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Thread: Front Squats

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    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    Front Squats

    So I recently tweaked my low back. Nothing serious, but definitely a yellow flag. I’ve chosen to sub in front for back squats to ease up on my posterior chain so I can continue to progress on deadlifts without pre-fatiguing my lower back (I follow up squats with deads), and so far it’s going well. Briefly researching the benefits and drawbacks of each variation of squat, I’m wondering if performing front squats indefinitely could be more conducive to my hypertrophy goals as well as posterior chain preservation. I feel like my glutes and hams already get plenty of attention with deads/RDL/leg presses, so I wouldn’t mind switching the load over to my quads and particularly my upper back, especially given my chronic hamstring tightness and past injuries. I’m flexible enough to squat below parallel with backs, but obviously I can achieve significantly greater depth with fronts. And obviously I can’t lift as much weight, but is this really relevant as long as I’m performing them at the same % and set/rep scheme as my back squats?

    Anyone have any experience switching variations? Any insight?
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    Originally Posted by Xpiro View Post
    So I recently tweaked my low back. Nothing serious, but definitely a yellow flag. I’ve chosen to sub in front for back squats to ease up on my posterior chain so I can continue to progress on deadlifts without pre-fatiguing my lower back (I follow up squats with deads), and so far it’s going well.


    Briefly researching the benefits and drawbacks of each variation of squat, I’m wondering if performing front squats indefinitely could be more conducive to my hypertrophy goals as well as posterior chain preservation.

    I feel like my glutes and hams already get plenty of attention with deads/RDL/leg presses, so I wouldn’t mind switching the load over to my quads and particularly my upper back, especially given my chronic hamstring tightness and past injuries.

    I’m flexible enough to squat below parallel with backs, but obviously I can achieve significantly greater depth with fronts. And obviously I can’t lift as much weight, but is this really relevant as long as I’m performing them at the same % and set/rep scheme as my back squats?

    Anyone have any experience switching variations? Any insight?
    fixed

    Front squats are amazing for core too, I think you are making a good choice.
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    Quads work as quads as long as you're extending your knee. If FS fits your current goals, then go for it. Probably you'll adapt to them quickly and your numbers will go up. Can you BS once a week or no?
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    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    Quads work as quads as long as you're extending your knee. If FS fits your current goals, then go for it. Probably you'll adapt to them quickly and your numbers will go up. Can you BS once a week or no?
    Yeah, probably. I’ve been playing it safe and omitting them completely until further notice, but I’ve done a 1:1 BS to FS frequency ratio in the past for my low back and recovered well. Though I worry I’d be sacrificing rate of progression on both FS and BS if I only do each once per week.

    @Junsuiakai: lol fair, I’ll paragraph my stuff in the future.
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    Not the best hypertrophy choice as its hard to do more then 5 reps before the stabilizers start going imo

    When I was doing 405x5 I couldn't get that many more reps with 315 tbh, upper back slumps and its game over even when the quads are fresh

    I do a couple of sets then jump on the leg press

    Downside is they kill my arthritic knee no matter what shoes I wear or how I try to do them (paused or tng)
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    Great exercise but I wouldn't select them for quads.

    Step ups or a hack squat machine would probably be best outside of back squat variations.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Hack squats with a barbell behind your legs is pretty good too. You have to consciously keep your body upright and your butt low at the start otherwise it just becomes a weird deadlift. Burns quads like crazy with lower weights than you'd use for back squat.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Hack squats with a barbell behind your legs is pretty good too. You have to consciously keep your body upright and your butt low at the start otherwise it just becomes a weird deadlift. Burns quads like crazy with lower weights than you'd use for back squat.
    I already do barbell hacks after deadlifts (1x per week), but even using 25 lb plates I can’t really hit depth Before the plates hit the floor. So it’s a reduced range of motion, but I think it’s helped me learn to explode from that mid-way-ish point in my back squat where I usually struggle. Great exercise for sure, especially with heels elevated.

    If I’m to return to back squats, I suspect that I’d have to start limiting my depth to just parallel since my low back issues usually start when my hip crease dips below the top of my knee. It’s just that I have the flexibility to go really low, so I worry that I won’t be getting the full benefit of the movement if I’m not taking myself through the greatest range of motion that my body is capable of. But if it’s for safety reasons...
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    Originally Posted by Xpiro View Post
    I already do barbell hacks after deadlifts (1x per week), but even using 25 lb plates I can’t really hit depth Before the plates hit the floor. So it’s a reduced range of motion, but I think it’s helped me learn to explode from that mid-way-ish point in my back squat where I usually struggle. Great exercise for sure, especially with heels elevated.

    If I’m to return to back squats, I suspect that I’d have to start limiting my depth to just parallel since my low back issues usually start when my hip crease dips below the top of my knee. It’s just that I have the flexibility to go really low, so I worry that I won’t be getting the full benefit of the movement if I’m not taking myself through the greatest range of motion that my body is capable of. But if it’s for safety reasons...
    If the bar isn't touching your butt you can go lower.
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    You don’t have to squat ATG, but you probably know that.

    If for some reason you can’t squat, I’ve found good luck with single leg presses. I’m actually contemplating replacing hacks with them.

    Pros
    Need less weight
    Nice stretch to the hips

    Cons
    Haven’t really found any yet
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    If the bar isn't touching your butt you can go lower.
    Hmm... I’ll give it a shot. Might be a mental block or the feeling that I‘ll end up in hyperextension.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    You don’t have to squat ATG, but you probably know that.

    If for some reason you can’t squat, I’ve found good luck with single leg presses. I’m actually contemplating replacing hacks with them.

    Pros
    Need less weight
    Nice stretch to the hips

    Cons
    Haven’t really found any yet
    I do single leg leg presses already too (and regular leg press for that matter).

    And yeah, I know total A2G isn’t necessary, but is hip crease to knee and no further going to be as effective for me if I’m technically capable of getting lower? I mean, I can definitely squat more weight at the same rep scheme and RPE at parallel than below. Not by much but still.
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    Originally Posted by Xpiro View Post
    I do single leg leg presses already too (and regular leg press for that matter).

    And yeah, I know total A2G isn’t necessary, but is hip crease to knee and no further going to be as effective for me if I’m technically capable of getting lower? I mean, I can definitely squat more weight at the same rep scheme and RPE at parallel than below. Not by much but still.
    It just sounds like to me you’re not built to get much lower than parallel with weight, but I could pull up numerous studies where the lower you go, the more your back goes into too much flexion, and the only thing that gets more stimulation is the glutes. So no shame in going to the rom your body allows.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    It just sounds like to me you’re not built to get much lower than parallel with weight, but I could pull up numerous studies where the lower you go, the more your back goes into too much flexion, and the only thing that gets more stimulation is the glutes. So no shame in going to the rom your body allows.
    I actually tend to hyperextend rather than go into flexion, but that’s a problem in its own right of course. And true, the closer I get to my working weight of roughly 85% of my (estimated) 1RM, the more hesitant I am to squat below parallel. As long I’m painlessly reaping full benefits.
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