Let’s face it, if you have any experience in training or fitness then you know the benefits of squats. The two biggest being the increased strength and flexibility they give us. But how many have considered the differences between the front and back squats?
First and foremost make sure to be safe while performing these lifts and consult a professional if need be. Second, to be completely honest they are both fantastic exercises for the hunter! They both focus on the core and legs which are our best tools for getting close to game and then getting it back out. There are however a few minor differences between the two.
Back squats allow you to lift more weight, no question. This is mainly due to the fashion the weight is supported by your body. Regardless, more weight equals more strength. They also help develop more power in your hips since you are sitting back into the squat. The back squat tends to put more of a load on the posterior (glutes and hamstrings) and applies more compressive forces on the spine. These higher compressive forces requires your core to work hard to protect your lower back.
Front squats on the other hand put more emphasis on working your quadriceps and require a bit more mobility and flexibility to properly execute. Another noteworthy aspect is that front squats will force your upper back to work harder because of where the weight is held with respect to the body. You will really need to have great core control to execute a front squat to keep you from falling forward. Another benefit of adding front squats to your regimen is that they will aid in your Olympic type lifts (cleans and snatches, great for improving explosiveness!) since they mimic the final stages of execution.
What does all this mean to you as a fit hunter? Incorporate both to your workouts! They both build stronger muscles and emphasize ankle, knee, and hip extension. They both will benefit your overall fitness and put you in a better position to be successful on your next outing. That’s why we do what we do right?
Note that I use a kettlebell and sandbag in the photos to demonstrate the lifts. These are excellent tools to use but the barbell is more commonly used due to the weight limitations you may ultimately encounter as your training progresses (if you aren’t already there).