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Scaling: Reasons to Front Squat instead of Back Squat

Starting Strength

Have you tried front squats and thought, “There is no way I can get into this position!”

The movement demands a lot of shoulder mobility to hold the bar correctly, but unlike the back squat there are many ways to scale the exercise.

With the back squat you can’t change much other than how wide you grip the bar. (The shoulder mobility needed for a back squat is actually very close to the front squat, but athletes simply don’t know this and hold the bar incorrectly.) The front squat, on the other hand, has many variations that you can turn to if you cannot hold the bar in a front rack position.

The only necessary factor is that the weight must be in front of the body. The hardest part of a front squat for most people is the shoulder mobility needed for the front rack. This is easily fixed by crossing over the arms to hold the bar on your shoulders. You can also adjust the type of load to dumbbells or kettlebells.

Below are a few demonstrations of different front squat variations that are all effective.

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