If you’re an avid trainer, you know that squats are critical to building massive quads. Too many trainees neglect their lower body and end up with a physique that is unbalanced. Not to mention, forgoing leg training can set you up for a higher risk of injury as well.
When most people think of squats they tend to think solely of back squats. Sadly, this leaves front squats completely off the radar. This is unfortunate because front squats have a lot to offer.
Here are five reasons why you should be hitting front squats in your workouts.
Reason #1: Improved Quad Strength
The front variation is going to place more overall emphasis on the quad muscles. While regular back squats are great for working the hamstrings and quads, you are getting far more hamstring and glute activation. This can leave your quads ‘sleeping’ in a sense, not reaching their maximum potential. By adding front squats to the mix, you overcome this strength imbalance.
Reason #2: Enhanced Posture
Maintaining good posture is not only going to help you come across as more confident in day to day life, but it’s also going to help ensure that you are performing other exercises properly as well.
Nothing is going to boost your posture like a good set of front squats. This exercise requires the most upright posture of all the squat variations so as you start adding plate weight to the body while sustaining that posture, you can imagine what this is going to do for your postural muscles.
Strengthening these postural muscles, primarily in the core, will train them to activate during all your sessions. Maintaining good posture and activating your core while you train can help reduce the risk of injury.
Reason #3: Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
The next great benefit of front squats is improved flexibility. There’s no cheating your way out of front squats. You need to lower your body all the way down for this exercise to be truly effective and this means having the ability to open up the hips and improve your range of motion.
You’ll find that by regularly including front squats in your sessions, the flexibility of your calves, shins, and hips dramatically increases. This can help make every other lower body exercise you do easier with an improved range of motion.
Reason #4: Reduced Risk of Lower Back Pain
One common trait amongst heavy back squatters is low back pain. All the weight is loaded on the spinal column and even a slight forward lean can translate to lower back pain over time.
The great thing about front squats is that since the weight is placed on the front of the body, most of the stress is taken off the lower back joints. This can mean you stay pain-free longer, reducing your risk of being sidelined with an injury. Back pain is a very debilitating injury and once you have it, it can be hard to get rid of.
Stay safe by alternating back squats with front squats from time to time to give your lower back a break. If you usually squat twice per week, you might choose to devote one session to back squats and one to front squats. Or, alternate between two to three weeks of back squatting followed by two to three weeks of front squatting.
Reason #5: Provides Great Transferability
One final reason you’ll want to add front squats to your workout plan is for the strength gains which will transfer to other exercises. As you get stronger on your front squat, you’ll notice that you also get stronger on your back squat as well as your low bar squat.
Front squat skills also transfer well to any Olympic weightlifting exercises such as the clean and jerk or the snatch. Because these exercises all have a front squat movement pattern incorporated into them, the stronger your front squats get, the more weight you’ll usually be able to hoist during these exercises.
These are the top five reasons to consider adding front squats to your workout program. While the technique may take some time to perfect, when done properly, they can yield excellent results for any serious lifter.