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Nova Performance Weekly Blog

by Adam Smith on Sep 7, 2021


Why is squatting a fundamental part of weightlifting?

In weightlifting we use our legs A LOT!

One of the easiest ways to improve leg strength is to squat.

Whether this be a High bar Back Squat. Front Squat, Goblet Squat, Anderson Squat, ECT… There are so many types of squats it is ridiculous. You can even change the dynamic of the squat by adding bands, boxes to take away some of the range of motion. You can even change the bar. For example a safety squat bar can change the whole dynamics of the back squat.

But that's a whole other topic and why we should use different variations to our squats to improve our strength.

High Bar Back Squats and Front squats within weightlifting?

These 2 squats are the most popular within weightlifting.

  1. Because they are easy to perform.

  2. They are incredibly relatable to the snatch and clean n Jerk.

The strength we produce and gain from these exercises transfer massively into our main lifts.

Back Squat

A High Bar Back Squat is the most common squat you will see. Powerlifters tend to do a Low Bar Back Squat instead of a High Bar due to a Low Bar squat being a more hip dominant squat as a High bar squat is a Quad dominant.

When we catch the snatch or a clean we are in a very upright position. Hence we use a high bar position.

The back squat is a much easier lift to load and we can achieve more weight on this compared to a Front Squat.

Front Squat

With a Front Squat this is a way more specific movement towards the Clean. The bottom of the Front Squat is literally the exact same position as the catch in the Clean, therefore, it's in our programs.

In the front squat the bar is in our front rack position, therefore, the weight is constantly trying to move forwards. With this happening it makes our upper backs stronger and at the same time our leg strength is also getting stronger, making them so valuable in weightlifting.

If you are not doing them then you should start!

Ideally our feet are going to be shoulder width and our toes slightly pointed out (left foot at 10 am and right foot at 2 pm. This may vary depending on the athletes mobility and stature.

When should I start Squatting more?

So let's look at the perfect athlete in terms of leg strength, for this we are saying the athlete’s technical ability is sound.

I will show 2 athletes;

Athlete A:

Back Squat is 100% so lets say 200kg.

Front squat is 80% of their Back Squat so 160kg.

Clean and jerk is 90% of their Front Squat so 144kg.

Now that's what the ratio should be.

Athlete B :

Back Squat is 100% so lets say 200kg.

Front squat is 75% of your Back Squat so 150kg.

Clean and jerk is 90% of their Front Squat so 135kg.

Now the issue is here that their Front squat is 5% weaker than Athlete A. This also impacts their clean and jerk.

So to improve athlete B’s Clean n Jerk we need to improve their front squat first.

I would personally make the athlete squat 3 times a week. 2 of those being front squats and 1 being back squat, however if the athlete couldn’t handle this volume I would remove the Back squat session.

I would do this until that front squat improved by the 5% we need. This could take 6 weeks or it could take 12 weeks. This is very individual to the athlete.

Once the front squat is up to the desired 80% mark then we have a great chance of performing the 90% target on the clean n jerk.


So the reason we squat is to generate leg strength, the front squat is more relatable to the clean and will help us get out the hole when we catch the weight. The high bar back squat will get our legs the strongest due to the positioning and this will transfer to our front squat to then help our cleans and snatchs.


I hope you enjoyed the read and stay posted for the next one. If you have any questions just shoot me an email on

If you want to see some of my training logs and videos follow me on Instagram @thicc__astley or @npbarbellclub

See you all soon!

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