Which Muscles Do Front Squats Work?

Are you ready to take your squat game up a notch? Well, if your muscles are screaming "Yes!", adding a barbell while squatting may be the next best move. Front squats in particular are excellent for strength training and involve squatting with a barbell placed in front of the body. Trainer Karena Dawn shares with Well+Good, "The front squat will encourage you to focus on core control as you work to keep your torso upright." But core muscles aren't the only thing front squats work.

Similar to a bodyweight squat, front squats target big muscle groups such as hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps, according to Marca. While this movement mainly strengthens the core and quads, it can also help strengthen your posture. According to Dr. Brittany Robles, OB/GYN and a NASM-certified personal trainer, the posture is strengthened because the weight of the barbell is supported by your anterior shoulders, which in turn, work the upper-back muscles (via Well+Good). All around, front squats zero in on the front of the body, also called the anterior chain, to really strengthen these muscles (via Healthline). If you plan on incorporating front squats into your workout regimen, expect to see improvements in muscle strength and endurance.

How to properly do front squats

Before lifting your barbell, it's important to have proper squat form and technique. While there are nuances between a bodyweight squat and a front squat, the hip-hinging motion is the same, reports Healthline. To start, slowly place the barbell on your shoulders and hold the bar with an underhand grip right outside your shoulders (via Well+Good). Keep your wrist up and push your elbows up, too (via Healthline).

Next, make sure your feet are pointed straight, hip-width apart, with the toes and knees in line, and keep your back in a neutral position, points out NASM-certified personal trainer Danny Saltos to Well+Good. After, initiate the squatting movement by slowly lowering your body, letting your hips hinge and your knees bend. Keep lowering until your legs are parallel with the floor, then begin pushing up (using quads, feet, core, and glutes) to return to a standing position (Well+Good).

Keep in mind, when front squatting, you won't be able to lift heavy weights when compared to its sibling, the back squat. Also, keep your core tight and make sure to lift your torso and hips simultaneously to prevent hurting your back (via American Council on Exercise).