Does it really matter where we place our weights during a squat? Absolutely!!!
Weights On Shoulders
The weight position dictates the joint angles and how your legs, hips and posterior chain are recruited. The back (or shoulder load squat) is the only exercise in the weight room that trains the recruitment of the entire posterior chain. There is a stronger focus on glutes and hamstrings and more core due to the compression forces on the spine.
Front Load Squats
When we place the weights in front of our body, the body is forced to move forward and therefore increases knee flexion as you descend into a squat. Front squats place more emphasis on the quads rather than the glutes. They also challenge the lower back to remain upright and prevent the torso from falling forward. This in turn provides a greater awareness to core control.
The next time you see squats in an OTF workout; don’t hesitate to ask your coach for proper modifications to keep your workout safe!