Weightlifting Tech Tip – Front Squat vs Back Squat for Weightlifting
The squat is the most important and most commonly used accessory lift in Weightlifting. The squat in either variation helps to strengthen and develop many aspects used in the competition lifts such as leg and back strength, but also balance, tempo, and posture. The end goal of squatting in regards to Weightlifting is the improve the recovery of the clean and to retain adequate leg strength to complete the subsequent jerk. However, certain cases may arise where the coach may explicitly use one (front or back squat) more than the other. There are pros and cons to each. The front squat most closely resembles the exact position used during the clean, but the back squat may be loaded heavier due to the increased stability of placing the bar across the back instead of across the deltoids forward of the athlete’s base. Some programs will alternate days where either front or back squat is used and some will have both trained on the same day, most commonly the front squats following the back. Some athletes may experience pain or discomfort using either the front or back squat and may stick to using one variation over the other.
For either variation, the goal is to increase the athlete’s ability to move and control an increased load to the lowest anatomical position possible while maintaining an upright posture and fully arched back. The squat is a very important tool in the weightlifter’s arsenal but it must be harnessed and used correctly in order to reap the benefits and see a carryover into kilos lifted in the snatch and clean & jerk.