Monday Mythbuster #29:  Back Squats are Superior to Front Squats

Monday Mythbuster #29: Back Squats are Superior to Front Squats

Legs are a neglected muscle group by many for one reason - it requires a bigger effort to train them.

However, legs form one half of our body and it is really important to train them for multiple reasons:

  • A truly aesthetic physique isn’t possible without training legs
  • It is good for our general health
  • Since legs are our biggest muscle group - you will burn more fat working legs than any other muscle group!

The squat is undoubtedly one of the best compound movements to build strength in our legs and make them grow.

It is part of the big 3, along with the bench press and the deadlift. 

Furthermore, it is used by novices, intermediaries, and advanced lifters to reach their goals.

Yet, a lot of people neglect front squats because of the myth that back squats are the best

What Is The Difference Between Front and Back Squat?

As we mentioned above, squats require a lot of effort and concentration. 

Whether you are doing a front or back squat you have to be prepared physically and mentally to get under the bar.

The main differences between the two are in the position of the bar and the primary muscles targeted.

By changing the position of the bar our torso also changes positions when performing each one of the squats.

The Front Squat targets the quadriceps, the adductors, the glutes, the core, and also the upper back (upper trapezius) of the trainee, however, your hamstrings are NOT significantly contributing to the movement.

The Back Squat on the other side puts our torso in a more horizontally position and allows a bigger range of motion.

In general, the Back Squat targets the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the glutes, and the lower back to a minor degree.

In other words, the whole body is engaged when performing a back squat.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the front squat puts less pressure on your lower back.

The reason for this is because when performing a front squat we are leaning forward less, compared to the back squat.

So if you have lower back pain, the front squat may be in your best interest.

When executed perfectly, the back squat can only strengthen your lower back, but this requires good form - so be sure to videotape and watch yourself after to fix bad form, especially if you’re experiencing lower back pain after squatting,

But you probably wonder...

Which One Is Better For Growing Your Legs?

There is no better exercise than others. Frankly, you should do both!

In general, if you are looking for optimal strength in your legs you should go with the back squat.

The reasons for that are stated below:

The Back Squat has a bigger range of motion, which means that there are more muscles activated
You are able to squat heavier with more weight

Front squats seem to be better for pure hypertrophy. Because they activate the quads more (by removing hamstrings helping out), front squats tend to provide a better inner quad sweep.

However, front squats do require more flexibility to be able to go below parallel.

Again, doing both will bring you nothing but more gains.

You can implement some heavy back squats (high intensity) and some light front squats (high volume) for the best results.

This guarantees that your legs will grow IF you are eating optimally and are progressively overloading the weight on either exercise. And you’ll also increase your overall strength.

Final Words

Front and Back squats are both awesome exercises to put some muscle mass in our legs.

The one isn’t necessarily better than the other and they both should be included in our training for the biggest impact.

And remember to continue taking your Oh!mino - especially after a hard leg day

This will allow your legs to recover quickly so you aren't walking around sore for the next 3 days. It also promotes protein synthesis, so your muscles continue to grow on your rest days.

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