Legs are a common muscle group to neglect, but they should never be forgotten. Although squats are an excellent choice for building quads and hamstrings, the front squat is a strong contender when it comes to concentrating on the quadriceps.
The front squat is a squat with the bar resting in the anterior deltoids, resting on the front of the shoulders and clavicles. The front squat is a good variation to add to your workout because it specifically targets quadriceps, especially the vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is located at the inner quad. In order to best target this muscle, your knees should be pointing slightly outward when you are performing this movement.
Although the front squat does seem to concentrate on the quads, it is important to remember that the squat is meant to work multiple muscle groups. The front squat may be a bit more quadriceps intensive than other variations, but it also works your buttocks, calves, hamstrings and core.
The front squat provides many benefits over other variations, such as the back squat and the hack squat.
Front Squats Benefits
Lets have a look at five of these benefits:
1. Easier On The Back Compared To The Back Squat
The front squat is often easier on the back compared to the back squat, this is because of the position of the weight . The weight is held in the anterior deltoids, and therefore your upper back does not have to support as much of the weight. As such, the front squat causes less back fatigue than the back squat.
2. More Core Activation Than Other Squat Variations
The core is vital to a safe and effective squat, so it made sense to include it in this list. The front squat requires more engagement of the abdominals and stability in the core compared to other variations because of how you have to stabilize against your anterior deltoids. Activating your core will prevent lower back pain by keeping your spine aligned correctly as you squat down and stand up again.
3. More Quadriceps Recruitment Than The Hack Squat
The front squat also allows for more quadriceps recruitment (VMO specifically) than the hack squat or other leg extensions. This is because when doing a front squat, your knees are pointing more outward as opposed to more straight in which is the case with most other variations. It’s safe to say that it’s also safer too.
4. It Develops Balance And Stability In The Squat Position.
One of the best benefits of the front squat is that it develops balance and stability in the squat position. As I explained above, the front squat requires more core and lower back engagement compared to other variations. This all stems from having to stabilize your anterior deltoids against the bar.
5. Helps Prevent Injuries By Strengthening The Quads
The front squat also helps prevent injuries by strengthening the quads as it works the VMO. The VMO is often associated with knee pain and injuries such as IT band syndrome, so strengthening it should keep these injuries at bay.
6. Improves Overall Balance Of Muscle Groups
The front squat is good for even distribution of muscle in your body. It’s safe to say that everyone has a stronger side when it comes to legs. For some people their left leg is stronger than the right; for others it’s vice versa.
7. More Quadriceps Stimulation
The quadriceps are often over-zealous and forgotten when it comes to strength training, but they should never be. The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is located at the inner quad, is very important for knee stability.
8. They Are A Great Exercise For Promoting Testosterone
Testosterone is good for overall health and muscle growth. Squats have been known to increase testosterone levels, which is a well-known hormone responsible for muscle growth.
Despite these benefits, it is important not to overdo them by pushing your body too hard in the gym. Just like any other exercise, squats must be done with proper form and correct training techniques.
How To Perform The Front Squat
- Set up the bar on a power rack at about shoulder height or a little lower. Choose a weight you can handle comfortably and safely. Make sure the power rack is locked and stable. Wear a lifting belt if you’re going to be handling heavy weights.
- Position the bar on your anterior deltoids, resting it on your front shoulders and clavicles. Make sure that there is an arch in your lower back and that your knees are pointing out slightly as you perform the squat. With weightlifting gloves or a cross-strap, make sure there is no slippage of the bar as you progress with this exercise.
- Keep a straight back and chest up while squatting down. Keep your elbows pointing out to the side as you lower the weight.
- When you are on the bottom position, make sure that your knees are facing slightly straight before you come back up again. Be sure to keep your core engaged before bring yourself back up into the starting position.
- Avoid bouncing on the bottom position of each rep. Make sure to control your movement even if you’re taking relatively light weight, but always remember to be safe when handling heavy weights.
The front squat is definitely great for muscle building and strength training, especially since it develops stability in the squat position and allows for more quad and hamstring recruitment than other variations of squats.