Front Squats vs. Back Squats: What’s the Difference?

Squats vs. Back Squats

Front Squats vs. Back Squats: What’s the Difference?

Squats are a common way to tone the legs and glutes while simultaneously toning the arms with added weights. There are some common rumors that float around about squats – “they’re bad for the knees,” “doing too many will create too much bulk,” “the weights are hard on the wrists,” etc. However, it is time we put these rumors to rest. When performed correctly, squats are completely safe and they can provide some of the best physical results. Squats are a great exercise for building core and lower body strength, improving speed, and even supporting improved dexterity, making it possible to jump higher, faster, and farther than before.

If your form is incorrect, squats can certainly take a toll on your body, much like any other exercise. Consulting with a physiotherapist can help you learn proper form and technique for performing squats correctly. Front squats and back squats both have their own pros and cons, and it is important to know the difference between the two so you can learn how to do both of them the right way.

How to do a front squat:

The first step to doing a proper front squat is placing the barbell across the front of your shoulders, just below your neck. Make sure your fingertips are underneath the barbell, just outside your shoulder width. Your elbows should form a sharp point. Keeping your chest up and your core tight, begin to lower yourself toward the floor using your hips and knees. Keep lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly bring yourself back up to a standing position using your hips and knees once again.

How to do a back squat:

The fundamentals of a back squat are the same as a front squat. You move your body in the same motion for both, bending at your hips and knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground, and then slowly returning to a standing position. The biggest difference of a front squat and a back squat is the way in which you hold the barbell.

While a front squat requires holding the barbell in front of your shoulders, a back squat requires holding the barbell OVER your shoulders, just behind your neck. One of the most imperative parts of a back squat is making sure the weight is not resting on your neck at all, as that can lead to neck pain or injury. Instead, make sure the barbell is being held on your shoulders and that you keep your chest up so your neck doesn’t hunch forward during the squat. Attempting to lift too much weight and accidentally relying on your neck instead of your shoulders could lead to severe injury.

Adding weight:

Front and back squats can be done with or without weights added to the barbell. It is also possible to perform squats with hand weights or kettlebells if you desire to do so. If you decide to add more weight, make sure you are comfortable holding the additional weight on your shoulders before you do the squat. If it feels too heavy on your shoulders beforehand, be sure to remove some, in order to avoid unnecessary injury. If you are just getting started, doing a squat without weight is a good way to become familiar with the movement and to prepare your muscles for the activity without adding too much intensity at once.

Improving technique:

Having proper technique while doing a squat is extremely important, especially if you are holding extra weight. A physiotherapist can help you improve your form and technique in order to achieve optimum results and prevent the risk of injury. Physiotherapy treatments can also provide additional tips and techniques for building muscle strength and increasing your range of motion.

If you are looking to improve your technique, or you’d like to learn more about adding squats to your exercise regimen, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today. We’ll create a personalized exercise plan for you to reach your goals and maintain your peak level of physical performance!

Pre-hab: What is it and How Does it Help?

If you are an athlete, whether you’re a professional or a weekend warrior, it is in your nature to push your body to its full potential. But before you do so, it is important to ask yourself, “Is my body ready to take on that challenge?” Undetected weakness and vulnerabilities could prime you for a devastating injury. Additionally, if you are currently injured or recovering from an injury or surgery, getting straight back into a workout regimen could be more harmful than you may realize.

Fortunately, there is a way to prepare your body for a safe and speedy recovery: pre-hab. If you are in need of a surgical procedure, or if you have a long injury-related recovery ahead of you, you may be a prime candidate for pre-hab. For more information, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness to schedule a consultation with a physiotherapist today.

How to tell if you are unfit for extensive physiotherapy or athletic training:

When your body isn’t conditioned to perform certain physical demands, it is likely that you may sustain even more damage, whether it be inflammation, tears, or ruptures. Think of it in terms outside of your injury or procedure: if someone lives a sedentary lifestyle for years and then decides they want to sign up for a triathlon, their body won’t physically be able to complete the event if they don’t spend ample amounts of time pre-conditioning.

Your body is the same way after it sustains an injury or surgical repair, and the same concerns hold true for anyone looking to undergo physiotherapy. A major injury or surgical procedure can leave you sidelined for weeks or months. You become physically weaker as you recover, even if you feel as if you have the same amount of strength.

During that time, joints may stiffen up, while muscles and connective tissues can atrophy. A complete lack of activity while you’re getting over your immediate damage may even promote the development of internal scar tissue called adhesions. That’s why pre-conditioning your body is so important before returning to any sort of physical activity – you are retraining your body to handle the specific motions and weight loads that it was able to do before it became injured.

Pre-hab exercises and techniques to get you started:

Pre-hab is a critical preparatory stage for getting your body ready for the physiotherapy rehabilitation treatments it has ahead, and achieving your end goal of returning to the activities you love.

One of the most important aspects of pre-hab is core training, which focuses on the core muscles of your lower back, lower abdomen, and pelvic region, in order to regain and enhance your body’s balance and stability. Exercises to strengthen and mobilize the upper back are also helpful in pre-hab, giving your body a solid degree of overall stability before moving on to other exercises.

When you participate in pre-hab exercises, you will work on repetitive motions that are common to your sport, such as throwing a javelin or lifting weights. Your physiotherapist will design a specialized treatment plan to your needs, which will focus on a selection of specific exercises to prepare your body for regaining its optimum function. This will allow you to complete your physiotherapy treatments in a quicker fashion and return to your athletic routine without the risk of hurting yourself.

Going beyond sports with pre-hab:

People who are non-athletes can also benefit from pre-hab practices. Sometimes just the physical demands of daily life can take a toll on the body, such as doing office work or handling household chores. A body with uneven muscle development is also a prime target for overuse injuries and repetitive motion disorders, such as plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder bursitis, and other uncomfortable conditions.

Pre-hab exercises can help people in these risk groups optimize their fitness and prevent such injuries. If you are in need of a surgical procedure, or if your daily activities are causing you chronic pain, a pre-hab program from our dedicated physiotherapists can help make your recovery faster and easier.

Contact us today:

Whatever the case may be, our physical team is ready to help you recover from injuries and prevent others from occurring. Call NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today to schedule your appointment and get started on the path toward relief, recovery, and returning to your physical activities!


How a Nutritious Diet Can Improve Your Physical Performance

Nutrition strongly affects your physical performance, whether you’re a dedicated athlete, weekend warrior, or just trying to get out and exercise more. Your body does a lot throughout the day, and the food you supply it with helps it to function properly, whether you’re hitting the gym or simply performing your daily tasks. The more demanding you are on your body, the more attention you’ll have to take on what you are fueling it with. If you are looking to improve your physical performance, a nutritious diet is a great first step.

What does a nutritious diet consist of?

Think of your body as if it were a motor vehicle – gas is the primary life source for a car, and it won’t be able to function without it. However, cars also need the necessary oils, fuels, electricity, etc., in order to run the way they’re supposed to. Much like your car, your body needs a consistent mix of proper nutrients in order to function at its peak performance. There are two primary categories for nutrients: micronutrients and macronutrients.

  • Micronutrients: Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. Some micronutrients –  such as a sodium/potassium pairing or calcium/magnesium pairing – help with regulating the actions of each other. Other micronutrients are only beneficial to your body in trace amounts, such as chromium, copper, and selenium. Most athletes will flock straight to B-complex vitamins as they help to increase energy; however, it is important to also fuel yourself with a healthy mix of A, C, E, and K vitamins in order to keep your body functioning the way you want it to.
  • Macronutrients: Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, and water. The first three of those macronutrients assist your body in creating energy.  Carbs are used first, since they are the ones that burn the quickest, and are therefore helpful for short-burst activities or endurance training. Your body uses proteins second. Proteins contain 20 essential amino acids, referred to as the “building blocks of muscle.” They help in strengthening your most important muscle – your heart. Finally, fats are used last. Your body stores them as a reserve fuel supply. However, they also serve a lot of important duties in the body, such as managing inflammation, producing hormones, lubricating joints, and promoting strong brain health.

How physiotherapy can help with your nutrition intake:

If your nutrients aren’t properly balanced, your physical function can be impaired. For example, neglecting to eat carbs before an endurance event will cause your body to burn fat as a substitute for fueling your energy. Your body may even start burning protein, which can deprive your muscles of the strength they normally have. Comparatively, if you have an overload of calcium intakes, but you’re lacking Vitamin D, the calcium won’t make its way to your bones or tissues. Consulting with a physiotherapist can help you understand how much you should be ingesting of each nutrient, and when more or fewer intakes of a certain nutrient may be beneficial.

A healthy balance of nutrients can help enhance healing, function, and overall comfort. For example, omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin C both help in reducing inflammation, which promotes faster healing. Certain amino acids can also aid your body in synthesizing proteins. Eating the right amount of carbohydrates at the right times can help give you the energy you need to improve your physical performance.

Our trained physiotherapists can help assist you in how to properly fuel your body with the nutritious diet you need to train for an event or compete in a physical obstacle. Call us today to schedule a consultation and get started on your holistic plan toward peak physical performance!