Tag Archives: Weightlifting

Front Squats for Lower Quads


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.

Know Your Ratios

I found a good article that I wanted to post that contains a reference list based on the back squat which can be used to help you determine if you have any overall strengths and weaknesses beneficial for weightlifters.

Reference Lift: Back Squat 100%

Front Squat: 85% of back squat
Clean Deadlift: 100% of back squat
Snatch Deadlift: 90% of back squat
Powerlifting Deadlift: 120% of back squat
Bench Press: 75% of back squat
Close-Grip Bench Press: 67.5% of back squat
Push Press: 63.75% of back squat
Incline Bench Press: 60% of back squat
Military Press (standing, strict): 45% of back squat
Weighted Dip: 78.75% of back squat (bodyweight included)
Supinated Chin-Up: 67.5% of back squat (bodyweight included)
Chest-Supported Barbell Row (torso parallel): 52.5% of back squat
Preacher Curl: 30% of back squat
Standing Reverse Curl: 26.25% of back squat
Clean & Jerk: 80% of back squat
Snatch: 66% of back squat
Clean: 81.6% of back squat
Jerk: 84% of back squat
Power Clean: 68% of back squat
Power Jerk: 72% of back squat
Power Snatch: 54% of back squat
Front Squat: 85% of back squat


Sunday – Weightlifting

  • Snatch
    • 135 lbs, 3 sets x 1 rep
  • Snatch Deadlift
    • 235 lbs x 1 rep
  • Clean and Press
    • 155 lbs x 1 rep
  • Clean
    • 205 lbs, 3 sets x 1 rep
  • Clean and Jerk
    • 185 lbs x 1 rep
  • Clean Deadlift (w/o straps)
    • 285 lbs x 1 rep
    • 305 lbs x 1 rep*


* I started to lose my grip at the top of the lift. It is a challenge using a double overhand grip without straps. Otherwise it is a relief using light weight in the deadlift once again.

My conventional deadlift without using a belt reached a plateau around 410 lbs so felt it advantages to incorporate other styles of the deadlift to recruit more muscle fibers.