You may be thinking, “I definitely don’t want to front squat instead of back squat!” If you ever attended one of my old classes you should just be happy to hear I am not telling you to do Zombie Squats. 😳
When athletes begin training with us we always build them up to be able to do front squats. We then use them frequently to train complete strength. One of the main reasons we prefer the front over the back squat variations is for safety.
Safety is always the number one priority. You are never going to perform well if you are injured. The front squat keeps you safe because it places much less pressure on your lower back. In the back squat most athletes tend to arch their lower backs and their lumbar spine is put under a high amount pressure. This often causes nagging injuries that are hard to rid oneself of.
In a more obvious way the front squat is safer because you can simply drop the weight. If it is too heavy you can just let go and the weight will fall in front of you. In a back squat many more things can go wrong when failing under the weight. Another way you may fail while doing a front squat is if your form is incorrect. If you lean forward or lose stability you will also drop the weight. Again this is a positive because we don’t want our athletes lifting with poor form. This failure mechanism keeps them naturally accountable. With a back squat even with poor form the weight can stay on your back. With the load staying put you can compensate more easily with other muscles to keep standing up in a compromising manner.
If you are just beginning to squat or to focus on squatting correctly begin working towards a front squat. Add these in to your weekly sessions and perfect your form before moving on to back squats.