If you are a bodybuilder and haven’t made the front squat the centre of your leg routine then it is time to start. Mastering this exercise will develop the lower quads to a far greater extent than any other leg exercise.
The front squat is the primary squat used by Olympic Weightlifters to build strength in the lower body and closely correlates to the amount of weight an Olympic lifter can clean. For Olympic lifters increasing the size and muscularity of the quads is not a focus but is the by-product doing countless of front squats.
If you compare the quads of an Olympic Weightlifter to a Powerlifter that specializes in the low bar back squat it becomes evident how changing the positioning of the bar from the back to the front develops the quads more completely. In fact, the reason a Powerlifting squat is more powerful than a front squat is that the posterior chain can be activated to help lift the weight.
In my opinion this is exactly what you don’t want to do as a bodybuilder. You want to keep the stress on the lower quads as much as possible in order to fully develop this area. It is the contrast between a small knee joint and a huge lower quad that wins at a bodybuilding competition.
Increasing your strength in the front squat will also increase the amount you can clean. Although it isn’t that often a bodybuilder is asked how much they can clean CrossFit is making this exercise more popular as a measure of athletic power. If you add 50 lbs to your front squat guaranteed your clean will have increased close to that much as well.
The front squat is an exercise that requires practice. You can’t expect to master this exercise overnight. In fact it may take a month or two before you finally learn how to properly rack the bar on top of the shoulders and clavicles without pinching the skin or causing discomfort. However, as you continue to practice this exercise you will notice a change in the shape and look of your quads.
There is no substitute for the front squat. It is a Weightlifter’s best friend and should be the mainstay of any bodybuilding quads routine. You can do leg extensions, leg presses, and back squats until your knees blow out but nothing will blow up your lower quads like front squat.