Original Research Muscle Activity in Single- vs. Double-Leg Squats BRADLEY A. DeFOREST† 1,2, GREGORY S. CANTRELL†,3, and BRIAN K. SCHILLINGǂ1 1Exercise Neuromechanics Laboratory, The University of Memphis, TN USA; 2Biomechanics/ Sports Medicine Lab, The University of Tennessee, TN USA; 3Body Composition and Physical Performance Laboratory, The University of This is due to the fact that front squats force a greater requirement for knee extension force which the quadriceps are responsible for. The squat is considered one of the best (if not the best) exercise for increasing strength and stability of the muscles of the lower extremity – due to it’s activation of the large musculature of the hip and knee, as well as abdominals and erector spinae. Front squats target this muscle a bit better than back squats. This is due to the fact that front squats force a greater requirement for knee extension force which the quadriceps are responsible for. Sort of going off topic in terms of hip vs. quad dominance, but what about the difference in compression on the joints? Results suggested that the front squat may be preferred to the back squat for knee extensor development and for preventing possible lumbar injuries during maximum loading. On the other hand, the front squat makes the moment arms longer for our upper backs (and quads), making the front squat a true full-body lift. It depends on certain factors. No significant differences were identified for skeletal muscle forces elsewhere. So it really isn’t a surprise that compressive forces on the knee during front squats are lower. Thus, both front squats and back squats resistance training programs improved lower body muscular strength, sprint speed, and power output. The mean power absorbed by the hip with the back bar is considerably greater. Si vous abaissez vos fesses sous vos genoux, vos quadriceps (à une seule articulation) sont le facteur limitant des deux exercices. The purpose of this study was to compare the muscle activation of the scapula, leg, and trunk among the front squat (FS), overhead squat (OHS), back extension (BE) and plank (PL). Pros: as opposed to the back squat, the front squat better targets the quad muscles and involves the hamstrings and glutes to a lesser degree. Back Squat: Now don’t think that because front squats require a bit more flexibility that back squats are a walk in the park. Would love to pull on the thread for front vs back squat a little more. The muscles assessed in this study were the erector spinae (ES), gluteus maximus (GM), biceps femoris (BF), vastus medialis (VM), and gastrocnemius (GN). For example, if you back squat 100lbs for 10 reps, you should be able to front squat 70 to 85lbs for 10 reps. To login click. When it comes to front squats vs back squats, no one is superior to another. Is there a difference in muscle activation between the two lifts? Valgus knee collapse is one cause of ACL tearing. This, however, does not mean, the back squat is to be avoided due to the risk of Achilles tendon injuries. Sort of going off topic in terms of hip vs. quad dominance, but what about the difference in compression on the joints? This study found that back squats and front squats produce similar quad activation, but the load used in the front squat was much lower to achieve this activation. (when we talk about the knee extensor muscles, the one muscle which extends the knee is the quadriceps muscle. Greater Relative Muscle Activation. There are two ways of looking at the EMG data: 1. This study found that back squats and front squats produce similar quad activation, but the load used in the front squat was much lower to achieve this activation. Pros: as opposed to the back squat, the front squat better targets the quad muscles and involves the hamstrings and glutes to a lesser degree. The loaded barbell squat is widely used and central to many strength training programs. The results of this study in conjunction with the 1989 study by Russell & Philips, suggested that the back squat gives rise to an increased risk of a lower back injury. In reality I think your best bet is to perform both front squats and back squats at different times in your long-term training program. 3. Join our mailing list to receive free gifts and the latest news and updates from our team. The powerlifting squat (hip squat/bent over squat/low bar squat) is a more hip dominant squat that reduces quadriceps stimulation. The only difference in front squat vs. back squat is the position of the bar. Néanmoins, en tant que mouvement poly-articulaire, il va également permettre de solliciter les muscles fessiers, ceux de la sangle abdominale, les adducteurs, les muscles érecteurs du rachis et les isc… They found that even though the athletes had lighter 70% 1RM when completing the front squat in comparison to the back squat, muscle activation did not significantly differ. Compared to the front squat version, back squat exhibited significantly greater trunk lean, with no differences occurring in the knee joint kinematics throughout the movement. The powerlifting squat (hip squat/bent over squat/low bar squat) is a more hip dominant squat that reduces quadriceps stimulation. But, we will limit our discussion to a very common doubt, i.e. Russell & S.J. The back squats vs front squats showdown has not disappointed! Furthermore, despite requiring lower loads, the front squat may provide a similar training stimulus to the back squat. “what is the difference between a front squats vs back squats?” The basic difference is that in the front squat, the bar is positioned across the collarbones, in front of the body. Both front squat and back squat strength training programs are both equally effective at enhancing vertical jump performance, sprint speed. Examination of muscle forces indicated that erector spinae forces were also significantly larger in the back squat. Phillips, in the journal Research Quarterly for Exercise & Sports (. In the bottom of the squat, you’ll use more quad muscles to extend the knee out of the hole. Back squat TMA was significantly greater (p ≤ 0.05) than HS for all muscles and phases except rectus abdominus in concentric phase. Individuals, especially athletes who wish to ensure movement-training specificity for lower-body resistance exercises should consider using the resisted sled exercise. Front squats can be a great training addition when you’re not feeling heavy back squats. The squat variation you use should depend on what muscle group you need to develop the most. It will depend on your goal. In conclusion, it was suggested the quads are more active during the front squat, while the hamstrings/hips are more active during the back squat (we knew this). If you back squat with bad technique, you may still be able to muscle the barbell up. Main Takeaways Show Printable Version; Email this Page… Subscribe to this Thread… Search Thread . A Comparison of Muscular Activation During the Back Squat and Deadlift to the Countermovement Jump By: David Robbins, CSCS, NASM-CPT A Thesis submitted to the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Exercise Science and Nutrition Degree Awarded: Masters of Exercise Science … 10-18-2018, 05:28 PM #31. When you read the heading, you will be a bit surprised as to, There are tons of supplements in the market which claim to burn fat and ramp up your metabolism. GeneralSerpant. For the study, 12 participants, completed three repetitions of both front squats vs back squats exercises at 50 % of their back squat one repetitions maximum. Back squats place more of the load on the posterior half—namely the glutes and hamstrings. International Journal of Exercise Science 13(1): 714-722, 2020. With a front squat, though, if you aren’t maintaining a pleasantly upright spine, the weight will tumble off of your shoulders. Results showed that the EMG activity of vastus medialis was found to be greater in the front squat compared to the back squat during the ascending phase and the whole maneuver, while semitendinosus EMG activity was greater in the back squat during the ascending phase. Stappani and Merrit (2009) also highlights the weight baring capabilities between the front and back squat and supports Gullet et al. There is no difference in muscle activation between front and back squats. The authors suggest using unilateral rather than bilateral squats for people with low back pain and those enrolled in rehabilitation programs after ACL ruptures, as unilateral squats are performed with small loads (28 vs. 135 kg) but achieve similar magnitude of muscle activity in the hamstring, calf, hip and abdominal muscles and create less load on the spine. This was the only muscle that activated differently during the isometric phase of both squats. The data revealed that with the influence of trunk inclination either exercise had the greatest low back injury risk (i.e., with greater trunk inclination: greater trunk extensor demands and lumbar shear forces). Front squats also teach you to push your knees out to prevent valgus knee collapse (knee-knock). As mentioned, the muscle being stretched the most will be the muscle being recruited the most. Although the bar position did not influence muscle activity, muscle activation during the ascending phase was significantly greater than during the descending phase. Here are summary points from all the above studies: There are other common differences observed in front squats vs back squats: Your email address will not be published. However, forward trunk inclination in a heavy back squat may not be an issue in experienced lifters, as their lifting technique is not compromised. Researchers compared that both the front squats vs back squats significantly improved 1-RM squat, vertical jump and sprint time. EMG of the upper- and mid-back muscles would be higher in the safety bar squat. The hamstring group muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris) flex the knee and extend the hip.). For e.g. This basically would be related to the fact that the exercise is done faster due to the greater stability obtained in locating the bar backward. an Olympic weightlifter will need to practice a lot of front squats due to his sporting requirements, as the front squat, A back squat is a more stable exercise, so the exercise. … Want to join our online fitness training program? It will depend on your goal. 2. See the chart below. Dan Green squats upright (and does front squat) for most of his training, only doing the low-bar style when preparing for a meet. Muscle activation in the loaded free barbell squat: A brief review. Athletes and persons concerned with fitness regularly perform the back squat; the front squat is performed much less often. Lumbar Spine Safety. Hypotheses. Your email address will not be published. Greater Relative Muscle Activation With the greater range of motion that a back squat allows, you have a greater risk of pulling your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Both squats make your muscles equally stronger for the same load. an Olympic weightlifter will need to practice a lot of front squats due to his sporting requirements, as the front squat component is used in clean & jerk, and snatch movements; and a powerlifter will be focussing more on the back squat. Both squats make your muscles equally stronger for the same load. The researchers found no significant differences between full, front and parallel squats in any of the tested muscles. Clark, DR, Lambert, MI, and Hunter, AM. The 15 healthy individuals had been performing front and back squats on a regular basis for a minimum of 12 months prior to the research. THE FINAL CONCLUSION. Any squat will help you burn plenty of calories, and all squats give you a chance to activate your leg muscles, which are some of the largest muscles in your body. While all squat variations activate similar muscle groups, the primary activation of your largest muscles differs between the front squat and the back squat. Front squats are recommended due their reduced risk of knee and lower back injuries, given that they allow for an upright posture throughout both phases of the squat (ascending and descending). The front squat and the back squat with a high bar position. The results of the study showed that the back squat has a significantly greater posterior trunk inclination angle, less knee flexion and higher lumbar spine angular velocity in comparison with the front squat. Comparison of muscle activation between the two exercises showed significant differences in the left GM (back squat: 0.84 ± 0.45, belt squat: 0.69 ± 0.22, p=0.015) and right GM (back squat: 0.86 ± 0.45, belt squat: 0.71 ± 0.29, p=0.004). This simply means that those at the risk of developing injuries related to the Achilles tendon may reduce this risk through more frequent utilization of the front squat in their training. Their results showed nearly identical muscle activation across the board between the back and front squat. Front squats and back squats are the two most popular versions of this foundational exercise, but they work your major muscle groups in different ways, and each has its pros and cons. It is recommended that individuals utilize a full range of motion when squatting, assuming full range can be safely achieved, in order to promote more favourable training adaptations. Let’s explore the muscles behind the … Our debate here is, MAN VS WOMAN – DIFFERENCE IN FAT STORAGE & BURN According to a 2008 study in the British Journal of, WHY IS GENESIS THE MOST POWERFUL PROGRAM? Front Squat Vs. Back Squat: Muscle Activation. Thus, both front squats and back squats resistance training programs improved lower body muscular strength, sprint speed, and power output. Back squats with a wider stance place more load on the gluteals and thigh adductors (groin) and also lessen valgus knee collapse. Point. Regression analysis computed significant prediction equations for belt squat load for general population, males, females, and advanced lifters. as a basic exercise. Here, we’ll lay out the differences between the two squats and the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you can decide which type of squat is best for you. Front squats also teach you to push your knees out to prevent valgus knee collapse (knee-knock). Any squat will help you burn plenty of calories, and all squats give you a chance to activate your leg muscles, which are some of the largest muscles in your body. When it comes to front squats vs back squats, no one is superior to another. The Front Squat. The squat will use the knee, hip, and back extensor muscles. One of the most common questions of gym-goers is what’s the difference between front squats vs back squats. Where there are not even basic set of rules or, Sometime back when I was researching on various topics for my books, I had no one to ask, simply because, Anabolic steroids or steroid drugs, whether one denies or accepts, are being commonly used in sports. In addition, the maximum amount of weight an individual can lift varies between the two techniques, with increased capacity possible for the back squat. While all squat variations activate similar muscle groups, the primary activation of your largest muscles differs between the front squat and the back squat. Les différences d'activation des principaux muscles sont cependant presque négligeables. A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals. They saw that the back squat resulted in significantly higher compressive forces and knee extensor moments than the front squat. Jump to page: Results 31 to 38 of 38 Thread: Front Squats vs Back Squats for Muscle Activation. Since the participants were experienced weight lifters, they were not in a risk of injury in performing back squat up to 85% of 1RM even with greater trunk inclination angle because their lumbar spine angle did not change significantly, which showed that their lifting technique was not compromised. You can lift a lot less on front squat, but basically what I got from this was that if you're working with weights that are the same percentages of your … Since the weight is … In short, the front squat targets the upper back and quads while the back squat focuses on the glutes and hips. There are several MUST-KNOWS about the front squat and the back squat that making choosing which squat is best for a lifter much easier. “what is the difference between a front squats vs back squats?” The basic difference is that in the front squat, the bar, Among the very first studies to compare front and back squat was the 1989 study by University of Maryland researchers P.J. Both squats make your muscles equally stronger for the same load. Significant increases in speed were found during the 10 to 20m interval for the HBS compared with the control treatment. Back squats with a wider stance place more load on the gluteals and thigh adductors (groin) and also lessen valgus knee collapse. But, we will limit our discussion to a very common doubt, i.e. One of these variations is the machine based Smith squat which purportedly is safer than free weight squats and leads to greater activation of the quadriceps. You must be logged in before using WishList. Yes, you don’t need as much shoulder, wrists, hips and ankle flexibility, but nonetheless flexibility in these areas will be required in order to reach maximum depth on each rep. CEO The Applied Science & Performance Institute. Front squats can help you reduce your risk of injury because you’re not bouncing out of a deep squat with a compressed and flexed spine. The quadriceps femoris muscle group (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medius, and vastus intermedius) crosses the knee via the patella and acts to extend the leg. J Strength Cond Res 26(4): 1169–1178, 2012—The purpose of this article was to review a series of studies (n = 18) where muscle activation in the free barbell back squat was measured and discussed. During the 30- to 40m interval, HBS produced significantly greater speeds compared with the HFS treatment and the control treatment. Seven recreationally trained men (age: 28 ± 3.6 years, body mass: 92 ± 26.1 kg, height: 175 ± 5.3 cm, 3-RM front squat t … Front squats target this muscle a bit better than back squats. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Although both squats effectively work the lower back, hip, and leg muscles, there are slight variations in technique and muscular involvement. The authors suggest using unilateral rather than bilateral squats for people with low back pain and those enrolled in rehabilitation programs after ACL ruptures, as unilateral squats are performed with small loads (28 vs. 135 kg) but achieve similar magnitude of muscle activity in the hamstring, calf, hip and abdominal muscles and create less load on the spine. & conditioning in various sports, gyms, etc Jacob Wilson, PhD CSCS * D CEO the Science. The same activation as back squatting more weight compared the front squats also you... 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With PHOTOS * https: //muscularstrength.com/article/Front-Squat-VS-Back-Squat-Which-Builds-More-MUSCLE-STRENGTHHey guys ’ t a surprise that compressive forces on the knee the. Common doubt, i.e free copy of our body Building 101program and like! Depend on what muscle group you need to develop knee extensor muscles the... The squats is the front squat may provide a similar training stimulus to the other variations was... Does not mean, the bar rests across your shoulders Page: results 31 to of... Compression forces on the gluteals and thigh adductors ( groin ) and also lessen knee! Supports Gullet et al either squat Exercise could be used to develop the most it. A very common doubt, i.e the Applied Science & performance Institute, etc & Chow, J. (... Vous abaissez vos fesses sous vos genoux, vos quadriceps ( droit fémoral, vaste et... Which squat is to be avoided due to the fact that front squats vs back squats for muscle activation kinematics! Squat with proper technique most will be the muscle being recruited the most will be the muscle being recruited most! Femoris ) flex the knee and extend the hip with the HFS treatment and back! Tra/Io with superior gastrocnemius activity ( 1 ): 714-722, 2020 other squatting variations used, apart various! In speed were found during the ascending phase was significantly greater speeds compared with the HFS treatment and the squat... Pros and cons of back and hip strain very common doubt, i.e squatting movements being used apart. Squatting less weight results in the kneeling squat compared to the fact that front squats vs back for... Free barbell squat is to perform both front squats and back squat ; front. Femoris ) flex the knee during front squats vs back squats, no one is superior to.!