Have you heard, that the Front Squat is one of the best exercises to put some muscles on the quads and to develop leg strength?
But you ask yourself ‘How much should I Front Squat?’
You know how much you can Back Squat, but how much can you Front Squat?
This article and video discusses
- How much should I Front Squat
- How much should I Front Squat for my body weight
- How much should I Front Squat compared to Back Squat
- How much should I Front Squat in order to improve my Clean or Power Clean
If you are a regular reader of these articles or a regular viewer of the videos, you have noticed, that there is no one answer to a question.
How much should I Front Squat?
The same is true for the question ‘How much should I Front Squat?’ and the answer to that question depends on a few factors.
These factors include (but are not limited to)
- Your age
- Your training level
- Your training age
- Your training background or sport you are competing in
- Your training goal
- Your other training responsibilities
- And much more
Why do the factors outlined matter?
Let me give you a few simple examples.
The older you are, the less scope for strength gains you have. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but if you look at the statistics of Olympic weightlifters, you will find, that the majority of lifters are in their mid-twenties. Check out the statistics of the London 2012 Olympics provided by All Things Gym
Your training level
The better you are trained the more scope you have for improvements and the more weight you are able to handle.
Yes, it is that simple. Just figure a 35-year-old who has participated in sport his entire life and is getting into lifting some weights vs someone of the same age and gender who has never done any sport.
Your training age
Training age refers to how long you have participated in a certain sport, which is very similar to the point above ‘training level’, however in this example training age can be drilled down to how long (month or years) you have experience in lifting weights.
Believe me, I have seen enough good to great athletes in their sport, where the experience of lifting weights was very little.
Your training background or sport you are competing in
That is not so commonly known, but athletes who participate in a sport that require high speed and explosive efforts are more likely to make greater gains in maximum strength development than athletes with a background in endurance sports.
I see that first hand every year with our young BMX riders, that come to me. Even though they might have no experience in lifting weights, once I got them technically proficient at the lifts, they are making bigger steps, than athletes from other sports.
Your training goal
If you are participating in a sport, that is high strength and power determined, the sky is the limit. You can literally not be too strong, as long as you can apply the strength to your sport.
If you are participating in an endurance sport, strength is very unlikely the limiting factor determining your sports performance, so strength levels are lower.
Your other training responsibilities
If you are participating in an endurance sport and you have high volumes of endurance training, your strength levels will be lower, because you just don’t have enough time and energy to put in the required work (and rest) that you need to make big strength gains.
How much should I Front Squat for my body weight?
Also here the answering the question ‘How much should I Front Squat for my body weight?’ is ‘It depends.’
I will outline a few numbers, I have outlined in my Front Squat guide What Do Front Squats Develop and Why You Need To Do Them
Please note, the following numbers and Front Squat benchmarks are for athletes, that participate in a sport, that is not Olympic Weightlifting or Powerlifting.
For Olympic Weightlifters or Powerlifters the Front Squat benchmarks are much higher.
|0.9 – 1 times bodyweight||1.2 – 1.4 time bodyweight|
|1 – 1.2 time bodyweight||1.4 – 1.8 times bodyweight|
|1.2 – 1.4 times bodyweight||1.8 – 2 times bodyweight|
|More than 1.4 times bodyweight||More than 2 times bodyweight|
Please remember, that these numbers are for a full Front Squat, which means that the knee angle is 60 degrees and the crease of the hip is lower than the knees. Check out the criteria for a full squat, half squat and quarter squat.
For more details about Front Squat standards, check out
How much should I Front Squat compared to Back Squat?
A very common question is the question ‘How much should I Front Squat compared to Back Squat?’ since most people start out with the Back Squat and have a good idea how much they are able to Back Squat.
Once they want to train the Front Squat, they look for a guideline to calculate their Front Squat from the Back Squat.
The general rule of thumb is that your Front Squat is 85% of your Back Squat, which means if you can Back Squat a 100 kg, you can Front Squat 85 kg.
Check out the articles
- How Much Weight Should I Use For Front Squats? from Bodybuilding.com
- Front Squat vs Back Squat from Box Life Magazine
Concluding that you can use 85% of your Back Squat weight for the Front Squat.
However, I have found, that the relation between Front Squat and Back Squat is individual and can vary from a 75% to 95% Front Squat to Back Squat ratio, with the majority of athletes being between 80% – 90% Front Squat to Back Squat ratio.
I have outlined that in more detail in the article
How much should I Front Squat to improve my Clean or Power Clean?
Let’s take a look at the relation between the Front Squat and the Clean or Power Clean.
Why should you look at the relation between the Front Squat and a Clean?
Essentially the catch phase and recovery phase of the Clean is a Front Squat. If you are unfamiliar with the technical phases of the Clean and Power Clean, check out
Also, check out the technical phases of the Front Squat
There are certain numbers out there describing the relation between the Front Squat and the Clean and/or Power Clean. These numbers also depend on different training philosophies that can vary from country to country and weightlifting federation to weightlifting federation.
However, the general thought process is, that if you can get the weight onto your shoulder in the Clean or Power Clean, standing back up should not be the problem.
Usually, these numbers range from 105% for 3 reps to 120% for 1 rep of the Clean, which means if you can Clean 100 kg for, you should be able to Front Squat 105 kg for 3 repetitions to 120 kg for 1 repetition.
I believe these numbers are useful as a certain guideline, however, these numbers don’t take into consideration the skill level of the athlete in the Olympic Lift Clean or Power Clean.
What? How is the skill level of any importance?
Let me explain.
Some athletes are more skillful when it comes to getting themselves under the bar in the Clean or Power Clean and can make a smooth connection with the bar, whilst other athletes have more difficulties making that smooth connection and they experience the bar falling down onto their shoulders.
Check out the article and video of Catalystahletics Stay Connected to the Bar: Snatch & Clean Turnover, that describes that phenomenon
So, what does that mean?
Is it ok for the bar to crush down?
No, certainly not, and this issue should be addressed with some extra technical training.
However, when you are training athletes, that are not Olympic Weightlifters, their skill level is not as proficient as the skill level of Olympic Weightlifters, neither do they have the time to work on that skill as Olympic Weightlifters have, due to all other training commitments.
For these athletes it is possible to get better at making a connection with the bar, but they will never get really good at it.
Consequently, a necessary evil is, that these athletes need to have a higher Front Squat strength to decelerate the bar effectively.
These type of athletes need to have a Front Squat 1 RM of 120% of their Clean 1 RM, whilst athletes who are very skillful at connecting with the bar and can decelerate more efficiently might only need to have a Front Squat 1 RM of 105% of their Clean 1 RM.
If you are interested in more thoughts on the Front Squat to Clean ratio, check out
- How Much Should You Clean In Relationship To Your Front Squat from the Bar Bend
- Why You Need To Know Your Squat To Clean And Jerk Ratio from Breaking Muscle
- Squat more, Lift more: Olympic lift ratios from Wil Flemming
- Know Your Ratios, Destroy Weaknesses from T-Nation
Interestingly, they all fall within the 105 – 120% range.
Concluding How much should I Front Squat?
How much you should Front Squat depends on a variety of factors, including your age, your training level, your training age, your training background and sport you are competing in, your training goal and other training responsibilities.
How much should you Front Squat for your body weight?
For female athletes, a Front Squat with 1-time body weight is an achievable result and more than 1.4 times body weight is an excellent result. For male athletes, a Front Squat with 1.2 times body weight is an achievable result and more than 2 times body weight can be considered an excellent result.
How much should you Front Squat compared to your Back Squat?
In most cases your Front Squat is around 80 – 90% of your Back Squat, with some exceptions, where the Front Squat can be either 75% of your Back Squat or 95% of your Back Squat.
How much should you Front Squat to improve your Clean or Power Clean?
Depending on your skill level in the Olympic Lifts, you should be able to Front Squat between 105% of your Clean 1 RM and 120% of your Clean 1 RM.
More information on the Front Squat
More Front Squat impressions in the Front Squat video library