Health Blog

The Difference Between Front Squats and Back Squats and How to do Them Both Correctly

Who doesn’t love a good squat? Long ago, squats were an exercise that was known only to elite athletes who were looking to push their physical fitness level to the limits, but now they are one of the most commonly practiced forms of weightlifting.

There are a lot of rumors out there about squats, though. For example, there are many who believe that squats are bad for the knees, or that doing too many squats will cause you to slow down and gain too much bulk to be truly athletic. Those who valued the merits of speed and cardiovascular activity tended to avoid squats so as not to become too encumbered. If you still believe any of these myths, it is time to put them to bed once and for all. Squats are a great exercise for building core and lower body strength, for improving speed, and even supporting improved dexterity, making it possible to jump higher, faster and farther than before.

Of course, if you are going to start doing squats, then you need to be careful about doing them the right way. Using bad form when it comes to doing squats could result in injury. There are two different types of squats, and it is important to know the difference between the two and how to do both of them correctly.

The Front Squat

To do a front squat, the first step is to place the barbell across the front of your shoulders, below the neck. Place your fingertips underneath the barbell, just to the outside of your shoulders. This will cause your elbows to make a sharp point. Keep your chest erected and your core tight, and focus on keeping all movement at the bend in your hips and knees as you lower yourself toward the floor. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, hold and then slowly return to an upright position.

The Back Squat

A back squat is fundamentally similar to the front squat thanks to the squatting motion itself. The goal is to move your body in the same type of motion, bending at your hips and knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground, and then returning to an upright position soon after. The difference between a front squat and a back squat really comes down to where you hold the weight.

To do a proper back squat, you should hold the barbell over your shoulders, just behind your neck. It is important that the weight is not resting on your neck at all, but instead is being held on your shoulders. Attempting to lift too much weight and accidentally relying on your neck instead of your shoulders could lead to severe injury.

You can also do front or back squats without weights or with hand weights or kettlebells. If you are going to use any weight at all, make sure that you are comfortable resting the weight on your shoulders as you do the squat. You should be able to manage the additional weight as you squat. 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.

Learning how to use the proper techniques for exercises like front and back squats is important. This is the type of information that you can learn through physical therapy, especially if you are looking to build muscle strength and range of motion following an injury or surgical intervention.

For more information about using proper technique with strength-building activities, contact our physical therapy office.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAIL LISTDiscover the solution to pain-free living.
Sign up today for monthly health tips.

Our Reviews
Nancy Guenther
Nancy Guenther
15:28 12 Jul 19
Absolutely awesome! My walking has improved 110%. And my pain level is zero. I highly recommend them. Go....you will be amazed how much better you feel.
Tracie Baxter
Tracie Baxter
20:24 03 Jul 19
This was the only place that could help with my TMJ. If you’re suffering from TMJ go see Noel! He really understands the condition. I no long have to deal with constant pain! The whole staff at this office is amazing and very welcoming.
Cindy Standiford
Cindy Standiford
21:33 28 Jun 19
The whole team is great!! I’m getting great care! I recommend Orthopedic & Balance for any issues you might have.
Joseph Mulholland
Joseph Mulholland
19:53 09 May 19
Amazing staff and amazing care. I came in barely able to stand up straight due to a back injury. After 6 weeks, I feel like brand new. Everyone was extremely helpful and easy to work with. Highly recommended!
Trool u
Trool u
19:44 24 Apr 19
I am a PTA student that was required 16 hours of observation time. I had the pleasure of completing my hours at this Valpo location. The staff is incredibly friendly. They were quick to make me feel at home. In a way I was sad to leave, but happy to continue on. I hope to eventually work in this field with a work family this caring and knowledgeable about their profession.
sharon Kramer
sharon Kramer
16:23 18 Apr 19
My experience has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in getting me to feeling better. The staff does a remarkable job and are fully qualified in their respective areas. The staff made it fun coming here and they were very caring and helpful with their clients!!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
See All Reviews