5/3/1 Front Squat Progression

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by VoodooPlata, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. VoodooPlata

    VoodooPlata Brown Belt

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    As i'm moving (slowly) towards more olympic lifts in my training i've decided to alternate between squats and front squats as my "main" exercise on squat day. I do back squats as assistance those days, 5 * 15. Here's the question:
    At the end of a month (cycle) where i've done front squats as my main exercise, should i add 10 lbs to both my front squat AND my back squat max, or just to my front squat max? Is the carryover between front squats and back squats such that it justifies my bumping both of my maxes, and is me doing back squats as assistance enough that i can raise both? Happy either way, just want your advice. Thanks S & C!
     
  2. ronin0352

    ronin0352 Lift, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

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    I'd recommend only increasing whichever one you did on the cycle. You could probably progress the other way, but you'd end up stalling out sooner. Remember, training in the long run is a marathon, not a sprint.
     
  3. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    Don't do it, front squats aren't awesome. According to Wendler at least. I wouldn't switch front and back every week, that defeats the purpose. Pick one type of squat for the main lift and stick with it for a few cycles.
     
  4. chia

    chia POWER OF THE GLOW

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    I would add 10lbs on the main lift and 5lbs on the assistance and adjust from there. Another idea is to do one cycle with BS as main, FS as assist, then switch. When you go back to BS as your main, try to add 10-20lbs. If you're doing high bar olympic style squats, you will get more carryover between the two. Less so if you're doing low bar squats.

    But a more important question is, why are you doing 5x15?
     
  5. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    Wendler recommends sticking with one exercise until you stall or attain your goal(s) for that lift.
     
  6. XTrainer

    XTrainer Red Belt

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    I am a HUGE fan of front squats, but I would not recommend doing them for 5/3/1. 5/3/1 calls for a max reps set every workout (except for deloads). With front squats, your ability to keep the bar racked will be the limiting factor in an attempt at a long, heavy set--in other words, your legs aren't really going to get worked that well. IMO, front squats should be done either in heavy sets of 5 or less reps (maybe even 3 or less), or much lighter sets into the teens/twenties for finishers/conditioning. In that middle ground (5-10 reps or so), you're simply going to lose the bar before your legs are really fatigued.
     
  7. chia

    chia POWER OF THE GLOW

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    Good point XT. I forgot to mention that you should probably not do a max rep set with front squats. I would do a couple back down sets instead if you feel like you need more volume. A 5/3/1 progression will still work well for front squats, or pretty much any other lift.
     
  8. VoodooPlata

    VoodooPlata Brown Belt

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    First, to clarify: i don't switch every week, i was thinking of doing 2 cycles front, 2 cycles back. The reason i am doing 5 * 15 is that the version of 5/3/1 that i follow calls for 5 * 15 leg press, but leg press sucks balls so i immediately switched that for front squats - it's only assistance, right? And now that i've read up on oly lifts, front squats seem to help those so i want to do them for serious. Also, in the book Wendler states that squat variations are fine - boxed, front, etc. Where does he say that front squats aren't awesome? I think they are.

    Don't front squats and back squats carry over to each other? That sounds seriously weird.
     
  9. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    He has said it in a Q&A before, I don't think he was completely serious though. If you want to do front squats "for serious" then just use front squats as your main squat movement, and back squats for assistance. Though drop the back squats to about 10 reps.
     
  10. Gierrod

    Gierrod Blue Belt

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    5x15 sounds horrible when i did 5/3/1 i did 5x10 and that was dam hard enough after a heavy high rep squat also as said before your not gonna be able to hold the bar for long on front squats your arms will go before your legs.
     
  11. Eitri

    Eitri White Belt

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    I did front squats with 5 3 1 for about 7 cycles or so and towards the end this was exactly the problem I was experiencing.

    As for the OP, I wasn't doing any back squatting at all during that FS 5 3 1 time and when I went back to it, I was easily doing 50lbs more than whenever my last set was. I'm sure I could have had more progress with back squats as my main lift, but it was still there anyways. For reference, before the 5 3 1 cycle I was at about 265 1rm with back squats. At the end of the 7 cycles my FS 1rm was at 265. My first actual squat workout after that I was able to do 315 without ever having squatted nearly that much weight before.

    I would recommend having back squats as your main 5 3 1 lift and using front squats as an assistance exercise. I do mine on deadlift days now.
     
  12. VoodooPlata

    VoodooPlata Brown Belt

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  13. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    From 52 Most Common 5/3/1 Questions

    You also shouldn't be switching the main lift that often. So listen to the man who created the program. Instead start with reducing the reps and increasing the weight on the front squats done as assitance. Or switch to an oly routine now, instead of waiting.
     
  14. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    He also says in the FAQ section of the 5/3/1 manual that Front squats are fine to use as the main lift. I really don't see the big deal regardless, you're still squatting and as long as you deadlift your posterior chain still gets worked.
     
  15. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Which means since he first wroter the FAQ section he has changed his mind, I'm assuming with good reason. I don't have an issue with using front squats as the main squatting movement, but if the creator of a routine says don't train front squats this way, front squats should probably be trained differently.
     
  16. XTrainer

    XTrainer Red Belt

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    I'm not going to put words into Wendler's mouth, but I think my post above points to a fundamental problem with using front squats as a main lift in the program. Heavy front squats and long rep-max sets don't mix.
     
  17. Ivica Truscek

    Ivica Truscek Orange Belt Professional Fighter

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    This is why I do only 1 rep max with front squats, trying to add weight every week, when I stall I will switch them for zercher squats for a bit higher reps, around 5.
    Im not sure, but I feel like zerchers carry over to front squats more than back squats...
     
  18. VoodooPlata

    VoodooPlata Brown Belt

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    Ok, so after all the advice in this thread and after reading up on high bar vs low bar back squats, i have another (related) question.

    My goal is to be the strongest motherfucker on the mats whenever i decide to compete (BJJ). The reason i like 5/3/1 so much is that it isn't all about the 1RM - it has an element of rep work to it. Another reason i like it is that it has me going to the gym four times a week, and i love being in the gym.

    The customizability of 5/3/1 is mostly in the assistance work. Therefore, i feel that i need to pick assistance work carefully. BJJ is mostly about core strength, so i try to emphasize that. I always felt that 5 * 15 was a bit much, but i didn't want to bash the template before trying it. I know now that i can vary the reps in the assistance work to 5 * (6 to 15). Here's the question: Bearing in mind that i do front squats as assistance on squat day (immediately gave up on doing them as main lift after responses in this thread), and that my goal is strength for BJJ, should i go with 5 * 6 (for maximal power, but risk of overtraining and wearing myself out with two squat movements for low-ish reps in one day), 5 * 10 (for endurance and not wearing myself out) or put the front squats on a different day completely and still go with 5 * 6? I should also add that i do OH squats on deadlift day.

    (Hijacked my own thread, nice.)
     
  19. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    If it were me, I'd do the front squats after deads, and move the overhead squats to squat day, or a different day entirely (I.e. overhead squats on the gym day betweens squats and deads, as active recovery). I'd also probably use 5x3 or 6x3 at a bit under 80% (I.e. reducing the intensity from 80% to account for having done deadlifts first). Of course this depends on your schedule, and what other assistance work you're doing.
     
  20. VoodooPlata

    VoodooPlata Brown Belt

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    Tosa: To clarify, you think that i should to some heavy-ass front squats after deadlifts? I like the idea myself, as added intensity really won't be a problem, but it makes it less assistance-like... again, i like it! But i don't think i can call it 5/3/1 after that, for fear that Wendler will come to my house and...i don't know. Deadlift me.
     

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