Why it's on the list: Shifting the bar from the back to the front of the body changes your squat dramatically. Front squats emphasize the quads over the glutes and hams, which means you'll sacrifice some of the load. It also helps you maintain a more vertical torso position, which can help increase squat depth and perhaps decrease the risk of lower back injury.
Front squats also demand—and build—serious upper back and core strength. Those benefits also apply to variations like dumbbell front squats and goblet squats. Think you're too strong for goblets? Strength coach and physical therapist John Rusin requests that you do half your body weight for 20 reps and reconsider.
Front Squat Variations for Leg Development:
- Barbell front squat
- Frankenstein squat
- Goblet squat
- Dumbbell front squat
- Kettlebell front squat (single, double)
In your workout: These are brutally hard, so do them first, when your energy levels are highest, for 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps. Favor the lower end if you're looking to build strength.