Front vs. Back Squat – Does It Matter?

Front and back squats are common lower body resistance exercises that target similar musculature. Most people have a tight schedule, so when it come to exercising, they prefer to get the most out of their time spent in the gym.

Start Position for a Back Squat

What is the difference between them?

Back squats (barbell on upper back) force your torso to bend forward to keep the bar balanced. Your hamstrings and glutes work more as you come up again.

Front squats (barbell on upper chest) allow you to keep your torso more upright as you lower yourself. Your quads have to work more than your hams and glutes. Both require a strong core and work muscles to stabilize your torso.

Start Position for a Front Squat

Which one is better for my knees?

Researchers reported that back squat resulted in increased loads on the knee joint. Front squatting showed increased quads and decreased glutes and hamstring muscle activity. The results suggest that front squats may be advantageous compared with back squats for individuals with knee problems, and for long-term joint health.

Forward Lean During a Back Squat

Do Front Squats work the lower back?

Compared to the front squat version, back squats are done with greater trunk lean. Most people in the gym automatically load more on the back squat since this is their classic lower body lift. Results from various studies concluded that the front squat should be preferred to the back squat for preventing possible lumbar injuries when using higher loads.

More Upright Torso During a Front Squat

Which one should I do?

As with all resistance exercises, squats performed with good technique and appropriate weights can be a safe and beneficially way to improve your strength and overall fitness. Both exercises have their benefits and should be incorporated into your regular training routine. Ideally you alternate between both moves.
If you have not used the front squat before, build up your way gradually. Practice good form with a light bar and make sure you work your core muscles to keep your torso upright and your upper body balanced.

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