How to Front Squat: Top 5 tips
The Front squat is a variation of the 'squat' movement pattern. The bar is just racked in front of the body in one of two ways. Either using a clean grip or a crossed arm grip. When performed correctly the front squat enables greater depth, increased core strength and greater activation through your glutes.
Purpose of the movement:
The front rack position with the bar can be difficult and uncomfortable for a start when you first try the movement but once you nail the technique it has a lot of benefits!
The front squat places the pelvis in a slightly posteriorly tilted position, enabling the hamstrings to move through greater range, hence the increase depth during the movement. It also allows for greater contribution through the lower abs and makes it harder for the hip flexors to block/restrict depth.
The back squat movement requires a massive recruitment of many muscle fibres. The major muscles that are involved during the front squat are:
- Gluteus Max/Med/Min
- Adductor Magnus
- Erector Spinae
- Rectus Abdominis
The key things you will need to perform the front squat:
- Power rack or squat stands
- weight plate collar
Optional extra equipment:
- knee sleves/wraps
- bar padding
- weightlifting belt
- weightlifting shoes/flat shoes
Step by Step guide:
- Set up all of the required equipment
- Set the safety bars/straps at the correct height just below the depth you will be aiming for. Save you from getting crushed if you fail, also great as a depth indicator.
- Place the J hooks at the correct height - just below shoulder level- making it easy to unrack the weight.
- For the 'clean grip' - the bar will set on top of the clavicle/deltoids close to your neck, hands will grip the bar inside shoulder width. The hands are just there to control the bar, the shoulders take all of the weight. You want to keep elbows high at all times.
- For the 'crossed arm grip' - bar rests on the same position on the shoulders but this time your arms cross over and rest on top of the bar -stopping it from rolling anywhere. arms should remain parallel to the floor during the movement.
- Once grip is sorted it is the same as a back squat.
- Step out from the rack, set up feet slightly wider than shoulder width feet slightly pointed outwards.
- From here, bottom moves back first as if you are trying to sit down to a seat.
- Control movement down until thighs are parallel to the floor or lower depending on your range - keeping neutral spine and big chest throughout movement.
- Quick pause at the bottom and then drive through your heels to return to top position.
Top 5 Tips:
- Choose whichever grip is most comfortable for you
- Set up correctly before beginning to lower the weight
- Maintain neutral spine throughout movement
- With the 'clean grip' keep elbows high
- With the 'crossed arm grip' keep arms parallel to the floor
Although it can be hard to master initially, the front squat should be included in every training program. Great for building quad and glute strength and it is a squat variation that also increases the strength of the abdominals. Get greater depth through your squats and start working your way towards full depth efforts!
Play around with both grip variations and choose the one which feels comfortable for you.