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Front squat vs back squat for mass, nsca-cpt textbook - For You

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Ask two seasoned lifters which squat variation is best for overall leg mass and you’ll likely receive conflicting opinions.
Two of the most common forms of the “big man on leg campus” are the back squat and the front squat. Arguably called the king of all exercises, the back squat has been a foundational move for anyone who has ever seriously touched a barbell. Pros: As the pros of the back squat are too long to list here I will mention some of the biggies. Cons: As the back squat is actually a highly technical lift, it can include a lengthy learning curve especially for taller lifters. Seen as the younger brother to the back squat, the front squat is an often forgotten or neglected exercise with a host of benefits. With your elbows stationary in the up position, step back from the rack and take the same foot stance as with the back squat: toes slightly pointed out and feet a bit wider than your shoulders.
Pros: as opposed to the back squat, the front squat better targets the quad muscles and involves the hamstrings and glutes to a lesser degree.
This verdict can only be reached depending on your goals, abilities and willingness to practice and improve on proper form.
The most popular squat exercise is the barbell back squat, in which a weighted bar is balanced on the shoulders behind the neck. The problem with back squats is that it’s next to impossible to perform them with a completely erect spine and pelvis.
Front squatting less weight results in the same muscle activation as back squatting more weight.
Descend slowly until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or deeper if you can), push from your heels and drive upwards. For other coaches like me, when we say to focus on the squat and deadlift for mass what we really mean are squat and deadlift variations. But for most people there are better options, especially if you’re tall or have long legs. The front squat has gained a lot of popularity over the years because the biomechanics are easier to get right. In terms of overall muscle activation, the front and back squat work many of the same muscle groups. If you can maintain lordosis (an inward curvature of the low back) from the starting position with the barbell resting on the floor with 45-pound plates, the regular deadlift is an excellent exercise. I always incorporate single-leg versions of the deadlift and squat into my programs since they effectively overload the targeted muscle groups while minimizing compressive forces through the spine.
The barbell squat and full deadlift overload many of the same muscle groups, but as a gross generalization most people think the squat is better for emphasizing quadriceps development and the deadlift is better for the hamstrings. The squat and deadlift are indeed two of the best strength exercise for quickly adding mass to your largest muscle groups. If I had to pick two I’d recommend the double kettlebell front squat (aka, goblet squat) and a partial deadlift with the pins set just below the knees.
When i used a barbell a would Deadlift 150kg for 4 reps, however there is simply no way i can replicate that kind of load using my home *equipment. Is 2-3 times per week an acceptable frequency for someone with intermediate level strength. My question is simple, you say that snatch grip deadlift can stimulate quads… so I was wondering if I could use the snatch grip deadlift as the only exercise for the lower body during some months. As most of you have likely had experience with both of these quad movements, let’s look a little closer at which pulls out in front as a better mass builder.

Activating a myriad of muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus muscles and indirectly affecting calves, lower and upper back and traps, it is easy to see the benefits surrounding a properly executed squat. They include overall body development, increased natural growth hormone production, the ability to squat a heavier weight than other squat options and an incredible metabolism booster. Using a lighter load and a more precise target of the quadriceps, the front squat has an entirely different learning curve as the back squat. Since you are using lighter weight than the back version you will experience less spine compression and less potential for back and hip strain. Fighting to keep your arms up and the bar steady could prove to shift the focus away from hammering your quads to simply staying steady. As most would attest that the back squat is the better mass builder due to it recruiting an enormous amount of muscle, the front squat does have its advantages. Possibly have a higher volume and higher rep leg day including the front squat and another leg day that is heavier in nature with lower reps that includes the back squat.
This is the one we all learned back in high school gym class and the one every powerlifter likes to brag about. First, it’s one of the most common root causes of chronic low back pain, as tilting the pelvis forward pushes the sacrum (tailbone) up and back, closing off the foramina between the base of your spine and your sacrum. Unlike the back squat, if you lean too far forward on a front squat you’ll drop the weight, so you have no choice but to keep your spine and pelvis upright. Weightlifting mythology may have you believe that the back squat activates more muscle fibers or that the front squat will primarily target the quadriceps, but that's not so.
This provides a solid base for the bar to rest on and prevents you from rounding your upper-back. Sometimes, while writing out an answer I realize that many more people could benefit from the information. Yes, the squat and deadlift are two of the best mass builders you’ll find because they primarily target the largest muscles in the body. For example, the front squat and partial deadlift (pin pull) will add just as much muscle as the barbell back squat and full deadlift.
If you can drop your hips below your knees with your heels down and your torso at 60-70 degrees, go for it. People with a history of knee problems typically fare better with the front squat, as mentioned in this study a few years ago (Gullet et al J Strength Cond Res 2009). If that’s a problem, the solution is as simple as pulling the barbell from a higher position such as just below the knees. There’s no significant advantage to doing it that way and you can get just as much muscle growth and development by allowing your knees to slightly flex as your torso shifts forward. Never really thought about double kettlebell front squat (aka, goblet squat) and partial deadlift is a good idea too. I actually have been in need of this information, as I may well not be able to touch the bar for about a year and will have to make do with dumbbells, a bench and my own bodyweight. I’m thinking of doing pistols and split squat variations, but my grip strength may be a limiting factor.
With the RDL, the knee joint is minimally flexed unlike a partial squat when it’s at 90 degrees. Sadly I got side tracked by some programs from Tnation by other trainers with WAYYY to many bells and whistles.
Therefore, for pulling I just can do rack pulls, shrugs and rows + bodyweight pull ups at home. Of course, the big boy on the block, squats, immediately comes to mind as a staple in any routine.

For maximum benefit load a barbell on your traps and take a few inches wider than shoulder width stance with your toes pointed slightly out a few degrees. Push with your hips back up keeping your back straight and knees in line, again, with toes. When performed correctly, the back squat strengthens the entire lower body while packing on the mass.
Place the bar atop the front of your shoulders assisted by crossed arms, a clean grip or affixing wrist straps around the bar and holding onto the ends.
With your core tight and back straight press the weight back up trailing your knees in line with your toes to the top position without locking your knees. Another challenge may be for those who have weak cores (lower back included), the front squat could be difficult due to the requirement for a strong supportive midsection. Better at targeting the quads, less spinal load and requiring more of an upright posture the front squat has its place in any program.
Other muscle groups, such as the abs, spinal muscles, and calves work to stabilize you and keep you from falling over. The spinal cord travels down the middle of each of the vertebra and exits the spine as peripheral nerves through spaces posterior to the discs called foramina. Nerves and surrounding soft tissues are incredibly sensitive, so it makes sense that they will be irritated by any change in the size or shape of these foramina spaces. Add in a bunch of compressive weight over a span of 25 or 30 reps several times per week and it’s easy to see how back squats encourage anterior tilting pelvic positioning. In addition, because front squats generally require less weight to get the same effect on the body, they put less compressive and shear force on the knees, lowering the risk of meniscus or ligament damage. Recognized for her work training and treating Milwaukee-area gymnasts, she strives to help her patients and athletes achieve better performance whether on the playing field or at their workplace.
The problem with the barbell back squat is that it requires high levels of mobility in the ankle, hips, adductors, hamstrings, T-spine, and shoulders.
Second, you don’t need as much dorsiflexion in your ankle joints to do the front squat with perfect form. Partial deadlift variations are outstanding for building mass because you can use more load while keeping your form in check since the range of motion is shorter. For example, if you use a snatch grip and have the mobility to drop your hips low, the deadlift can be an excellent quadriceps builder. Looking forward to the program you mentioned and hope there it will be on clickbank or have an affiliate program. Second, you increase the diameter of the targeted muscle fibers so they can develop more force. This can lead to low back pain and swelling and potentially even more disabling conditions like sciatica. For some, that literally translates to mean the barbell back squat and deadlift from the floor. To sum things up a simple switch back to your methods two months ago have put me back on the fast track to progress.
Second, it puts extra pressure on the posterior aspect of the discs in the lower back, forcing them into a wedge shape that increases the risk of a bulge or herniation. Finally, if you want to target the quads specifically, the back squat spreads the load to your entire leg area and will only be hampered by a weak point such as weak glutes or hamstrings.

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