The front squat differs from the back squat due to the barbell placement in the front rack position. By doing so, the load is displaced in front of you, requiring a stronger upper back and quadriceps to maintain an upright torso and positioning.
The front squat strengths the,
- Upper Back
- Keep the toes pointed slightly outwards, and make sure knees track in the direction the toes point
- Keep the chest up proud
- Elbows high at all times
- Hinge from the hips, and let the glutes fire to come back up
- Press through the full foot, keeping the heel on the ground
- Breathe deep on the eccentric, and hold full of air at the bottom to increase intra-abdominal pressure
Setting up the rack: First thing you need to check that the safety hooks are a good height. You shouldn’t ever have to tiptoe the bar out of the rack. This is a common mistake people often make. You also don’t want it too low that you waste too much energy when you unrack the bar. A good starting point is to have the hooks set so the bar is level with your sternum.
There are three different grips you can
Clean grip: The bar is placed on the front delts and the elbows forward and up. This can be tough for lifters with longer arms, poor flexibility, or a lot of upper body muscle mass.
Cross armed grip: The bar is placed on the front delts and the arms are crossed to hold it in place.
Using straps: This makes it easier for lifters with a large amount of muscle mass, long-armed lifters, and those with poor flexibility or previous injuries. It's also less stressful on your elbows.
Whichever grip you use, you want to keep your elbows high the whole time.
Foot stance and angle the toes point out: How wide people’s stance is will vary depending on individual anatomy and their mobility. You’ll need to use trial and error to find your best stance. A good starting point is to have your heels at shoulder-width apart and slightly pointing out. See how that’s feels. You can then try it an inch or two wider, and an inch or two narrower. Try with the toes pointing out and driving the knees out, and try with the feet pointing straight ahead. See how comfortable and how deep you can squat with each stance.
Bracing and getting tight: Take a deep, diaphragmatic breath. Brace like you’re going to take a punch to the stomach. These both need to be held for the whole rep. Take a breath at the top of the rep when you need to.
Walking the bar out of the rack: Start with your feet the width you plan to squat with. Start your hips a bit behind the bar, take a deep breath into your stomach, tense your abs, and get your hips under the bar and squat the weight up out of the hooks. Be aggressive when unracking the bar. Once you unrack the bar, wait for a second and let the weights settle. Take a small step back with one foot, then a little step back with your second foot, and then a third step if an adjustment is needed. You want the walkout to be as efficient as possible so that you waste minimal energy. You shouldn’t ever need more than three steps to walk out.
Keep your elbows up.
You need to ensure you have your weight evenly distributed across your big toe, your little toe, and your heel. Next, you need to create tension in your hips. With your feet planted into the floor try and rotate your hips outwards. Do this by imagining trying to touch your heels together and move more toes towards a wall either side without actually moving your feet.
Squatting: Make sure you're braced and taken a diaphragmatic breath. Hold this for the whole rep.
Keep your chest and elbows up to keep your torso upright.
Squat straight down and don't push your hips back.
The front squat uses a more upright torso compared to the back squat.
Your hips and shoulders should come up at the same speed. This will keep your back angle the same throughout the lift.
Low elbows: You need to keep your elbows up high throughout the rep. Don't let them drop low as this causes the barbell to roll forward and eventually to the ground.
Rounding the upper back and leaning forward: With the front squat, you want to keep your torso upright. These can be caused by low elbows which will then pull the body forward. You might also be pushing your hips back instead of sitting straight down.