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One woman performs a barbell front squat while the other does a barbell back squat, both are encompassed by the large neon blue text "VS" as in "versus".

Front Squats or Back Squats?

blog Mar 20, 2024

Front or Back Squat? Which is Better?

When it comes to squats, the eternal debate between front squats and back squats has left many fitness enthusiasts wondering which one is truly superior. The answer isn't as straightforward as you might expect. Let's delve into the nuances of both types of squats to help you make an informed decision based on your goals, body structure, and personal preferences.

One isn’t Better than the Other

Let's get one thing straight from the beginning: there's no definitive winner between front squats and back squats. The choice between the two depends on various factors unique to you, such as your fitness objectives, body composition, and what feels comfortable during your workout routine.

Which one Works Better for Me

For some, the front squat takes the spotlight due to its advantages in certain scenarios. Personally, I've found that the barbell front squat suits me better than its counterpart, the back squat. This preference stems from the proportions of my body – my femur length is notably longer than my torso. Consequently, when performing a traditional barbell back squat, I tend to incline slightly forward to maintain the bar's balance over my center of mass. This forward lean, although necessary, occasionally leaves me feeling a bit unstable.

It Depends on your Personal Anatomy

Transitioning to the front squat introduces a notable change in how I execute the squatting movement. Placing the bar in front alters my squat mechanics, enabling me to keep the bar aligned with the midline of my foot, a key principle in effective squatting. With the front squat, I experience enhanced stability and a more comfortable range of motion. This example underscores the reality that neither front nor back squats are intrinsically superior – rather, the choice hinges on individual body structures and desired outcomes.

Limiting Factors to Consider

While both types of squats offer distinct advantages, they also come with their limitations. In the case of front squats, one notable challenge is the potential strain on your lower back muscles. Since the weight is held in front of your body, the lower back muscles might exhaust quicker than your leg muscles. If your primary goal is to target your quads but you find that your upper back fatigues prematurely, consider integrating additional exercises to supplement your front squat routine.

Other Exercises to Try

Diversifying your workout regimen can lead to better results and alleviate potential limitations. For instance, if front squats are your go-to but you're aiming to focus on your quads, you can explore exercises like split squats or leg extensions. These exercises emphasize the quads more directly, providing an avenue for greater muscle activation and growth.

Check out my Other Resources

To deepen your understanding of squats and tailor your approach to your unique physiology and goals, consider exploring the wealth of resources available. These include articles covering essential topics such as squat depth, squat stance, and common tips and mistakes. By delving into these resources, you can fine-tune your squatting technique and achieve optimal results.

In the end, the front squat versus back squat debate boils down to personal preference and alignment with your fitness objectives. Whether you opt for the front squat, back squat, or a combination of both, remember that the key to success lies in consistency, proper form, and listening to your body's cues. So, lace up your sneakers, hit the gym, and make your squatting journey a fulfilling and results-driven one.

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