I am passionate about a few things: my faith, my family, short shorts, coffee, and SQUATS!
I LOVE leg day. Truth be told the back squat is actually my favorite exercise. There is something about slapping a bunch of weight on a bar, squatting down, and then standing back up. I think I have always loved leg day because I know it can be a separator.
Although the back squat is my favorite exercise... Its annoying younger brother might actually steal the show: The Front Squat.
The beauty of the front squat is that it forces you to keep your torso vertical or you dump the weight. It also shifts the weight forward, allowing you to place more emphasis on the quads.
Emphasizing the quads is of utmost importance due to the recent popularization of the 4" seams (you're welcome). It is officially summertime and the saying has never rang more true, "Skies out, thighs out."
Check out the many benefits of the front squat below and give them a try in your next leg workout. I am currently programming front squats in my Daily Workout Plan. Grab a free 7-day trial here.
Lastly, if you struggle with the front rack position, you can try cross-arm front squats or use straps. Check out my modification video here: Front Rack Modifications.
Benefits of the Front Squat:
1: More Core Activation
Due to the weight being loaded in the front, the lifter must use the abs and low back to keep the torso upright. Crunches are cool, but compound exercises are the best way to strengthen the core. The front squat is one of the best core exercises in existence!
2: Quad Focused
Again, the weight being loaded in the front places more strain on the front of the leg and can increase muscle and strength in the quads. If you really want to grow the legs, try adding tempo (descending slowly) and then pausing at the bottom of the squat.
3: Improved Upper Body Mobility
In order to hold the bar in a good front rack position the lifter must have enough mobility in the upper body to get into this position. Make sure to mobilize the wrists, lats, and triceps prior to front squats.
I like to do the mobility exercise below before I front squat to mobilize the wrists and ankles. Gently rock back and forth 15-20 times.
4: Carryover to Olympic Lifts
If you want to get better at the clean and jerk, the front squat is one of the key pillars to perfecting that lift! The heavier you can front squat, the more your clean can grow. One should be proficient at front squats before diving into Olympic lifts.
5: Less Load on the Spine
The bar weight is loaded directly on the spine when you back squat. Whereas when you front squat, the weight is offset and can reduce some of the pressure on the spine.
You don't see many people doing front squats in the gym. Do you know why? Because they are a very difficult exercise. People shy away from them.
I think there is some benefit to purposely choosing exercises you know will push you. Take yourself way out of your comfort zone, learn the technique, and build up to some heavy front squats. You strength and legs will thank you.
Give one of these options a try on your next leg day!
5 sets of 2 reps, heavy!
3 sets of 15, light
4 sets of 12, moderate weight
4 sets of 5, moderate weight, explode up
Have an awesome day and happy squatting,
Read more about my story on my "About Me" page.