: 3mins

Jump aboard the front squat gain train

Why you should train the front squat

1. Learn better technique

The most common issue I see when people back squat is they perform a ‘squat morning’ where their hips shoot up out of the hole resulting in an inefficient technique and excessive loading of the lower back.

Doing so with a front squat will result in the bar falling off your shoulders so to complete reps, you are forced to keep your body better braced and your torso more upright. If you do enough front squats, hopefully, you will see the benefits carry over to your back squat.

2. More quad gains

In short, placing the barbell on the front of your shoulders recruits more quadriceps involvement, while placing the barbell on your back requires more glute and hamstring activation.

While both types of squats work a variety of muscles, if your quads are lacking in size or strength then the front squat is a great compound exercise to specifically target them while simultaneously working other muscles.

Compare this to say the leg extension which is great for training quads but does so in isolation. The front squat, however, offers a better ‘bang for your buck’ option for working those quads.

3. More back gains

Placing the bar on the front of your shoulders requires upper back strength to keep your chest up and prevent thoracic curvature during front squats.

While there are many great upper back exercises, getting bonus upper back gains while also training legs is just one of the big benefits to performing front squats.

4. More core gains

Similar to the above, when the bar is placed on your front delts it requires much more abdominal bracing and stability to keep the torso upright and rigid during front squat reps.

Essentially, your abdominal section is forced to activate during front squats to prevent your chest from caving due to the weight stacked on your shoulders. Getting an ab workout while you squat? Front squats can help with that!

5. It’s safer

If you’re able to perform front squats with bumper plates then I consider front squats to be much safer than back squats. The reason for this is when people fail front squats, the bar usually just falls forward from their shoulders and lands in front of them without injury.

On the other hand, if you fail a back squat then you’ll have two options – either dump the bar off your back if you’re quick enough otherwise you’re likely going to fall forwards and either be caught by rack safety bars or be pinned under the barbell on the floor.

Here’s a great front squat workout plan

Unsure how to incorporate front squats into your training? Consider this four sessions per weekly training split.

Session One

Exercise Sets and Reps
Front squats3 x 5
Front squats3 x 10
Seated Cable Rows3 x 10
Leg Extensions3 x 10

Session Two

Exercise Sets and Reps
Dead Lifts3 x 5
Stiff Leg Dead Lifts3 x 10
Lat Pull Downs3 x 10
Hamstring Curls3 x 10

Session Three

Exercise Sets and Reps
Back Squats3 x 5
Paused Back Squats3 x 5
Barbell Rows3 x 10
Dumbbell Tricep Extensions3 x 10

Session Four

Exercise Sets and Reps
Dumbbell Bench Presses3 x 10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Presses3 x 10
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows3 x 10
Dumbbell Bicep Curls3 x 10
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