Front squats have been lifesavers for me due to my height. At 6’8″, every single time I try to back squat, I wind up feeling it primarily in my lower back once the weight gets over 300. Never makes me feel good afterward. Learning how to front squat, and practicing it constantly, has had a big payoff for me.
I actually have some leg muscles, my biggest muscle (the butt!) is developing in a way that might not ever land me on the cover of Playgirl, but still isn’t bad, and my back feels better after every session.
It’s a simple movement. Squat down, stand up. But the weight is in front of you during a front squat exercise. You can hold a barbell on your shoulder girdle with your arms crossed in front of you–I’ve heard this called “Bodybuilder style” front squatting.”
One year for Christmas my wife got me an attachment called the Manta Ray that sits on the shoulders and has clips that attach to and hold the barbell in position. Didn’t love it, but it’s an option.
You can simply hook a couple of fingers under the bar and support it that way–while it’s on the shoulder girdle. My wrist flexibility hasn’t worked well for this method, but it’s getting better.
Boris Bachman from Squat RX gives a tutorial addressing technique, flexibility, and issues mentioned in this article:
Boris is a great teacher. I also have one of those T shirts. I wear it way too much.
If you’re tall, you have poor flexibility, you just hate back squats, or you’ve simply never tried these, I would encourage you to test them out. Can’t hurt to have another tool.
I’m currently working through a 20 rep squats program with front squats. It’s been challenging but rewarding.