What Does the Front Squat Work Out?

Doing squats at a gym

Strengthening your body does more for your overall health than just giving you ripped muscles to admire in front of the mirror. Regular strength-training exercises, including front squats, can increase the strength of your muscles, boost your metabolism, lower your risk of injury while playing sports and even give you greater balance. Correctly executing the front squat works a number of muscles throughout your body.

The Target of the Squat

Whether you perform the front squat with a barbell or pair of dumbbells, the exercise targets the same muscles. As you execute the squat, you target your quadriceps. Colloquially known as your quads or thighs, these muscles are among the largest in your body and are found on the fronts of your upper legs.

Muscles That Provide a Helping Hand

Proper execution of strength-training exercises such as the squat involves the use of synergist muscles. This term refers to muscles that help you perform the movement. In the barbell and dumbbell front squats, the synergist muscles are your gluteus maximus, adductor magnus and soleus, found in your buttocks, inner thighs and calves, respectively. Repeated reps of this exercise will help strengthen these muscles.

Other Barbell Squat Muscles

Given the slightly different position you must adopt when performing a barbell squat versus a dumbbell squat, each exercise has a unique list of stabilizer muscles. These muscles contract during the squat. As you perform a barbell front squat, the stabilizers include your erector spinae, deltoids, pectoralis major, trapezius and serratus anterior, found in your back, shoulders, chest, between your neck and shoulders and along the sides of your upper torso, respectively. The dynamic stabilizers are your hamstrings and gastrocnemius, found in the rear of your upper legs and calves, respectively. The antagonist stabilizers are your rectus abdominis and obliques, found at the front and sides of your torso, respectively

Other Dumbbell Squat Muscles

Stabilizer muscles during a dumbbell squat include your erector spinae, trapezius and levator scapulae. The erector spinae runs along your back while the other muscles are found in your shoulder and neck region. The dynamic and antagonist stabilizers are the same as those used in the barbell front squat.