How and Why to Do a Front Squat

How and Why to Do a Front Squat

📅April 16th, 2015, 12:09

Spending time in the gym is beneficial for all athletes, no matter what your final goal is. We talked about why strength training is valuable for endurance athletes earlier this week on our blog, so naturally this week’s performance training tip takes it to the gym with how to do a front squat and why it’s a beneficial part of your workout routine!

How to do a Front Squat:

To set up, grasp barbell from rack or clean barbell from floor with overhand open grip, slightly wider than shoulder width. Position the barbell chest high with back arched. Place bar in front of shoulders with elbows placed forward as high as possible and finger under bar to each side With heels hip width or slightly wider, position feet outward at approximately 45°.

To execute, descend until knees and hips are fully bent or until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Knees travel outward in direction of toes. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight.

Check out our demo video above for an example. Since proper form is essential when it comes to staying safe while performing Olympic lifts, start with very light weight – either an unweighted bar or dowel rod until you feel comfortable with the motion. Perfecting the air squat is a great progression for anyone interested in adding squats – of any kind – to their strength training routine. Beginners may find that working with a coach or personal trainer will allow them to feel more comfortable as it ensures proper technique and form is being used from the beginning!

Why to do a Front Squat:

Posture –

Front squatting recruits the muscles of the upper back and forces thoracic extension in order to hold the bar on the shoulders; therefore, it can help prevent kyphosis in the thoracic spine if elbows are kept as high as possible throughout the movement.

Strength –

The front squat builds strength in the quadriceps, calves, and glutes. This lift also requires more mid-line stability, so starting your strength training program with core and balance before progressing to more advanced lifts is always wise, and helps strengthen hips and spinal erector muscles.

Flexibility –

Practicing the front squat will help develop great flexibility! If you haven’t front squatted before, you might even identify some tight areas while trying it for the first time. While in the bottom position of the front squat, the ankles, shoulders, wrists and hips will be pushed to their mobility limits, which is not always the case with a back squat as lifters will often cut the squat short.

Safety –

The very nature of the front squat requires the load to be place on the front of the body, resting on the shoulders, which means any forward torso lean and the bar will fall to the floor. This upright torso places less of a shear force on the spine and therefore makes it a better option for those with back issues.