How To Do Front Squat? The back squat is a classic lower body lift. It packs muscle on your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, as well as recruits your abs and lower back, working harder to stabilize your torso as you raise and lower the bar. It’s also an effective strength-building move, which is why it’s so popular with elite athletes from 100-meter sprinters to UFC fighters to swimmers to American footballers.
But if you’re serious about adding muscle size and strength to your lower body there’s one more move you should add to your leg-building workout: the front squat.
It’s an often neglected lift, but one that deserves your attention. Similar to the back squat, it has one key difference: You hold the bar in front of your shoulders at the top of your chest, behind your neck.
This important adjustment forces your quads, the muscle group at the front of your thighs, to manage and move more load, as well as your core muscles to keep your torso straight and your upper body balanced.
And there is a bonus too. Unlike the back squat, where it’s common for your form to suffer at the end of each set, the position you’re in for the front squat forces you to stay upright and maintain perfect form, which means you can sit somewhere more securely. Here’s everything you need to know.
How to do Front Squat?
- Set the barbell up on the squat rack at the right height for you, based on your height. To do this, the barbell should be a little lower than your shoulders.
- The barbell is facing you. As you step toward the barbell, place your fingers under the barbell at opposite ends.
- Rotate your arms so that your elbows are facing forward and the upper part of your upper arm is parallel to the ground. Keep your fingers under the barbell. You should keep your palms open.
- Lift your chest without bending your spine, and push your head back so the barbell doesn’t touch your neck when you do this. The upper chest and front of the shoulders should be where the barbell rests, while the barbell is held up by your fingers.
- Remove the barbell from the rack and take a few steps backward to start again. With your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and your knees bent slightly, you should stand tall. Your shoulders should be level with your hips and your head and neck should be in the same place. As you move, your chin should stay tucked in, as if you were holding an egg under your chin.
- The best way to stay stable is to spread your weight evenly and grip the floor with your feet. Your shoulders and hips should be in a tight position while you work your core. All of the repetitions should start from this place.
- Bend your hips, knees, and ankles to start the downward movement. Keep your chest up, elbows high, and spine straight. Your legs should be level with the ground when you lower. It’s best to only lower yourself as far as you can keep your pelvis at the same level. Pause when you are at the bottom of the squat.
- The first thing you need to do is push your legs into the ground to start standing up. Stand up by keeping your chest and elbows high, and squeeze your glutes. As you stand up, allow the knee to straighten and the hips to move forward. Squeeze your glutes and quadriceps as you finish the movement, but keep your spine straight. When you do this, your shoulders should be level with your hips. It’s like you’re trying not to spill any water from your pelvis.
Benefits Of Front Squat
This exercise is good for your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hips. There are also muscles called erector spinae and rectus abdominis that are worked by this exercise. The rectus abdominis isn’t working as much as the other muscles.
If you want to build up your quad strength, the front barbell squat is better than the back barbell squat. By keeping the weight forward, you don’t have to use your hamstrings as much, which makes your quads do more work.
Strength can be built with squats in general, and healthy, young adults who do them can be better at sports, too. They have also been shown to help older people who are trying to keep their physical function and lung capacity.
Some experts say that if you want to improve your performance, you might not want to do this exercise on a Smith machine. People who use this machine can’t get the benefits of stabilizing their bodies in all three planes of movement. The barbell is kept in a straight vertical line between two metal rails on this machine.
Mistakes Of Front Squat
Dropping Elbows Down
If your wrists aren’t flexible, keeping your elbows raised may be difficult. However, if you squat with your elbows down, you risk the bar moving forward and off your chest, which can be dangerous.
You can change your grip in addition to practicing wrist flexibility exercises. Use a bodybuilder grip or two fingers instead of four under the bar. Another approach is to spread the hands on the bar slightly wider to allow the elbows more freedom and relieve wrist tightness.
Wearing wicking fibers, polyester fabrics, or other gleaming or slick training clothing may also make it difficult to keep the bar on your chest safely. Cotton is a popular choice. When learning the barbell front squat, some exercisers wear two shirts to provide a little extra padding on the upper chest and shoulders.
Using the Wrong Grip
It’s easy to think that the grip used by your gym buddies is the proper grip for you if you work out in a gym. Personalization, on the other hand, is critical for this task.
Use the grip that is most comfortable for you to maintain your elbows up and your chest high. In the end, keeping the barbell in position while squatting is considerably more crucial than using the same grip as everyone else in the gym.
Knees Rolling In
To keep your knees safe, you must put your feet and toes correctly. Everyone’s feet will be somewhat wider than a standard squat, but not so wide that the knees roll in as you lower down.
Before you begin, double-check your stance without any weight. Lower your body into a squat by placing your feet in what seems like a comfortable position. They’re too wide if the knees fall in naturally.
The hips are merely lowered to roughly knee level in a typical squat, which requires less hip and ankle flexibility. The barbell front squat necessitates a much deeper squat, which some may find challenging.
You won’t get the full range of advantages from this squat variant unless you complete it all the way through. To increase flexibility, begin by practicing the action without weight. Add weight to the bar once you’re ready.
Bouncing at the Bottom
Slow and steady is the way to go with this exercise. You’re either going too fast or not applying enough weight if you find yourself bouncing at the bottom of the move. First, try to go slowly. Increase the weight you’re using if this feels too simple.
Front Squat Variations
You can utilize a bodybuilder grip instead of a traditional grip if your wrists and triceps aren’t flexible enough for traditional hand placement. Thumbs are underneath the bar and fingers are on top in this grip. This stance should allow you to keep your elbows lifted and your chest erect while squatting while retaining control of the bar.
Advanced weight lifters frequently utilize straps to improve their grasp on the barbell and do the exercise with less flexibility. Straps go around the bar so you can still raise it and keep your elbows up, but your wrists will be facing in, toward your midline.
However, when the weight increases, the straps may become more difficult to utilize. If you choose the strap option, you should also work on wrist flexibility so you can eventually employ a standard or bodybuilder grip.
Without the Rack
Without a squat rack or power rack, you can do a front barbell squat. However, you must first elevate the bar and position it across your upper chest and shoulders.
A front barbell squat and a power clean are effectively combined in this exercise. Because there is no room for a safety bar without a rack, it should be attempted only by advanced exercisers. Before adding extra resistance, start with a small weight.