Introducing front squats

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    Introducing front squats

    After years of back squatting twice per week, with the exception of swapping in fronts to recover from low back injuries, I’ve decided to swap them in once per week for the following reasons:

    Low back has been giving me **** so I’ll be doing them on deadlift day

    Quad growth ain’t so hot

    Nor is back squat progress

    They’re fun

    So, questions:

    I usually squat before deadlifting for the low back (deadlift can’t crush you if you fail) and for a bit of a warmup. Since spinal loading and overall posterior chain fatigue won’t be as much of an issue, but warming up is still a thing, should I squat before or after deads? I want to bring my deadlift #s up, and for fronts I’m more concerned about hypertrophy. Deadlifts are 2x4-6 and fronts will be 3x7-10. I still have to consider upper back involvement, right?

    Should I expect my back squat so suffer from reduced frequency, or can fronts still effectively count as overall squat frequency and help my back squat? Back squats will be run 4x6-8 if it matters.

    #2
    Hi there, and welcome. Some thoughts.

    I don't squat and dead on the same day. I usually do my squats earlier in the week than I do my deadlifts, because I find there's minimal muscular interference. If your focus is more on front squats, I don't think there's going to be much effect on your deads; the deadlift is not very reliant on your quads.

    Your upper back is going to be worked by pulling based exercises; the deadlift works it somewhat, but it's a hinge movement, and the rows (in any direction) matter more.

    Of course, there's going to be carryover from your front squat to your back. If you make big gains in the front, your back squat will do better. Big difference is front squat emphasizes quads and core, while backsq emphasizes glutes and posterior chain.

    There's nothing wrong with running a program using only the front squats. Lots of people do that. I focus more on the backsquat because I want bigger lowerbody muscles (and it seems to be working).

    Regarding lack of use, I've found in the past when I focused more on one lift/variation and cut out the other, it felt... strange to come back to the original lift (I'm thinking of the bench press and the back squat, in my case), and I had to spend a week or two bringing my numbers back up. So if you remove one lift (not sure if this is what you mean), and then come back to it later, it may take some time to readjust.

    As for training frequency and whether your lifts will lag if you do them less, I don't think your back squat will "suffer", but you won't do as well as it as someone who's emphasizing them more and spending more sets on them.

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      #3
      I agree with GentleOx. I definitely don't squat and deadlift on same day. I tried it once and my low back spasmed so I got the message. For Quad growth a mix of step up and front squats have been my staple with lunging as finishers. Front squats definitely count. Your back squat wont suffer as long as you do it at least once a week for maintenance. When I was a sophomore in college and wanted to bring up my deadlifts I used a deadlift program that swapped out squats with bulgarian split squats and it was pretty effective in protecting my low back while keeping gas in tank for deadlifts 2-3 times a week.

      hivoporu speaking of protecting lower back I'm wondering how you injured lower back? I like to learn from other's experience, thank you.

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