Which squat is the best squat?

What are the differences between front squat and back squat and why we should perform squats? 

Whether you are training your legs for tone, mass or strength, squatting is the most used exercise among all. Many variations of squats exist, and can be performed in many different ways. But the two of them are the most famous - the traditional barbell back squat and front squat. Have you ever wondered about differences between back squat and front squat? Which one you should perform for the best results?

What these squats have in common?

Squats in general build stronger muscles. Both back and front squats recruit many major muscle groups - the upper back, abdominals, lumbar spine, glutes, thigh adductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Front squats

These are focused on quadriceps and the upper back. They require a more upright posture, minimizing flexion in the lumbar spine and increasing core stabilization to a greater degree of potential spine flexion. The hamstrings activation is lower and quadriceps activation is higher in front squats (only with heavy loads).
Doing these squats you don’t lean your trunk that much and your Achilles tendon muscle force is also lower. Flexibility - In general, front squats require appreciably more flexibility than back squats. The upper back needs to be mobile to keep your chest up. The shoulders and wrists need to be mobile to rest the bar duly. The low back and glutes need strength and mobility to allow you doing squats low enough while keeping the knees in line with the toes.

Back squat

This is the original squat daddy, popular in training programs for athletes of various disciplines such as crossfit, bodybulding, powerlifting and lot more for countless years. It’s focused more on the glutes, lumbar spine, abs and obliques (for stabilizing purposes). Absolute barbell load is higher in the back squat than in front squat for the same muscular force produced. It’s generally superior in handling heavier loads, thus pushing maximal strength gains. Flexibility - Back squats require less flexibility in the shoulders, glutes, and ankles, but that does not mean if you lack flexibility in these joints you can still back squat properly. With either one of these squats, the better your joint flexibility, the better you can perform the exercise.

How to perform them?

We already know how to perform good squat ( you can also find the instructions in THIS article ). So let’s focus on differences between doing front and back squat. Front squat – To perform front squat properly, place the bar on the front of your deltoids. Back squat - either low bar or high bar - place the bar on the upper back or traps. This requires the shoulders to be externally rotated and abducted.

So what’s the conclusion?

There is nothing like a perfect squat. However, as I wrote above, back squat is more focused on gluteus, which means greater booty for us! Win win right? However, the front squat has it’s justification in the training routine as well. My recommendation? Do what suits you the most and try to modulate your exercises.



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