Front squats work many different muscles but you may wonder whether these also include your glutes. Find out if you can expect any growth or strength progress in this area.
Because there is typically a small amount of hip hinge involved in front squats, you can say that this exercise works your glutes to a small extent.
However, this is typically not enough to really grow and strengthen the strong glute muscles unless this is a very weak area for you.
Additionally, front squats are less than back squats for working the glutes. This is because by keeping the weight more forward, you reduce to what extent you have to tilt your upper body forward to stay balanced.
That being said, back squats are not that great for glute gains either. Instead, you want to consider exercises like hip thrusts, good mornings, deadlifts, etc.
The function of your glutes
To find out whether and to what extent front squats can work your glutes it is helpful to know what movement this part of your body is mainly responsible for.
There are three gluteal muscles (maximus, medius, and minimus) but most people are mainly interested in training the biggest gluteus maximus, the main butt muscle.
The main function of this muscle is extending your hips aka moving your upper legs down and back.
This also means the glutes are responsible for tilting your upper body back against gravity from a bent-over position.
Are front squats good for training glutes?
With the function of the glutes in mind, you can start to think about whether front squats work this area.
When pushing yourself and the weight you carry up, your knee joint will go through the biggest range of motion. In simpler words, front squats will mainly work your quadriceps.
As you can see in the demonstration video below, you do get some amount of hip hinge (tilting your upper body forward and back) movement.
That means you can say that front squats do work your glutes (and hamstrings).
However, these muscles will not have to work that much compared to how strong they are. In turn, you will likely not see too much glute and hamstring muscle growth from front squats. Unless you are really weak in these areas.
Are front or back squats better for the glutes?
So to train your glutes, you want to do exercises where you go through a big hip hinge range of motion.
By putting the barbell in front of your shoulders with front squats instead of on your back like in back squats, you keep your upper body more upright during the movement.
You don’t need to tilt your upper body forward as much to stay balanced.
In turn, front squats actually reduce the amount of hip hinge and the amount of glute engagement going on in squats.
So both variations are not great for working the glutes but back squats are better than front squats if this is your goal.
Other muscles front squats work
So far, it is clear that front squats mostly work your quadriceps and work your glutes and hamstrings to a small extent.
Besides these muscles, front squats also engage your calves, erector spinae, inner thigh, and outer thigh muscles to small extents.
What squat is best for glutes?
Besides just choosing a high bar back squat you can take how much you tilt your body forward one step further.
There is something called the low bar back squat where you hold the barbell just a bit lower. In turn, you have to tilt your upper body more forward to stay balanced which generally works your glutes a bit more.
That being said, even this squat variation will still mainly work your quadriceps.
You could also do some combination of a mini squat and good morning. However, this would not really be considered a squat variation anymore.