The traditional barbell back squat is often regarded as the king of all exercises due to the large number of muscles which are recruited during the lift. It’s somewhat less famous cousin, the front squat, is equally as effective, and may be a better choice for some athletes.
As we would expect from a squat; the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and to a lesser extent; the core and calves, are all targeted. However, due to the line of resistance being placed further forward compared to the back squat, greater torque is placed on the knee and therefore the emphasis is greater placed on the quadriceps during the front squat. Athletes who experience back problems also commonly perform the front squat as an alternative to the back squat, with less pressure placed on the spine.