Front Squat vs Back Squat: Which One Is The Better Exercise And Why?

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Our Summary And Answer: Front Squat vs Back Squat


This depends on your training goals. Both exercises are great for training various muscle groups, so it doesn’t matter which you choose to work everything evenly. If you are a beginner, go with the back squat. If you are training for functional movements or explosive movements, then go with the front squat. It will give you an edge during sports if your goal is to become a better athlete.


The front and back squat are two exercises involving squats, which is a pretty awesome workout in itself. There are many benefits to doing squats, but there are also some differences between these two exercise variations.


In this article, we will discuss the front squat vs back squat- which is better, the benefits of each, and why.


Let’s start with some background on squats. Next, we’ll discuss the significant differences between the two types of squats, then finally give you a guideline as to if you should be doing both exercises!


What Is A Squat?

A squat is a bodyweight movement where the hips and knees are bent so that the thighs go below parallel to the ground. The exercise has many benefits for your lower body, mainly your quads (thighs), and helps with flexibility in the hamstrings.


There are several variations of regular squats. Two of these variations are front/ back squats.


What Is A Front Squat?

The front squat is a variation of the squat where you hold a barbell with both hands in front of your body instead of behind it. This changes the movement patterns of this exercise, and some people claim that the front squat is a better version of the back squat.


What Is A Back Squat?

The back squat is the regular squat where the barbell is positioned behind your neck and at the base of your back. The barbell rests on the upper part of your trapezius muscles, on your rear deltoids, and the muscles of your upper back. This is the most common variation.


Benefits of Doing Front Squats

Now that you know what a front squat is, here are some benefits that you can get from doing the front squat.


#1 - It Requires More Balance Than A Back Squat

Because you are holding the barbell in front of your body, this requires more balance than a back squat where the barbell is behind your neck and shoulders (some people try to mimic this movement by leaning their upper bodies forward while performing the back squat). Therefore, the front squat is an exercise that will build your balance and coordination skills.


#2 - You Have More Core Engagement

You have to keep your torso upright to maintain balance when performing a front squat. This improves core strength because you engage more of your core muscles to keep yourself in this position without falling over! As a result, you will get a more comprehensive back and ab workout.


#3 - It's Easier On Your Back

The front squat is easier on your back because it puts less strain on the muscles of your lower back due to having less weight in front of your body than the regular barbell behind your neck back squat.


#4 - It's A Great Exercise To Build Up Your Quads

Quadriceps muscles are an essential set of muscles for running, jumping, and lifting. Unfortunately, they are hard to grow because it takes time for them to recover after training. However, the front squat is excellent for growing your quadriceps quickly because of its reduced strain on the back muscles.


#5 - It's A Great Functional Exercise

The front squat is excellent for practising functional movements. It requires your core to be engaged, which can help strengthen the essential muscles for doing activities in daily living. These include carrying groceries, lifting objects of all shapes and sizes, etc.


#6 - It's A Good Exercise For Athletes

The front squat is a common exercise for athletes because it requires coordination and balance. These are skills that may help in your sport of choice. For example, if you play basketball, rugby, or football, the front squat can be valuable in developing explosive movements. The core engagement will also give you an extra boost when running or jumping.


What Are The Disadvantages Of Doing Front Squats?

While front squats are great, they come with certain limitations that you should know of before using them as part of your training regime.


#1 - It Is An Advanced Exercise

The front squat is usually an advanced exercise. It would help if you were comfortable with the back squat before trying this. This means that you need to have prior experience doing squats and know how to maintain good form throughout the full range of motion. Only once you are confident, start to use the front squat as your primary leg training exercise.


#2 - It Requires More Coordination And Balance

Since you are holding the barbell in front of your body instead of behind it, this requires more coordination and balance, which is needed during training sessions. In addition, this means that you will need someone who can spot you. Otherwise, there is a risk for the barbell to fall and hit you in the face!


#3 - It Can Cause Injuries To Your Arms

Since the front squat requires moving more weight, there is a greater chance of injuries to your arms. This can happen if you lack the wrist and shoulder strength to hold up the barbell properly. Therefore, you will need to strengthen these muscles before performing this exercise.


#4 - It Requires A Clean

You can’t just go and grab a barbell without knowing how to do it. There is a proper way of lifting a barbell, known as “the clean”. It would help if you learned this before attempting the front squat. If you don’t know how to do this already, find someone who does and ask them to teach you.


#5 - It Requires More Technicality

If you are starting with the front squat, it will require more technicality than the back squat. You will need to know how to maintain proper form throughout the full range of motion without any deviations; otherwise, there is a greater risk for injury.


#6 - It Doesn't Work The Same As Back Squats

The front squat works the same lower body muscles as the back squat. But it doesn’t allow you to use as much weight, which means that your maximum strength will go down. This can be a problem for competitive powerlifters or strongmen who are looking to break records. Even though they may lift more weight using the front squat, their back squats will go down.


Benefits of Back Squats

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of doing front squats, it’s time to find out why you should be doing back squats too.


#1 - You Can Lift More Weight With Back Squats

As we mentioned earlier, the back squat allows you to lift more weight than front squats because there is less strain on your torso and arms. This makes it easier for you to achieve your desired results in terms of strength training. But remember, this is not an excuse for bad form because the risk of injury will go up exponentially.


#2 - It Can Be A Good Warm-Up For Other Exercises

It can be good to start with back squats when you are about to do other exercises requiring lower body strength, even though they may not be the best leg exercise. This will help you to loosen your muscles and warm up.


#3 - It Is An Exercise That Most People Are Comfortable With

Back squats are the most popular of all types of squats. You can find weights that allow you to do them anywhere, regardless of whether you’re in a gym or at home. This makes it perfect for those who want to stay fit and healthy.


#4 - It's Easier To Check Your Form

It is easier to check and correct your form since you’re doing the same movement as in a regular squat. You can do this even on your own if you have access to a barbell and weights of some kind. This makes back squats suitable for both beginners and more experienced fitness enthusiasts looking to try something new.


#5 - It Doesn't Require Spotting

Unlike the front squat, it doesn’t require spotting, and there is less risk for injury. You can go ahead and do your back squats on your own without being afraid of getting hurt or having to ask someone who knows how to lift a barbell to help you out.


#6 - It Is The Foundation Of Squats

Back squats are the foundation of all types of squats. If you don’t have a good back squat, your other leg exercises will suffer from it. In general, your lower body strength will go down even if you’re trying to work on your quads or hamstrings with isolation exercises.


#7 - It Is A Compound Exercise

Back squats are compound exercises meaning that they work not only on one but also on several muscle groups. This includes your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, which will get bigger and stronger when you do back squats regularly (unless you already have a strong lower body).


#8 - Back Squats Are Effective For Building Mass

It has been proven that back squats are a very effective way of building a lot of mass quickly. This makes it an excellent exercise to add to your training regimen if you’re trying to bulk up. However, it is essential not to lose the technique while trying to lift as much weight as possible.


Drawbacks of Doing Back Squats

Now, let’s look at some of the drawbacks that come from doing back squats.


#1 - It Can Be Harder On The Knees

Because you have to keep your entire body straight, it can sometimes be hard on the knees to do back squats with a barbell because of all the weight. However, this is not always a bad thing since it could mean that your body builds muscles around the joints.


#2 - It Can Be Hard To Fix Your Form

Since it is a little harder to check your form when you’re doing back squats, it can be hard to figure out the problem with your technique and how to fix it. You may end up injuring yourself if you don’t pay attention or get help from someone who knows what they’re doing.


#3 - You Have To Be In Good Condition

Since you will be lifting a barbell loaded with weights, it is essential for your lower back and entire body to be in good condition before attempting this type of exercise. If your muscles are not strong enough to handle the weight, you could get hurt or suffer from severe back pain.


#4 - It Can Be Tiring

Back squats can be tiring, so if you do them regularly, it’s essential to take breaks between each set or after a few exercises that work for the same muscle groups. You may also want to use dumbbells for this exercise because they are easier on the lower back than barbells are.


#5 - It Can Be Hard To Breathe

If you’re not used to doing squats, your breathing can be affected by the weight you’re holding. This is more likely to happen when you are lifting heavy weights for high reps. As a result, your lungs may not expand all the way, which could temporarily make it hard for you to breathe correctly.


#6 - You May Not Have The Proper Equipment

Unless you have a spacious home gym, it may be hard to do back squats regularly. It would help if you had a barbell and weights, which can take up a lot of space and mean that other exercises won’t be possible in your gym. You may also want to get a weightlifting belt if you plan on lifting heavy weights for high reps.


Frequently Asked Questions : Front Squat vs Back Squat:

Are front squats more effective?

Both exercises are effective, but since back squats are compound exercises, they will probably hit more muscle groups simultaneously. They are also easier to overload than front squats.


Should you be able to squat your bodyweight?

This can vary depending on who you ask, but having the ability to squat your bodyweight with perfect form is generally considered an indication of good lower body strength.


What should the average man be able to squat?

The average man should use a barbell and squat between 1x and 1.5x his bodyweight with perfect form and without injury.


Final Thoughts : Front Squat vs Back Squat:

Both back squats and front squats are excellent exercises that work on strengthening your legs. But if you had to choose one, the best option is back squats because they are more effective for building mass, are easier to get started with since you don’t have to balance the bar in front of yourself, and can be more fun to do when the weights are challenging.


We hope this article was informative and that you have a better understanding of both exercises.



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