Front squats vs back squats for athletes


He makes a ot of good points. Like everything though, he has arguments for why front is better than back. Lets a see a counter video for back v front. Lets take into account WHY you might be choosing to do the exercise in the first place and then choose the appropriate exercise to get the desired outcome as there are many variations and routes and exercises. I wouldnt bin back squat just based on this video.
The positive shin angle bit in relation to sprinters? Erm not sure of the relevance here in squatting and relating that to acceleration.Obviously a positive shin angle is needed in acceleration but the display of this in squatting seems less relevant than he is making out. Not see DeFrancos comments on this.
My tuppence worth of thoughts anyway.

I did fronts during before I went into my strength phase which I then switched to back squats. I tore my quad years back so I wanted to focus on quads more.

Hulse talks about athletes having lordosis due to over-developed quads but then recommends an exercise that emphasizes the quads? Greater hip flexibility, more ankle flexion, more upright posture, hips closer under the bar; most of the points he makes could be addressed by high-bar full squats.

It reminds me of an old thread on the forum “front vs back squat” or something like that. I remember Charlie’s response was fronts were fine but if you have to do a bunch of posterior exercises to balance things out why not just stick with more efficient back squats?

Stay away from front squats…

Even weighlifters will favor back squats over front squats now days. One reason being that there are less limiting factors in the back squat. I can even name a couple of weightlifting coaches who favor more posterior chain development over quad development in their weightlifters and do more way more back squats for this reason. This wasn’t the case several years ago.

Rewatch the video and tell me why having stronger quads is an asset in sprinting which requires force executed from the largest muscle groups in our bodies? I didn’t think the quads were the largest muscles in the body ?
It’s true that ankle flexibility is important in sprinting. How do we get maximum ankle flexibility, are we born with some of it and what are best ways to acquire it?
Charlie commented once on Angella’s eldest daughter running the 100 meters. He marveled at how her ankle moved over the ground in the same way Angella’s did the first time he watched Angella run.
The proper balance of quad strength in relation to glute and hamstring strength is essential for sprinting.
I’m excited knowing members are quick to recall former discussions about topics others debate online.
Thank-you guys for drawing our attention to the history here as this debate will be favored most by people looking to " complete the project of reinventing the wheel "

lol Keep it Simple Sprinter KISS

CF-2007: “If you need to do front squat for whatever reason, you’d need to supplement with another back dominant lift. If you do backsquat, you don’t. If you actually have the choice and you need to limit the number of lifts in a session, the choice would be obvious. That said, you have to approach things in the way you are best able”

google search whatever keywords you want to read up on…even past Hall of Fame (HOF) Members

i.e. google: site: Front squats vs back squats

If in doubt, there is a video here called
Training and adaption

Front squats place less load on the knee joint. For a full PDF of the study, I have attached a link below.

Contrary to intuition when reviewing EMG data, the back squat actually activates greater RF, VL, than the front squat.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
January 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - pp 284-292
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818546bb
Original Research
A Biomechanical Comparison of Back and Front Squats in Healthy Trained Individuals
Gullett, Jonathan C; Tillman, Mark D; Gutierrez, Gregory M; Chow, John W

Gullett, JC, Tillman, MD, Gutierrez, GM, and Chow, JW. A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals. J Strength Cond Res 23(1): 284-292, 2008-The strength and stability of the knee plays an integral role in athletics and activities of daily living. A better understanding of knee joint biomechanics while performing variations of the squat would be useful in rehabilitation and exercise prescription. We quantified and compared tibiofemoral joint kinetics as well as muscle activity while executing front and back squats. Because of the inherent change in the position of the center of mass of the bar between the front and back squat lifts, we hypothesized that the back squat would result in increased loads on the knee joint and that the front squat would result in increased knee extensor and decreased back extensor muscle activity. A crossover study design was used. To assess the net force and torque placed on the knee and muscle activation levels, a combination of video and force data, as well as surface electromyographic data, were collected from 15 healthy trained individuals. The back squat resulted in significantly higher compressive forces and knee extensor moments than the front squat. Shear forces at the knee were small in magnitude, posteriorly directed, and did not vary between the squat variations. Although bar position did not influence muscle activity, muscle activation during the ascending phase was significantly greater than during the descending phase. The front squat was as effective as the back squat in terms of overall muscle recruitment, with significantly less compressive forces and extensor moments. The results suggest that front squats may be advantageous compared with back squats for individuals with knee problems such as meniscus tears, and for long-term joint health

Oh, and not to forget,
Most people dont know how to squat…

I don’t think learning to squat is that hard but that’s off topic.

Interestingly Dan Pfaff has somewhat phased out squats and seems to prescribe Trapbar deads more. Some of his athletes (Rutherford) mainly use the stepup as their lower body static lift.

I have often wondered about the trap bar deadlift. My coach put it in my program a few years back, and it’s an easy lift to master. I wonder how it impacts the taller high performance athlete though. Some have questioned the deadlift, and I’m not sure how the trap bar deadlift compares.

It would be easy for a taller athlete. In the videos I have seen all the athletes use the upper hand holds. Relatively short range of motion. From my observation it’s weights…not the most important aspect of training for a sprinter or jumper. Helps the first part of a sprint and preventing injury.

Well let me get more specific. I wonder how the trap bar deadlift compares to the deadlift in overall recruitment and efficacy as a main lift.

Currently my big guy doesn’t do a whole lot of lower body lifting because he’s still progressing without it, and I don’t know what to prescribe safely as of yet other than some low weight Romanian split squats and some light reverse leg press as there is a low back issue still outstanding.

Some here have mentioned feeling that they feel the deadlift saps the CNS quite a bit. Has anyone found a difference between the traditional deadlift and the trap bar deadlift?

Hell, if he’s progressing why add or change anything other than normal progression.

I would say it’s in between a back squat and classic deadlift because of the torso position. Maybe people say it bangs the CNS harder because you have to start concentrically from a dead stop, otherwise I cannot think of why it would be harder on the CNS.

Don’t worry, I’m not terribly adventurous. However, if you don’t put in a lower body stimulation exercise at least sometimes, then it’s not an option if you perhaps need it later on in the season when volume starts to drop or if you run into a minor injury or facility closure issues. Gotta cover those contingencies!

I have used the trap bar DL and liked it as a variation to the RDL. Interesting I liked it as it seemed to me to better match the starting position. After some problems in my hips my chiro recommended removing any squatting that loaded the spine. I have since added more single leg work with the load at my sides or in front. I also found a hip belt squat a nice alternative. May try adding more of the trap bar DL and see how that plays out. The video did have some good points on the musculature of upper back as a weak link for many.

You can carefully progress him into some medball throws down the field as soon as the spring hits. I am still training outside but will have to switch inside any day now but the weather here has been incredible to stay on the grass.
Early on I did hamstring curls in 3 sets usually 2 to 3 x a week and certainly I would begin reverse leg press.Sometimes you wont be able to do it but keep trying. Let your athlete’s que’s be your guide. Dont ask him per say as likely he will always say " I feel fine". End your sessions of speed with small sets starting with 15 and see how he responds. Yes, you need to factor this in but your point regarding putting lower body stimulation in at least sometimes is a valid one. When you get this done through the winter we can discuss the back stuff.
I quit track the first season working with Charlie as I was so freaked out about my back.
He was pissed with me but was really scared I hurt my back.
I was such a suck.
Looking back we were able to discuss that my back and hips and entire lower body were under a huge adaptation but it took several months until my back really could handle the work.

The other point to make clear is sprinters generally need to limit and therefor prioritize the number of lifts.
I witnessed Charlie working with tons of people at every level in sprinting for so many different sports and it always amazed me how simple he kept things.
I need to post my lifting in the very beginning year and show people with comments what my development looked like .
I can’t comment on Angella or the others but the pattern is the same and once the ground work has been laid more options exist.

The main emphasis for increasing speed will not be determined by squatting. Lifting in sprinting is supplementary first and foremost.
( there is a better way to say this but hopefully you understand my point)