Front Squat

Why it’s on the list: Some individuals find that squats build their butts well, but they really need help building their quads. If that’s you, try front squats! By shifting the bar from the back to the front of the body, even just 6-8 inches, you change the relative amount of muscle loading that occurs. Front squats emphasize the quads over the glutes and hams, which means you’ll sacrifice some of the load.

This movement generally requires some pretty serious upper-back and core strength to maintain a neutral spine and keep you from missing weights. Don’t be surprised if adding these into your workout routine beefs up your back as well! Also, with a front squat, you naturally maintain a much more vertical position, which may decrease the risk of low-back injury.[2]

In your workout: This exercise should typically replace the squat in your workout; do it first, when your energy levels are highest. You can hold the bar in the front rack position (also referred to as a clean grip) or with arms crossed. Do multiple sets of 6-10 reps, favoring the lower end if you’re looking to build strength.