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Old 02-27-2009, 08:45 AM   #1
Robert McBee
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Default Back Squat Myth(?)

"Myth: Back squats are better than front squats for gaining mass.
Mythbuster: Chris Bathke

Unless you're training for powerlifting, front squats are a better choice in terms of lower-body muscle recruitment and back health. In fact, I rarely have clients do back squats anymore.

The latest issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has a University of Florida study with this conclusion: "The front squat was as effective as the back squat in terms of overall muscle recruitment, with significantly less compressive forces and extensor moments."

The study also found that back squats had "significantly higher" spinal-compressive forces and greater torque on the knees. Another point for front squats is improved hip mobility. Since they force you to keep an upright position, you're allowed to achieve a greater range of motion. This means your glutes, hams, and quads are working harder.

So if getting jacked and staying jacked for a long time is your goal, front squats are the only squats you need."


Found the above in a recent t-nation article. Wondered what opinions you guys had. My S.I. joints have been bothering me and I've been contemplating cutting back squats out of my training in favor of front squats. The above seems to give fuel to my thinking on this since I'm not training for powerlifting or mass just for the sake of mass. Improved O-lifting is my training goal.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:43 AM   #2
Kevin Perry
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You know I was looking back at my log for the last few weeks and have felt a need to move more in favor of front squats to aid in the O-lifts. The back squat still and will always have it's purpose, I believe it's an important lift for overall strength building and a solid program will have both back and front squats together.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:44 AM   #3
Mike ODonnell
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If O-lifting is the goal.....wouldn't OH squats be more transferable to the snatch movement.....I would think FS transfer better to the clean also.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:53 AM   #4
Scott Kustes
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Doesn't the front squat have a greater emphasis on the quads whereas the back squat is better for hitting the all-important posterior chain?
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:55 AM   #5
Mike ODonnell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Kustes View Post
Doesn't the front squat have a greater emphasis on the quads whereas the back squat is better for hitting the all-important posterior chain?
not from the people I see in my gym doing 1/4 squats....
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:08 AM   #6
Kevin Perry
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see... you need to practice all versions of the squat dependent on the goal. Front Squat for Cleans, OHS for SN, back squat for posterior chain and general strength, etc.

Mod I was thinking cleans when I mentioned FS, naturally I leave something as important as OHS out go figure
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
Adam Scheiner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Kustes View Post
Doesn't the front squat have a greater emphasis on the quads whereas the back squat is better for hitting the all-important posterior chain?
Front Squat= Heavy emphasis on the anterior chain because the bar is in front of you

Overhead squat= Pretty evenly hits both chains because the bar is overhead

High Bar Back squat= More emphasis on posterior chain, but still hits the anterior chain well enough that it really helps the front squat

Low Bar= Predominantly posterior chain with very little anterior chain work, because the bar is so far away
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:36 AM   #8
Donald Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Scheiner View Post
Front Squat= Heavy emphasis on the anterior chain because the bar is in front of you

Overhead squat= Pretty evenly hits both chains because the bar is overhead

High Bar Back squat= More emphasis on posterior chain, but still hits the anterior chain well enough that it really helps the front squat

Low Bar= Predominantly posterior chain with very little anterior chain work, because the bar is so far away
I feel it's closer to this:

Front Squat = Heavy on quads and glutes, medium on abs, light on spinal erectors & hamstrings

Overhead squat = Heavy on quads, glutes, and abs, medium-heavy on shoulders & upper back, light on spinal erectors and hamstrings

High Bar Back squat = Heavy on quads and glutes, medium-light to medium on spinal erectors and hamstrings, light-medium on abs

Low Bar Back squat = Heavy on hamstrings and spinal erectors, heavy-medium on glutes, medium to medium-heavy on quads, medium on abs

Something like that would be more accurate in my opinion. I left out hip flexors and maybe some other stuff like upper back. Of course, to prove all this you'd have to look at some studies, but I don't know if we'd trust any studies without seeing how they had their participants squat.
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Old 02-27-2009, 02:09 PM   #9
Liam Dougherty Springer
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Man we love talking about the validity Squat variations.... could be worse we could love to talk about how to better Isolate the pectorals.

I love all the squats and do them all sometimes even in the same work out. I am so gratefully I learned ho to properly perform the high bar Back squat as it has enabled me to apply the FS and OHS more appropriately. The only thing is I like the narrow stance so much I now do my LBBS with a similar foot positioning which I know is a no no as far as al you PLing buffs go. I think I just have a narrow pelvis and it knda hurts to have my feet to wide.

As far as gaining mass I have to say a mixture of HBBS LBBS and FS would probably be my bet as they all allow for different muscle recruitment and loading capabilities. Now if we bring in the DL it cloud shift around the importance a little but in my opinion at least one of the BS variations mould be important as a catalyst for synergistic muscle coupling and balance between the front and backside mechanics in a integrated lift having an eccentric to concentric phase progression of contraction.
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Old 02-27-2009, 02:15 PM   #10
Kevin Perry
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a combination of all of those to engage all the fast twitch fibers + crap ton of food = mass = win.
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