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!

Interested in Reaching Your Peak Performance? Try Athletic Training

Athletic training through physiotherapy treatments can help you reach your peak performance, whether you’re recovering from an injury or trying to strengthen your skills. A physiotherapist is dedicated to helping you reach your goals – and developing new ones! With athletic training programs, your peak performance is something that you and your physiotherapist will define, and something that can be grown upon throughout the course of your sessions.

Your physiotherapist will be right there with you, every step of the way, until you are able to reach your end goal. If you are interested in reaching your peak performance and learning more about athletic training, call NRG Athletes Physiotherapy today!

What does athletic training focus on?

Athletes, by nature, generally desire to push themselves to accomplish new goals. Sometimes an athlete may master one sport, only to take on the challenge of mastering a new one. Olympic sprinters take on the slopes at the winter games, and college athletes win national titles in multiple sports for this exact reason.

With athletic training, your goals never have to be definite. A physiotherapist can help you reach the peak of your performance in one sport and then help you tackle the summit of another. Just a few of the many advantages surrounding athletic training include:

  • Overcoming injuries. Physiotherapy treatments are some of the best ways to overcome an injury and find relief for your pain. Each treatment is designed specifically to the needs of each individual and the condition of their injury, consisting of exercises and strength-building activities that are unique to their recovery.
  • Refocusing strengths. A physiotherapist can help you focus on improving your strength in areas that you may not have considered. Many parts of the body influence each other, and strengthening one can help with the function of another. Rather than jumping directly into a new form of activity, it makes sense to train your body to react to the new form of stimulation by improving your muscular strength and range of motion.
  • Developing healthy habits. While a physiotherapist can help you reach physical goals, they can also help you work on general wellness goals, as well. For example, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a strong focus on hydration are fundamental in improving your physical fitness level. A physiotherapist is a great resource to have when focusing on increasing strength and muscular functionality, as they can help you improve in all aspects of health and wellness.

Seeking the help of a physiotherapist:

People most commonly turn to physiotherapy after sustaining an injury. You’re in pain, looking for relief and recovery, and trying to find the motivation to push yourself to get there. Physiotherapists are trained to help you bounce back from your injury, with just as much strength (if not more!) than you had before the injury. They are dedicated to always helping you reach your peak, whatever that may be.

Many times, physiotherapy is a step-by-step process. Each step focuses on realistic goals for you to reach, all leading up to the end goal that you and your physiotherapist create together. Schedule a consultation with one of our physiotherapists today to discuss your athletic goals and the steps you’ll need to take to reach them!


Strength Training for All Ages  

Strength training routines can benefit individuals of all ages. Whether it is used as physiotherapy after an injury or illness or as athletic therapy to help a young athlete build the strength and stamina they need to compete, it’s benefits are wide-ranging and long-term. Professionals who specialize in sports medicine understand the need to maintain physical strength and dexterity while on the field, but strength training offers benefits to individuals of all ages, including the elderly.

Strong Muscles, Strong Bones

One of the most profound benefits of strength training is the effect it has on the bones and connective tissues. As the muscles become stronger and more pressure is placed on the bones, they slightly flex causing them to take in more calcium. This additional calcium increases bone density and also strengthens the cartilage, tendons, and ligaments that allow joints to function correctly. This is one of the reasons athletic therapy is so important during the healing process. Strengthening the muscles not only helps the bones to heal, it also strengthens them and hastens the healing process.

Strength Training Supports Heart Function

Strong muscles also help to improve circulation. Keeping the body physically strong also helps to keep the heart toned as well. Because exercise encourages the muscles to massage the blood vessels and push the blood through the body, the heart is able to work more efficiently. It can pump blood faster and more easily, increasing both stamina and endurance. Physiotherapy for patients who are recovering from a heart problem may be encouraged to use mild strength training exercises to help restore the heart’s strength and tone. While the exercises must be approved by a medical professional, the benefits offered to the heart and circulatory system are well known.

Helps to Maintain Flexibility and Range of Motion

Keeping joints strong through the use of strength training exercises helps to maintain flexibility and range of motion. This is especially beneficial for the elderly who often lose their range of motion and flexibility as their level of physical strength decreases. Patients who have chronic illnesses that affect the joints and musculoskeletal structure of the body can use strength training to recover much of what is lost as their condition progresses. It’s important to start slow, but a patient can gradually rebuild their strength and improve their ability to move effectively.

Sports medicine and physiotherapy are not the only areas where strength training can prove to be effective. Anyone who is interested in increasing their vitality and improving their health can benefit from these types of exercises.

Contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today and speak with our experts!