The front squat is an exercise that can provide many benefits to any gym-goer. Unlike the back squat, which has the barbell placed on the traps, the front squat has the barbell in front of the body on the upper chest and shoulder blades.
The front squat’s benefits include strengthening of the quadriceps, building core strength/good posture, and improving athletic performance.
Because you are “sitting down” vertically and not “sitting back” as in a back squat, the quads are going to be much more exerted than the hamstrings. Thus, if you feel that the size and strength of your quadriceps are lagging, front squats will be a great addition to your routine.
Front squats also force the lifter into developing a strong core. The mechanics of the front squat require the back to be as vertical as possible to stabilize the weight. A relaxed core will facilitate a rounded back, making holding the barbell in place almost impossible.
This constant contraction and strengthening of the muscles associated with a vertical spine will lead to good posture over time, as that is the only way to safely front squat.
Thus, for anyone struggling with back pain, the front squat may be a better solution than the back squat. Since the back squatter experiences more forward lean due to the location of the bar, more stress is placed on the spine during this exercise.
Afterward, this will translate perfectly into other exercises, such as the deadlift, that require core stability and a flat back throughout the lift.
Additionally, the thoracic extension facilitated in the front squat is also required in a variety of sports. Imagine jumping or sprinting in basketball or football with a hunched over posture. Much less power and force is generated during these athletic maneuvers limiting athletic performance.
Lastly, the rep ranges and resistance used depends on the individual’s goals. However, the front squat should generally be used as an assistance exercise. In other words, it should be included to assist the in progression of the squat and deadlift by strengthening the muscles associated with both lifts.
The reason for this is that back squatting and deadlifting allows for the recruitment of far more muscle fibers and allows you to use greater weight because of this, increasing more total size and strength.
Nevertheless, by implementing the front squat for more quad and core development, while improving posture, you will be supported in various avenues overall.