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Dance Trainer Q&A – Sublime Squats


Welcome to Dance Trainer Q&A.  Where dance and fitness come together.  If you have general fitness/workout questions, or fitness related to dancing, this is the place for you.  Questions will be answered and posted every week.

Q: “Hi Nick.  I wanted to ask about back squats vs. front squats in terms of their benefits on the dance floor.”

A: Lindy Hop is one of the most athletic partner dances around.  It utilizes squats as one of it’s main postural and movement components.  Everything from a Swing Out to Aerials use squat motions.  Even a slight sitting posture is part of the squat family (a hinge in the hips and bend in the knees). Squats are one of the grand daddy staples of fitness as one of the major compound movements.  Squats should be a part of any fitness routine.  They engage almost every muscle in the body (not just the legs) as well as help grow lean muscle.  Don’t worry, squats won’t necessarily make you look like a beast, but can certainly help with weight loss and lean muscle mass.  The two most common are back squats and front squats.

The back squat (with a barbell resting on the upper back) is the most common squat for lifters.  It allows for the heaviest load for muscle gain.  Back squats place more of the load on the posterior (back) half and focus primarily on the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves, however there is greater emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings in comparison to front squats.

Front squats (with a barbell resting on the shoulders by the collar bone) place an even greater emphasis on the the quads and lower back, but also include the glutes, hamstrings and calves. Back squats require more of a hinge at the waste when lowering while front squats require a more upright posture.

If you’re looking for which one is most useful to dancing, they are both useful.  Lindy Hop has a slight squat to its posture and movement, but the focus continually shifts from back to front and vice versa.  Limiting to only one type of squat will limit your movement and strength as well as limit gains in the gym.  My advice is to mix up the squats you do.  Back squats one leg day, front squats the other. Don’t do squats two days in a row.  Allow at least 48 hours recovery (72 hours is optimal).  If you do them on the same day, start with back squats, then move on to front squats.   The back squat will always be the main barbell squat, but don’t limit yourself to it.

You might also think about mixing up the program with other squats, or superset with an explosive movement afterwards to make it a bit more athletic.  For example, superset back squats with jump squats, air squats or burpees.  Here are some other squat variations to change up the program:
-Dumbell squats
-Air squats
-Jump squats
-Kettlebell squats
-Goblet squats
-One legged squat
-Squats on an unstable surface
-Leg press
and numerous others

**Proper squat posture and technique is essential.  Please practice good form before adding weight.  Poor posture can lead to injury.  Be safe!

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