The Dead Horse: Front Squats vs Back Squats

About the Author: Eric Cressey

What is your opinion of front versus back squat? I question with my football players whether I should be doing back squat with some of my older kids; they all go off to college and do them. Recently I’ve run into a problem with kids going to the gyms to do back squat because we’re not doing them at the school. I struggle between sticking to my guns and continuing to educate the kids on why we do front squat and feeling like If their going to back squat I’d rather have them lifting with me under supervision. Can you offer any guidance on this?

I don’t do any full Olympic back squats anymore. All our quad dominant squatting is either front squats or Anderson front squats. When we’re looking for more posterior chain emphasis while squatting, I will box squat them. Box squats get crucified by a lot of coaches simply because they don’t know how to teach them – or they’ve watched someone else teach them poorly.

I’m an accomplished powerlifter who has been around them long enough to know how to teach them very well, so they’re a mainstay in my program. We go regular box squats, box squats with a front squat grip (awesome exercise), and safety squat bar box squats. The concerns with forward lean isn’t as bad when you’re only squatting to slightly below parallel and not giving the kid wiggle room to good morning the weight up out of the hole.

Eric Cressey