Squat Variations for Functional Strength

Brian Dick

While I’m a huge fan of the behind the back squat for developing useful athletic functional strength, I’ve recently heard an interesting perspective on squats from an older bodybuilding.com forum comment.

(FYI – Bodybuilding.com has a tremendous amount of interesting information including a lot of information on things completely unrelated to fitness.)

A person on the forum mentioned his preference towards front squats and zercher squats (where the weight is held in the crook of your elbow) for developing functional strength. His reasoning was that whenever he picks up anything in his everyday life, it is always with the weight in front of his body. Rarely if ever do we lift up weights with it behind our backs, let alone with it sitting on top of our shoulders. I felt that this contributor made an excellent point and I believe a stronger focus should be put on these workouts for this very reason.

Obviously I believe there are benefits to squatting with more weight — as the behind the back squat allows for — but very few people ever engage in front squats, and even fewer with zerchers. I believe there are huge functional gains to be had by incorporating these lifts into your routine more regularly.

In case you are unaware of what zercher squats are (sometimes referred to as scissor squats), I have listed an unaffiliated YouTube clip of the lift – this dude is doing crazy weight:




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