Front Squats Versus Back Squats For Increasing Vertical Jump

Are back squats or front squats best squat for increasing your vertical jump? Heck, while we are at it what is the best squat for anything? It is a question that is asked of strength and conditioning coaches all the time. Well, today, I am going to answer that mystery once and for all.

All squats are great and you get a lot of bang for your buck when you include them in your program. Some of the benefits of regularly performing back or front squats include:

  • An increase in lean muscle mass
  • An increase in metabolism
  • increased work capacity
  • increased energy levels
  • Better Sleep
  • Lower body fat
  • Endorphin levels increase (you feel better about yourself)
  • increased bone density
  • Increased strength of connective tissue

These benefits apply to all forms of squats, but just as there similarities, there are also quite a few differences. Listed below are some of the more obvious ones.

Heavy Back Squat: Probably too heavy for jump training

Back Squats

  • Generally an athlete can lift the heaviest weight using a back squat
  • Easy to learn
  • No special equipment required

Front Squats

  • Targets the quads more than back squats (good for 2 foot jumping)
  • Less spinal compression
  • Excellent for developing core strength
  • Holding the bar in the front squat position requires some getting used too
  • Less weight used than back squats

Box Squats

  • Easier on the knees
  • Greater glute and hip involvement
  • Greater development of explosive strength as you overcome (some) inertia off the box
  • Less weight used than back squats
  • Excellent for developing core strength
  • The use of a box ensures constant depth on each rep
  • Maybe the easiest squat to learn

Safety Bar Squats

  • Most comfortable to perform
  • Greater quad involvement
  • Excellent for people with shoulder issues
  • Less weight used than back squats
  • Excellent for developing core strength

And this list doesn't even include other forms of squatting such as Kettlebell front squats which are also very good choices for vertical jump training.

So Which Squat Is The Best?

While there are definitely a number of differences between the different versions of the squat, some bigger than others, the one thing that they all have in common is that they all allow you to effectively overload the major muscles groups used in jumping (abdominals, , lower back, quads and glutes).

On this it should be noted too that while there is indeed different emphasis placed on the anterior chain or posterior chain using the different types of squat, generally speaking you won't be just doing squats and nothing else in the strength phases of your vertical jump program. If you choose front squats for example which place a greater emphasis on the quads, it is fairly simple thing to choose something like walking lunges and glute ham raises as your other training exercises to compliment your choice of squat.

So with all that said, which is the best squat? Well I can't tell you that here or you wouldn't watch the video! Now scroll back up and press play.

Do You Even Need To Squat?

So having looked at the different types of squat the obvious question is do you even need to do it? There is no doubt that the squat is a GREAT exercise for increasing strength in the legs and therefore your vertical jump. However the fact is not everybody needs more strength in order to increase their vertical jump.

If you are already relatively strong you are better of focusing your training time and effort into more jumping related drills than in the weight room. Doing this will provide much better gains for jumping athletes.

If you need help determining what you need to work on, and indeed want to know the quickest and most effective way to jump higher, then check out our vertical jump coaching. At just $10 you won't find a better value custom jump training program anywhere.

Related Articles

Vertical Jump Training- The quickest way to increase your vertical jump.

Strength Training Part 1 - Getting strong is vital for jumping high. Part 1 of our 2 part look at strength training covers the various theories behind strength training.

Squats and Deadlifts - Squats and deadlifts are the big two strength building exercises for increasing your vertical jump. Check out our introductory look at these great exercises.

How Strong is Strong Enough? - How strong do you need to be when training to jump high? Find out in this article.


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