Tip: How Much Should You Be Able to Front Squat?

For real-world performance and athleticism, how much should men and women be able to do for one rep? Answer here.

Categorized under Training

Not all squats are created equal, nor is there a definitive “must-do” squat for anyone who isn’t a powerlifter. For real-world performance, however, front squats reign supreme.

Front Squat

Performance Standard: 1RM

  • Males: 1.7 x bodyweight
  • Females: 1.3 x bodyweight

Performance

Front squats require an upright torso, which – on top of resembling most athletic movements – gives them a multitude of benefits. They’re superior for improving rate of force development, boosting reactive power, enhancing the ability to accelerate/decelerate, and eliciting peak core activation.

Two particular studies found that front squats produced greater increases in jump height (by 23%) and faster 40-yard dash times (by 0.2 seconds, or 3.3%) than back squats after 10 weeks of training (1, 2).

Anti-Fragility

The front-racked load acts a counterbalance, allowing for a better posterior weight shift and an enhanced squat depth. Front squats open up extra range of motion in the hips and ankles, and create long-lasting improvements in mobility and end-range stability.

Front squats also encourage active external rotation at the shoulders, a “quieting down” of the lats, and the recruitment of the upper back to stabilize the scaps, all of which improve posture.

Strength and Muscle

The upright position produces a more angled tibia, which shifts the focus almost entirely onto the quads. Paired with the increased range of motion, front squats are a double whammy for turning even the smallest of bird legs into a meaty pair of wheels.

References

  1. Hartmann, Hagen et al. “Influence of Squatting Depth on Jumping Performance.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26 (2012): 3243–3261.
  2. Balderree, Afton Staheli and Mark Debeliso. “The Effects of Back and Front Squat Exercises on Sprint Speed and Vertical Jump: A Pilot Study.” International Journal of Sports Science 9 (2019): 1-7.