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December 14, 2009
Front Squat vs. Back Squat
One of the many aspects that make Sparta different is the greater use of front squats compared to back squats, especially in beginner/intermediate athletes. The major stimulus difference is that front squats tend to stress the ankle and knee joints more, resulting in larger activations of the gastrocnemius (calf) and rectus femoris (quadriceps), while back squats challenge the hip joint more to stimulate the adductors (groin) and glutes (butt muscles).


The front squat also has the added benefit of a fail safe mechanism. When the weight gets to heavy on front squat, it brings the athlete forward and causes them to drop the weight on the ground in front of them. Athletes who are less experienced in weightlifting tend to get stuck with bar on their back during back squat, exposing them to greater injury before truly understanding how to ditch a heavier weight than they’re ready for.
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December 14, 2009
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4 thoughts on “Front Squat vs. Back Squat”

  1. Interesting reasoning Dr Wagner.

    Do you think some individuals simply arent built to back squat (long femurs- increased risk of lumbar and/or knee shear stress etc) and should therefore simply stay on front squats throughout their training?
    Even individuals with good proportions seem to suffer from either increased lumbar flexion or excessive knee translation over the foot in order to reach basement depth, do you not find?

  2. Absolutely, great point and question.

    Athletes that struggle on back squat, due to longer femurs or other issues, spend a longer time in the front squat phase of our program until they get at least 120 kilose (i.e. sometimes they front squat forever).

    Setting performance standards such as % body weight for a front squat, allows us to to control when individuals can progress to front squat

  3. awesome Doc. Mate didnt realise I hadnt signed onto this blog without an identity,
    yours sincerely the crazy Brit (TT)

    ps this Blog is a great read by the way.

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