I know it's obviously not gonna be the same as targeting my upper body directly, but will I still get some strength benefits in my upper body from doing front & back squats with a barbell?

I feel like they would be good for upper + lower back muscles aswell as improving posture? Would my lower traps and rotator cuffs get worked too at all?

  • 1
    If you brace your core and maintain tightness all over your body while squatting, then I think you might receive some of the benefits that you are anticipating. Sep 4, 2022 at 23:23
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    You still have to use arms, back and abs to stabilize the weight, so there will be some benefit for sure.
    – Luciano
    Sep 7, 2022 at 15:34
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    Low bar moreso that high bar because of the arm position, but still pretty far short of actual upper body lifts. Sep 16, 2022 at 9:34

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is yes for both exercises; because both exercises require you to brace in order to hold a proper position.

Bracing is no more than an isometric contraction, but doing it with weights and trying to keep everything in place of course makes it a bit more challenging. It's a small benefit, but a benefit nonetheless...

For people that I coach for the Olympic lifts (Clean and Jerk & Snatch) for example I have them do a lot of heavy front-squats because it improves their posture at the bottom of the clean and their shoulders can contract better in the lowest position when going into the push motion for the jerk.

  • If you use a low bar position you get some work on your upper back too.
    – Thomas Markov
    Oct 13, 2022 at 11:50

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