It’s really hard to think of an intro when the answer to the title of the article is yes, plus it doesn’t really encourage one to read further. So without further ado:
Yes. I will now explain.
Do Front Squats Work Glutes?
Front squats are great for working your glutes. If you want to build a monkey butt, front squats are a great choice. They allow you to shift a lot of weight and get very strong.
How Front Squats Work Your Glutes
When I was studying to become a personal trainer, I flunked my anatomy exam twice. It was just so boring. I mean, who cares about the “how” if it’s proven to work?
There was me, failing anatomy with a 150kg* front squat and a big round butt.
Textbook said it works? Wonderful. I already went and did them so I’m not learning anything here.
Sigh. A quick read up reminded me that the gluteus maximus is the strongest hip extensor. What do you do when you stand up out of a squat? You extend your hips.
Let’s move on.
*Legally required bro disclaimer: I went on to front squat much more than this
How To Target Your Glutes More When Doing Front Squats
Use weightlifting shoes
I would recommend everyone who is front squatting to use weightlifting shoes with an elevated heel, if possible.
This isn’t so much a targeting thing, per se, but you’ll just be in a more upright torso position.
The more upright position will make it a bit easier for you to keep your hips and glutes under the bar when coming out of the bottom. There will be less likelihood of shifting the emphasis into the lower back.
There is some evidence to suggest that glute EMG activity is at its highest close to the bottom of the squat.
If you can squat anywhere below parallel without pain, this is likely the best way to squat if your glutes are your primary concern.
Front squat to a box
For a unique stimulus, break the concentric/eccentric chain and front squat to a box.
Sit on the box, stay tight on the box, then use the box and flex off of it with your glutes.
Are Front Squats Better Than Back Squats For Glutes?
Both types of squats work your glutes. One is not necessarily better than the other. If you can use both, it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice.
If you can only do one, why are you even asking?
When I first started Olympic weightlifting I was transitioning from a martial arts background. My shoulders were so tight I couldn’t get a bar on my back.
What did my coach tell me?
“Just do front squats then.”
What did I do for the next 2 years? Front squat.
Later, when I had improved my flexibility, I was able to get a bar on my back. Then I did both.
Have I told this anecdote before in a previous blog post? If so, I apologise.
Some days I feel like an absent-minded old man, telling weightlifting tales from days of yore. The youngsters politely smile and nod, despite having heard it all before.
In summary, front squats are great for working your glutes. If you want to maximize glute activation, you should squat deep with a narrower stance.
That’s all for this article, but why do you get upper back pain after front squats? Or perhaps you’re interested in leg extension vs front squat?
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.