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Back Squats Versus Front Squats — Which Is Right for You?

Back squats. Front squats. Which is best for you? Find out the details here and apply this to your workout program for superior results.

When it comes to your lower body training, squats are a must. Not only does this exercise offer superior metabolic boosting benefits, but it also strengthens just about every single muscle group in the body. You’ll hit your glutes, your quads, your hamstrings, as well as all the muscles in the core region.

That said, there are two ways that you can position the barbell when doing your squats — on the back of the body as well as at the front of the body.

Let’s go over each of these methods and talk a little about what the benefits are and how to perform it so that you can make an informed decision on which is the proper squat to begin adding to your workout routine.

Back Squats

Want to "build your booty," so to speak? Back squats are for you. In traditional back squats, you’ll place the barbell just across the top of the shoulders, resting just below your neck. This helps put maximum tension on the hamstring muscles and will also still hit the quads to a very good degree.

Alternatively, you can also do low bar back squats, where you will place the barbell lower, closer to the midline of your shoulder blades. This position helps to put more emphasis on the glute muscles instead of the hamstrings, so is the better glute builder of the two.

If you are looking for the maximum challenge with your back squats, the standard position will be what you want to do. Typically people will almost always lift slightly more weight when doing low bar squat as opposed to traditional back squats.

Front Squats

Alternatively, you might instead decide to do front squats. Front squats are usually harder than both back squats and because the bar is being placed at the front of the body, are going to make for a more quad predominant exercise.

Front squats are great for those who want to build explosive strength in the front of the lower body without as much emphasis in the back. While you will still work the hamstrings and glutes to some degree doing this squat, it’s not nearly as much as say the low bar squat.

Front squats do also tend to take some practice and precision in terms of perfecting the form, so be prepared to be patient with yourself while you learn them.

If you are doing front squats, you’ll also find that you bring your upper body muscles into play a bit more during this move as well, so it creates a very nice total-body strengthener.

All in all, both forms of squats are excellent to include in your workout program. In an ideal world, you might alternate between the two, achieving the most well-rounded benefits. But, note that you should only ever perform one variation of squats per workout session as this exercise is simply too intense to perform more than that. Choose whichever variation is best in line with your goals for that workout at hand.

[Image via Getty]

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