Front vs Back Squat

I have said it several times already on this site, I prefer front squatting over back squatting. I am sure most of the readers of this website are not going to feel the same way. For me it is much easier to find my groove front squatting. Would body stature play a role in why I feel this way? I am 6'1 240lbs and I where 30 inseam pants. I have a friend who wears the same inseam pant and he is 5'9! Needless to say I have a long torso and long arms (my legs may not be long but I have the reach of some guys that are 6'3). Anyway it seems to me that with this body stature the Front squat maybe better since it allows me to stay more upright. Just looking for opinions. I do a lot of snatch grip deads, trap bar deads and GHRs so do you think I can get away with mostly Front Squatting and only hitting back squats once in awhile? I do not compete in powerlifting, although this coming year I plan on competing in a few Highland Games. By the way, if it matters, I lift raw (no equipment).

Front vs Back Squat

You're on the right track. Long torso means problems with regular squats, that's for sure! Stick with what's working!

OTOH, you're built for Olympic lifting! Leverages, y'know?

Front vs Back Squat

Just to add onto the topic, back squats can sometimes be tough on the shoulder joint and cause impingement due to the position of the arms during the movement, elevated and externally rotated. After several years of consistent lifting including lots of squats, I began to have this issue. While my shoulders were messed up in many ways due to an integration of multiple factors, my shoulders never recovered completely until I gave up the back squat and began working with the Olympic lifts. I think the Olympic lifts probably just helped a bit with flexibility. But as for squats, I think I'm better off with front squats.
As for your question, I think you can do just fine without back squats. Front squats work your quads just fine. And I know you don't need back squats to get results you need. I had a friend who used to do mostly platform deadlifts, snatches, and some assistance exercises such as back extensions and good mornings. And he was strong! He had a great snatch and platform deadlift and his quads were pretty big too. If I can say one extra benefit from Olympic lifting, something you wouldn't expect, at least for me is that it actually gave a pump in my quads a lot better than squats did. That is not to say that you are actually looking for the pump, but for me it's an indicator that the quads are doing a lot of the work.

Front vs Back Squat

Would a safety squat bar help out with those long-torso folks?

Also do people with the oposite "problem" - short torso have particular challenges they will have to overcome?

Front vs Back Squat

Ya Doc, I love the Olympic Lifts, and do them quite often. I think my technique is okay, but I should really find myself a coach to help me improve my technique. Thanks to both Doc and Charles for confirming my belief that I did not really need to do back squats. I think I will stick with DL and OL lift variations and Front and Split-squatting.

One other note of interest and curiousity is that although my arms are long, I have always been a decent bencher. I have benched over 400 pounds in a T-shirt and I do not really spend a lot time working on it. I do mostly overhead pressing and pushups (when I say pushups I do heavy weighted pushups or weighted clapping pushups). Someone once told me my bench was not affected as much by my long arms because I had a very long tricep muscle? Does this make sense? I have also always had big pecs (and they are solid...not moobs) even though I do not train them specifically. Well the long-arms do seem to hurt most on pullups. I train them far more often than bench and I still can not break past 5 reps. I always seem to stall hard over the last few inches. I am getting ready to try some overloads for pullups. Basically put on a 40lb vest and try to do some heavy negatives. Does anyone think this will help?

Front vs Back Squat

It's funny you mention about being a naturally good bencher. For me it's the opposite. It's not like bench press has been my favorite lift over the years, but it's been many years and I still have not benched 300 lbs. Then this young guy comes in the gym, tells me he has only been lifting for 6 months, and his bench is the same as mine, AND he doesn't know powerlifting form so that means he can probably get an extra 20-30 lbs easy! Hey, I guess that's just the way we are built.
I know in one of Doc's old powerlifting books, he mentions that the insertion point of the muscle where it connects makes a difference. For example, if you have long triceps that are attached a bit lower on the bone it will certainly make it easier and the triceps won't have to do as much work in order to get the same amount of weight up.
As for your question on the pull ups, what has worked for me is just going for reps. Earlier this year I was able to do my first regular grip pull up and eventually have been able to work up to 15-16 reps over the summer. The thing is, especially if you can only do a few reps due to extra body weight by fat, it requires for you to work on loosing a bit of fat. I don't know about the negatives, but I will tell you what I did to create an extra overload. In one of Doc's articles he mentions about doing what is called lat-shrugs. It's pretty much an upside-down barbell shrug where you can work the lats and lower trap fibers. I did that, but on a pull up bar. I would just strap a weight belt on and do partial reps for pull ups with it. I could use up to 100 lbs extra on that. It creates a great deal of extra stress on the muscles and I don't recommend doing this all the time unless you have superman recovery capabilities. I think if you did that and regular pull ups for max reps, your pull ups will increase.
Just a comment on the back squats, although I know I probably won't be able to do them as often as I used to, they certainly did the job in laying the foundation for some pretty big legs. I can never forget what wonders they have done for me; it was my favorite exercise.

Front vs Back Squat

DRhodes wrote:
Someone once told me my bench was not affected as much by my long arms because I had a very long tricep muscle? Does this make sense?

Not really, though what they may have meant to say is that your tricep attachment points provide better leverage. Most folks I talk to get it confused in that way.

Have a good one,

Dan