The squat: It’s a classic that is considered one of the most effective exercises of all time. Even with the countless new ways to train your legs, the pros all fall back on using the squat in their programs. Why would they not? It’s a compound exercise that activates the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and abdominals. It strengthens muscles and is the key to muscle growth, if that’s your goal.
There are two versions of the squat that are used most often: the barbell back squat and the barbell front squat. Both are excellent but let’s take a look at why, depending on your goals, the front squat may be better than the back squat.
Since the barbell is on the front deltoids, you’ll be able to avoid back shoulder pain but you’ll also learn to develop proper knee posture. Front squats demand that you correctly push your knees out to follow your toes as opposed to having them collapse inward. Front squats also help to strengthen the stabilizing muscles in your knees. The result is better form, stronger knees, powerful quads, and a reduced risk of knee-related injury.
Anyone who has put that barbell on their back knows the feeling of the weight pressing down. For the vast majority of barbell squatters, it’s a feeling that you simply adjust to. Sure, there may be a bit of shoulder cramping but it quickly goes away. For those with lower back issues, this feeling of weight pressing down can amplify the discomfort. The solution? Switch the barbell to the front.
Performing a front squat places the barbell on the front deltoids, redirecting that weight to the front of the body. This puts a greater demand on the abdominals as opposed to the lower back.
You might be thinking, “Hey, I thought the back squat does involve the quads?”
It does but not nearly to the extent that the front squat does. When the barbell is on your back, there is a greater demand on the hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower back. Sure, your quads are involved but you’re more likely to feel it in the hamstrings. When your goal is to start building mass on your quads or if you want to start seeing muscle separation, the front squat should be your go to exercise.
It’s important to note that you don’t want to completely neglect the back squat. Regardless of your goal, it can be very useful to use both the back squat and the front squat. You can pair them in the same workout or, if you train twice a week, during different workouts.
Tell Us What You Think!
Which type of squat do you use the most?
What type of results have you experienced?
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