When I first learned the front squat on the barbell back in 2009 I thought “I’m not flexible enough”
I feel like this is probably the most painful thing I have experienced on my wrist.
My friend Randy was teaching me how to front squat. He had gotten into strongman/power lifting after
retiring from Navy Seals.
Since he had already been through special operations training he was taking
me under his wing and training me and teaching me.
Pretty awesome as I reflect back on this that I was able to get exposed to elite training at 18.
In today’s blog I’m going to cover:
- how to do front squat with barbell
- front squat form/faults
- mobility needed to get into a good front squat position
Check out the strength training program.
How To Do Front Squat With Barbell & Master The Form
I coach driven athletes who want to improve their performance at ksquaredfitness.com on a daily basis.
Over the years I have come up with a few things that athletes must be able to do FIRST before getting
- have adequate mobility
- master the technique and mechanics (how to)
- then strength last
Check out the video below to learn how to front squat:
I pointed out several things in the video:
- screwing your feet into the floor
- getting into a solid front rack position (more on that later)
- how to activate your core so your back doesn’t arch
Front Rack Mobility For Front Squat
The first thing as I mentioned that I do with all my athletes is to make sure the mobility is there first.
Before I dive deeper I’ll mention to you that I have a free 3 day mobility workshop.
Often times these are things that I hear:
“This kills my wrist”every person first learning to front squat
Let’s address that.
Your wrist getting pulled when trying to front squat on the barbell is definitely not fun.
Below I’ll talk about what you should do when you see front squats in your workout so that you don’t
immediately cringe thinking you are going to destroy your wrist.
What To Do When Front Squats Are In Your Workout
Your warm up and mobility work should reflect what is to come later in your workout.
If you will be doing front squats or thrusters you will want to:
- Get into a nice upright position by getting your t spine to move (video shows 6 mobility drills)
- Have your hips and ankles moving well
- And loosen up your lats like the video below
Doing this stretch before your workouts will also SAVE your shoulders as it’s the best stretch for your
lats on the planet.
I’ll encourage you to try and get into a front rack position first.
Then do this stretch.
Then retest and see if you can get into a better position.
That’s what you should do with anything thing actually. Test. Retest. Evaluate next steps based off of whether you saw change or not.
Front Squat Alternative
If you are looking for a front squat alternative I’m curious is it because you can’t get into a good position
or you are just wanting to strengthen your legs and core?
–> Drop your reason why down in the comments below.
I’m a big believer in every athlete doing exercise that is best suited for them.
It’s why every exercise in our fitness app has a “harder” or “easier” button associated with it.
See the image below for what I’m talking about.
I created this because I know that following generic fitness programming is frustrating.
I wanted to create a program that was as much like personal training as possible.
If you are local in Nashville, TN of course I would love to work with you personally but if you are following
online it’s difficult to get a custom program built for you.
Because if you haven’t mastered the Front Squat and that is in the program simply click easier and I will
give you the progression prior to the front squat.
How To Progress To Barbell Front Squats
In order to have a good front squat what do we need to have?
- A solid bodyweight squat.
- A beautiful goblet squat
- A strong core that supports a double kettlebell squat like this:
The double kb front squat is a great exercise because it challenges you to be strong in your midline.
You can start to load up a good amount of weight but still work on keeping positioning before moving
to the barbell front squat.
Some other Front Squat Alternatives
The front squat itself is extremely demanding on your core and quads.
Two things that I love to train.
I’m also a huge believer that just doing compound lifts:
- back squats vs front squats
- bench press
- shoulder press
Is just one part of good programming.
In fact the more I focus on my core strength and unilateral exercises (one leg or one arm) the stronger I
would get and also my injuries would go down.
Compound lifts like the ones I mentioned require a lot of things to “activated” or work properly and to be
…for most of us we are compensating somewhere.
Doing exercise like these one below are a great way to help activate muscles and improve muscle
Check them out:
To front squat with a barbell it takes a lot of mobility in your t spine, lats, hips, and ankles!
We talked about how to get the pain out of your wrist and get that barbell stacked on your shoulders
with the proper front squat grip.
I gave you some alternatives to front squats: goblet squat, double kb squat, and bulgarian split squats
are all great alternatives.
Check our our strength training program if you want to take all the guesswork out.
Comment below with what your greatest take away was and if you found this helpful!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are barbell front squats good?
Heck yes. But that can suck if you don't have good mobility. That's what I love about the front squat. It's a lift that demands a lot out of you. Makes you work on your mobility, positioning and has a lot of carry over to things like power cleans, thrusters, push presses and more.
What does barbell front squat work?
Front squats put a ton of demand on your core and quads. The demands of the upright torso that is needed really challenges your core. And since the barbell angle is more vertical than the back squat vs front squat it challenged your quads a lot more.
Barbell front squats kill my wrist. What do I do?
Reference the stretches I talked about above. You aren't the only one. It used to hurt my wrist too. But if you can free up some mobility in your lats, triceps, t spine extension, and external rotation I'm confident you can get into a better front rack position.
Back squats vs front squats
Back squats are the king of all exercises right? Well. Sure. But front squats really challenge you in a different way. For instance having a solid front squat will carry over to power cleans really well. In the sport of fitness we use back squats to get our strength numbers up and the front squat to improve our positioning for olympic lifting.
Any other questions leave them in the comments below and I'm happy to help.
Be sure to comment below with:
- any additional questions
- your biggest take aways
Do us a favor and share with a friend who would benefit from this!