How to Perform a Proper Front Squat

Page:  1 Next »

Today Tabata Times brings you Part 1 of a 3-part series this week on an essential strength training movement: the front squat.
It can make you feel as though the tendons and ligaments in your wrist are about to tear clean off, and the ensuing aching of the knees certainly doesn’t help make it a favorite among many lifters. However, it is one of the essential lifts that promote both strength and flexibility while conditioning the entire body/chain. If you’re a functional fitness aficionado, this is definitely a good thing. Of course, I’m talking about the highly enjoyable front squat.

The degree to which just a few horizontal inches in difference of bar placement can change the entire mechanics/dynamics of the squat is astounding. To most, this very difference hinders strength, thus cultivating an aversion to practicing the front squat regularly. This aversion is the very thing that could be the missing piece to many strength-training programs.

What is a front squat?

As defined by, the front squat is a variant of the standard barbell back squat. It requires the barbell to be stabilized across the clavicles and anterior deltoids in a clean grip, front rack position with the arms (anatomically; not including the forearms) parallel to the floor, which is the standard. An alternative position allows the arms to be crossed with hands over the bar with the palms facing down. However, this option is often not recommended for safety reasons. As stated here by, the crossed arm position provides less barbell stability (more on this later).

How to perform a proper front squat

Step 1: Set-up

Start with the loaded (or empty) barbell on a squat rack. Make sure that the bar is racked about an inch or two below the clavicles while in a full standing position. This ensures both an aggressive primer for the kinetic chain when un-racking the barbell as well as an easy and safe re-racking of the barbell once the set is finished.

Step 2: Hand position

Choose a hand position on the barbell close to or mirroring the grip you use for a press or a clean. Do not fully grip the bar, but rather just hook the fingers around the bar.

Step 3: Placement

Meet the bar and place it above the clavicles while rotating your elbows upward to create as much of a horizontal angle with your arms. This creates the “shelf” across the clavicles and anterior deltoids. (This is similar to the front rack receiving position for a clean or power clean.)

Step 4: Un-rack

Un-rack the bar. Simple, right? Not so fast. This part of the lift tends to be overlooked due to its seemingly miniscule importance by many novice lifters and can negatively affect future lifts that are bound to get heavier. Here is an excerpt from an article written by Dave Kirschen for EliteFTS explaining why this matters:

Think of the unrack as a mini-repetition in preparation for the big attempt. If you unrack the bar using the same technique you need to squat the weight, you will start the lift in a good position almost every time. If you make mistakes unracking the weight, you will almost certainly have problems during the lift.

So, take a deep breath, tighten that midsection, and un-rack that bar with the same aggression and intensity you plan on putting into the set.

Page 1 2 Next »
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

Paradiso CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Hollywood posted on Facebook

Tuesday, Oct. 28th WOD: A Trio of Squats. Every other minute on the minute for load: OHS 5-5-5 FS 3-3-3 BS 1-1-1 Score = Max load for OHS, FS, and BS

Trojan CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Feeling a little chipper on Monday!

Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski published the post How to Break Up with Your Box on Tabata Times
So your back squat hasn’t PR’d squat in six months. The CrossFit box owner is bedroom WOD’ing...
Paradiso CrossFit posted an article
Paradiso CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit 323 shared an image on Facebook

HALLOWOD 2014: The Costumed Crusaders. #hallowod323

Trojan CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit North Pasadena posted an article
CrossFit Carpinteria posted on Facebook

Hi All I need to cancel the 6:30am class tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience. My apologies! Kevin

CrossFit Merge posted an article
Vault CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Monday, October 27 STRENGTH Deadlift: 5x40%, 5x40%, 5x50%, 5x50%, 5x60%, 5x60% (of your 90%) WOD 7:00 AMRAP 2 Manmaker (40/25) 2 Toes to Bar 4, 4, 8, 8, 16, 16, etc. Rest 3:00 For Time: 1 mile run -

Vault CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Dallas posted on Facebook

Monday (All gyms) Nutrition Challenge Tester (1) 3RM strict press + burpees in 10 minutes: With a 10 minute countdown timer, and starting with an empty barbell, use the first 8 minutes to complete as heavy as a 3RM strict press as possible, and the last two minutes to complete as many burps as possible. You must cease pressing and begin burpees at exact 8 minutes. Burpee score plus kilo score gives total. Example - athlete builds to 60kg x 3 reps, and has 3 minutes remaining to score max burpees of 35 reps. Score is 60+35 = 95 total points 10 minute break (2) For total reps; 4 min AMRAP row calories 3 min AMRAP box jumps - 24/20"" 2 min AMRAP Kb swings - 53/35lbs 1 min AMRAP wall-ball shots - 20/14 to 10"" Example: athlete rows 55 calories, box jumps 44 reps, does 33 Kb swings, and 22 wall ball shots, for a combined score of 154 points Total score for the entire test: 95 + 154 = 249 points

CrossFit Hollywood posted on Facebook

Monday, Oct. 27th WOD: Stop. It's Taggin' Time. Partner WOD of 10 rounds (5 rounds per person) for time: 10 HSPU 15 KBS 24/16kg 20 T2B

CrossFit Carpinteria posted on Facebook

WOD For Monday 10/27/14 1. Warm Up (200M, 1 Rd body, 1 Rd Barbell) 2. Test/Goal Work 3. With a 20 Min Running clock: WOD 1- 3 RFT Of: -200M Run -15 Thrusters (95,65) *Rest 2 Min 4. WOD 2- Until the 20 Min is up -5 Pull Ups -10 Push Ups -15 Squats

CrossFit High Voltage posted an article
CrossFit Carpinteria posted on Facebook

Hi CFC Members I hope you all had a great weekend! I am sorry I have been out a lot this week, caught the flu. I want to apologize about the floors spreading. We know the problem and had planned to fix it today but I actually started getting sick again this afternoon. We should get to it this week and take care of the problem. See you all soon, I will likely be out again tomorrow unless this crazy sickness passes. Have a great WOD! Kevin

CrossFit Central posted an article
District 7 CrossFit posted an article

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV