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Squats: The Front Squat vs. The Back Squat

Which is the King for Mass, While Minimizing Injury?

Developing strong, muscular legs requires you to perform a key exercise, the Squat. In the past, the traditional back squat was the bread and butter of all training programs. The problem is many athletes and competitors do not perform the back squat correctly, hence causing injuries that hinder their use of this proven exercise.

EXAMINING THE “BACK SQUAT” To perform the Back Squat effectively, you must have good shoulder external rotation to be able to place the bar in the correct low position. Many athletes who lack this mobility, place their hands wide on the bar, which causes your scapula to change position, ultimately leading to a rounding position of your spine. An additional problem performing the back squat is the “forward lean”. This causes your paraspinal muscles to become relaxed, because they are stretched and now causes excessive stress on your spine. Ultimately, it can risk vertebral disk damage.

My favorite bar to use with the front squat is the yolk bar or cambered bar if your gym has one. Performing the front squat allows you to maintain an upright position, placing less strain on your spine and requires less or no use of your shoulders, except to hold the bar across the front of you. The front squat is an EXCELLENT movement to get bigger, stronger quads–probably the best exercise there is. Because your position is more upright, it emphasizes the quads more. Another good quality about front squats is the form is self correcting: If you’re not straight enough you’ll drop the bar… if you’re not holding the bar right you’ll drop it… if you don’t keep your elbows up you’ll drop it. It’s an exercise that pretty much forces your form to be good. Because you’re holding the weight in front of your body, and you must remain upright; your entire core gets a great workout trying to stabilize the weight and keeps you upright.

The benefits of this exercise don’t end with your legs. In general, squats create an overall anabolic environment in the body that maximizes gains from other exercises in your routine; squats have been long used as an effective training method in just about all sports. Squats involve a large muscle group and require a tremendous amount of energy to trigger the release of extra testosterone and growth hormone in the bloodstream. This powerful exercise is exactly what you need to develop strength and power, which will have a direct effect on your testosterone levels and fat burning potential.

You can squat till you drop, but if you don’t have what the body needs, you’re just wasting your time. Always supply your body with a pre-workout supplement; the consumption of a pre-workout supplement delays the fatigue while increasing the muscular endurance and reaction time. My personal choice is Infinite Labs. Juggernaut. HP; it offers a unique creatine blend along with other patented ingredients. The HP represents cutting edge technology in the Nitric Oxide category. A product containing nitric oxide producing ingredients is one of the fastest, easiest and most effective ways to start seeing massive gains of lean muscle mass, with little to no side effects and numerous benefits to your bodybuilding routine and overall health. Juggernaut. HP also includes Agmatine, the new and more effective supplement to increase the Nitric Oxide production. There is no better “PUMP” out there.

If using a yolk bar or cambered bar, position the bar as close as possible to your neck to minimize forces pushing you forward causing rounding of your spine.

Choose a stance that is comfortable to you, or vary between feet shoulder width and a wide stance every other workout.

Attack the bar, approach the bar every set as if you have no weight on it!

Once holding the bar, generate power throughout your entire body, starting with locking your muscles in from ground up.

Stay in an upright position (keeping your chest up).Descend in a controlled manner, and then drive out of the hole with explosiveness.

Never sacrifice reps for form, consequences can lead to injury!

JONATHAN C. GULLETT, MARK D. TILLMAN, GREGORY M. GUTIERREZ, AND JOHN W. CHOW Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
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