Squats, when done right, help your body pack on huge amounts of muscle mass. While they are one of the most important leg exercises you can do, they benefit a variety of other body parts as well.
You might already know that front and back barbell squats can help build a stronger lower body, which in turn allows you to jump higher and run faster. Even though there are many variations of this exercise, and it can be performed with different kinds of equipment and weights, the two most known variations of this exercise are the barbell back squat and the barbell front squat. Now you might wonder which one of the two is more effective. Well, it completely depends on your personal fitness goals and strength, as both variations have their own pros and cons.
Front Barbell Squat
Stand with a barbell resting on the front part of your shoulders, ahead of your neck, with your hands gripping the bar from the front. Your elbows must be pointing forward and your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight and your back vertical, squat down until the top of your thighs are just below the top of your knees. Extend your legs and stand up, and return to the starting position.
The barbell front squat is a resistance exercise that works on several muscle groups. It can help improve both your core strength and flexibility. By doing this variation of squats on a regular basis, you will also notice greater strength in your thighs and lower back.
It needs to be noted that though front barbell squats do not target the hamstrings and gluteus muscles as much as back barbell squats, they do focus on training all three heads of the quadriceps. For this reason, many people, especially strength athletes perform front squats as an auxiliary exercise. Since the barbell is supported at the front of the neck, the torso remains more upright, and there is less stress on the lower back. However, supporting the barbell on the shoulder front could be uncomfortable or even painful for some.
Back Barbell Squat
Stand with a weight-loaded barbell resting on the back of your shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar with both hands. Switch your weight onto your heels and squat down until the top of your thighs are just below the top of your knees. Push your heels downward into the floor and extend your legs until you are standing upright again. Keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the movement.
The back squat is great for mass-building and is a full-body compound movement. The quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus muscles, erector spine, gastrocnemius, soleus, adductor and abdominal muscles all are trained with this one exercise. The back barbell squats can be done with light weights for toning and heavier weights for both mass-building and power-building.
So, the bottom line is that both techniques can add to your body development goals in their own way. They don't just pack muscle onto your legs, but also benefit your upper body. Squats are only dangerous when performed in an improper form. So, if you get the technique down right, then you're set for amazing muscle mass gains!