Happy Thursday to you all! Forgive me if I'm a bit excited, big tournament for my rugby club this weekend and if you can't tell, I'm excited. I’m going to answer the question posed in the title, in the most boring way possible, by saying you don't HAVE to, but it you can if it works for you. I say this because if you are not a power lifter or someone that needs to use the back squat in a competition of sorts, then you probably don’t NEED to. Can you? Sure, but there’s a few things that need to work for you, to back squat properly, and unless you are lucky enough to have a specialty bar or two at your disposal, then you may need to reconsider.
Things to consider; What is your thoracic mobility like? Do you have shoulder pain? Are your ankles stiff like they’re in a pair of cement shoes? Is the Illuminati going to rise up?
In any case (except for that last one) if there’s pain with it and/or the movement mechanics look off, the answer is probably a hard no. At least for a bit or until you can get your hands on a specialty bar.
Some coaches would have you believe not being able to back squat is the end of the universe, it’s not. Other coaches would have you believe doing a back squat is the end of the universe, that isn’t either. Other other coaches would have you chuck out bilateral squats entirely, again, a big bucket of nope. It’s entirely about what works for you, your body and your goals.
Let me just remind everyone before they think I’m hating on the backs squat and I’m just a front squat junky of sorts. I’m not, matter of fact front squats and I fight every time we see each other, but I know it works well for my body mechanics. I’m also lucky enough to have access to those aforementioned specialty bars. So I’m not married to one
Before you completely throw the back squat out of the rotation, consider a specialty bar like these, if you can get your hands on them.
And just so you can see what they look like in action.
Alternatives after these are front loaded and single leg variations.
These are by no means, all there is to choose from and work with, these are just some I gravitate towards for clients. There are many variations of these out there to play with, too. Point being, if you can’t back squat because of pain, or simply can’t bilateral squat because of pain, there’s an alternative out there for you. Match the variation to you, or if you’re not sure, seek out a professional that can help you.
Thanks for reading everyone, hopefully this gave some a little help and didn’t muddy things up in everyone’s brain (too badly at least).
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS