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  1. #1
    Resident Malteser. xuerebx's Avatar
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    Front Squats form

    I've recently added front squats to my routine, and I must say they really hit the legs well. I make sure to go deep on this exercise (whilst although I aim for an ATG back squat, video evidence shows that I actually only go a bit lower than parallel). Anyway, I started with really low weight (44lbs) just to get the feel. This was about a month ago.

    I tried 88lbs yesterday, which is still light, and very easy for me in terms of leg strength - BUT, I found it difficult to hold the bar. I use a crossed arm position.

    I've read the stickies and I went on exrx:



    The front squat is an outstanding variation of the squat, except that it is performed with the barbell resting across the FRONT of the shoulders, in front of the neck. It is a variation which will maximally stress the quadriceps, but can be very difficult to perform from a mechanical perspective.
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...rontSquat.html

    However, I'd like some video which focuses on the hand/arm position for this exercise. I try to position it on my delts and below my throat and over my upperchest. I woke up with 2 bruises on my shoulder this morning where the bar rested.

    I tried watching some videos on youtube but they don't focus on how to correctly position your arms crossed. I'd like some tips about this.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by xuerebx; 06-03-2011 at 06:52 AM.
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  2. #2
    Under Construction unity's Avatar
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    if you got bruises on your shoulders, you probably did it right. in time, the bruising may stop though.

    i prefer the clean position, but either way, it's important to keep your elbows up throughout the entire movement, and this will ensure that the bar stays on your shoulders. most people feel pressure on their neck from that bar. keeping your torso upright will also keep the bar on the shoulders.
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  3. #3
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    I essentially rest it over my front delts and the bar will be touching my neck/adam's apple.
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    It is uncomfortable at first but you get used to it pretty quick.

    Here's a nice video of Rippetoe teaching the front squat: http://startingstrength.com/index.ph...he_front_squat

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    Resident Malteser. xuerebx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by unity View Post
    if you got bruises on your shoulders, you probably did it right. in time, the bruising may stop though.

    i prefer the clean position, but either way, it's important to keep your elbows up throughout the entire movement, and this will ensure that the bar stays on your shoulders. most people feel pressure on their neck from that bar. keeping your torso upright will also keep the bar on the shoulders.
    Yeah I tried to keep my elbows as high as possible, although I felt this put a bit of strain on my arms.

    Originally Posted by phal View Post
    I essentially rest it over my front delts and the bar will be touching my neck/adam's apple.
    Yes, that's what I basically did. It was a bit lower than my adam's apple.

    Originally Posted by matjusm View Post
    It is uncomfortable at first but you get used to it pretty quick.

    Here's a nice video of Rippetoe teaching the front squat: http://startingstrength.com/index.ph...he_front_squat

    And can't go wrong with the Squat RX series:
    I can handle a light weight pretty easily, but once I put on 44 more pounds it proved to be a bit difficult, even though when it comes to back squats I can squat much more.

    Thank you for the link, I'll take a look.
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  6. #6
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    Just out of curiosity, OP, how many reps do you do per set? I ask because in my case, the bar tends to slip from the groove quite easily, so I rarely do more than eight reps (usually in the five to eight range). I also use a clean position; I could never get the hang of the crossed-arm way of doing it.
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  7. #7
    Resident Malteser. xuerebx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GuyJin View Post
    Just out of curiosity, OP, how many reps do you do per set? I ask because in my case, the bar tends to slip from the groove quite easily, so I rarely do more than eight reps (usually in the five to eight range). I also use a clean position; I could never get the hang of the crossed-arm way of doing it.
    I alternate reps weekly. This was my routine the past 3 weeks:

    44lbs: 3 sets of 15-20reps
    66lbs: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
    88lbs: 5 sets of 4-6 reps

    I find higher reps with a lower weight easier than higher weight and lower reps - in the case for legs. For the upperbody I prefer a lower rep range.

    EDIT: I never tried the clean position. I tried the crossed arm position the first time and kept with it. Is it safer?
    Last edited by xuerebx; 06-03-2011 at 06:42 AM.
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  8. #8
    Registered User GuyJin's Avatar
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    It comes down to which position feels better for you. I tried doing the crossed-arm position but could never stop the bar from slipping out. For me, the clean position is better. It does have the potential to strain the wrists more due to them being bent back, but with proper stretching and wrapping my wrists, I've had no problems. Experiment if you want to, but ultimately, the choice is yours.
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  9. #9
    Resident Malteser. xuerebx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GuyJin View Post
    It comes down to which position feels better for you. I tried doing the crossed-arm position but could never stop the bar from slipping out. For me, the clean position is better. It does have the potential to strain the wrists more due to them being bent back, but with proper stretching and wrapping my wrists, I've had no problems. Experiment if you want to, but ultimately, the choice is yours.
    I started out with a cross armed position because of the reason you mentioned - strain on the wrist. Although I guess with some good stretching that could be avoided. I've started doing some stretches for the legs lately:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIxfZd2eSFY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0uwEPzVsqk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?index=8...F33D90038D812B
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV5gMMxOwyY

    In that order (with another stretch which youtube decided to remove).
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  10. #10
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    Bruises on delts=you're doing it correctly.
    Continue to hold it in the exact same place and your body will adapt and will not bruise in a week or two.

    But IMO you're going wayyyyyyyyyy too light. Theres no benefit to practicing form with 44lbs or even 88lbs if you can handle alot more weight (which I suspect you can). You need to practice holding the bar/form with a weight that actually requires effort.
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    i get bruises and stress marks on my back and shoulders everytime i front and back squat

    but i hate cross arm position

    i hold like i am at the ending postion for a clean

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  12. #12
    Resident Malteser. xuerebx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by scarboro View Post
    Bruises on delts=you're doing it correctly.
    Continue to hold it in the exact same place and your body will adapt and will not bruise in a week or two.

    But IMO you're going wayyyyyyyyyy too light. Theres no benefit to practicing form with 44lbs or even 88lbs if you can handle alot more weight (which I suspect you can). You need to practice holding the bar/form with a weight that actually requires effort.
    Well the difference between my back squat and front squat is not THAT big. I can back squat 187lbs (85Kg), but I certainly wouldn't able to front squat that amount. The only problem I'm having is having the bar resting on my delts. My arms feel week in this position.

    I actually created this thread because this morning I felt a bit of knee discomfort. I'm not feeling it anymore, in fact that discomfort passed away quickly, but I guess since I felt it it must have meant I did something wrong.

    I guess I need to give it a few more weeks till the front squat feeling becomes natural.

    EDIT: That deadlift of yours! IMPRESSIVE!

    Originally Posted by ftwrestler View Post
    i get bruises and stress marks on my back and shoulders everytime i front and back squat

    but i hate cross arm position

    i hold like i am at the ending postion for a clean

    Yeah this position is the same as the Rippetoes video I watched today, linked in this thread:

    http://startingstrength.com/index.ph...he_front_squat
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  13. #13
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    Mate, seriously ditch the cross arm. I tried to do it like that a year ago, hated it and didn't front squat until 3 weeks ago.

    The clean position will hurt and be unconfortable for the first few sessions, but after that, it just a bit of disconfort that you won't feel on the large scheeme of things. Will strengthen the wrists big time.

    I got up to 220x3 ATG in the first session. I think it takes a while until the form and core get strong enough for you to be able to really feel it in the legs when performing the exersise. I still spend most of my effort keeping vertical and therefore mostly feeling it in my abs during the motion.


    Also, a bonus is that my military press has gone up because of the front squat. The bar just doesn't seem heavy on the bottom position and my wrists are able to take the load a lot better. Try the clean position, seriously.
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    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    Mate, seriously ditch the cross arm. I tried to do it like that a year ago, hated it and didn't front squat until 3 weeks ago.

    The clean position will hurt and be unconfortable for the first few sessions, but after that, it just a bit of disconfort that you won't feel on the large scheeme of things. Will strengthen the wrists big time.

    I got up to 220x3 ATG in the first session. I think it takes a while until the form and core get strong enough for you to be able to really feel it in the legs when performing the exersise. I still spend most of my effort keeping vertical and therefore mostly feeling it in my abs during the motion.


    Also, a bonus is that my military press has gone up because of the front squat. The bar just doesn't seem heavy on the bottom position and my wrists are able to take the load a lot better. Try the clean position, seriously.
    Seeing as everyone seemingly does it in the clean position, yourself included, I'll have to try them out now.

    I assume the wrists must be kept straight throughout the whole motion, otherwise - ouch.
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    Originally Posted by xuerebx View Post
    I actually created this thread because this morning I felt a bit of knee discomfort. I'm not feeling it anymore, in fact that discomfort passed away quickly, but I guess since I felt it it must have meant I did something wrong.
    well, it may have been beneficial if you had mentioned that originally, lol.

    front squats emphasize the quads better than back squats, so they can cause some tightness in the knee. i have found that stretching after my workout, or even between sets is helpful. also massaging around the knee area works great for me. i am sure foam rolling would do wonders, but i have not tried it.
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    I've been doing stretches lately, 2-3 times a week. I'll try and focus more on my quads and knees during stretching.

    Yeah I forgot to mention it in my first post!
    "Pain is temporary. It my last for a minute, an hour, or a day. Or even a year. But eventually - it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever."

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    Bumping this thread with results....

    Clean grip is definitely better! I managed to perfect the grip so I only felt pressure on my shoulder instead on my wrist. Took me 2 sets to get there. Light weight still though, 66lbs since I went up to 15 reps. I'll try upping it to 110lbs during the next 2 weeks.

    My new 1RM for back squats is 205lbs...so there's a bit of a difference. Hopefully I can get it within respectable difference between front and back squats in the coming months.

    Cheers for the advice guys, it paid off!
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    Resident Malteser. xuerebx's Avatar
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    I'll ask this here instead of creating a new thread.

    My wrist still hurts when I front squat using a clean grip. Also, my arms are not perpendicular to the floor when front squatting. I try to keep my elbows up (hence getting closer to perpendicular) but it's nearly impossible for me (it gets very painful and I start leaning back).

    Isn't the wrist pain bad for the wrists due to the position? I'm just a bit wary. And should the arms be perpendicular to the floor, or just high enough as much as your body allows whilst maintaining good form throughout the motion?

    Thank you.
    "Pain is temporary. It my last for a minute, an hour, or a day. Or even a year. But eventually - it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever."

    "But it ain't about how hard you can hit - it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!"

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    spell of iron de_barathrum's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xuerebx View Post
    I'll ask this here instead of creating a new thread.

    My wrist still hurts when I front squat using a clean grip. Also, my arms are not perpendicular to the floor when front squatting. I try to keep my elbows up (hence getting closer to perpendicular) but it's nearly impossible for me (it gets very painful and I start leaning back).

    Isn't the wrist pain bad for the wrists due to the position? I'm just a bit wary. And should the arms be perpendicular to the floor, or just high enough as much as your body allows whilst maintaining good form throughout the motion?

    Thank you.
    clean grip is a bitch to get used to but its still better than cross arm anyday. for me i just try to remember elbows up, chest out and maintain that position throughout the whole lift.

    to get used to clean grip try and work your way into the grip one hand at a time a few times everytime you work out. this will get you used to the position and help develop wrist flexlibility quicker.

    oh, and honestly, i only have 3 fingers on the bar for my clean grip. thats really all you need to keep it in position.
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    That's a thing? Farley1324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xuerebx View Post
    I'll ask this here instead of creating a new thread.

    My wrist still hurts when I front squat using a clean grip. Also, my arms are not perpendicular to the floor when front squatting. I try to keep my elbows up (hence getting closer to perpendicular) but it's nearly impossible for me (it gets very painful and I start leaning back).

    Isn't the wrist pain bad for the wrists due to the position? I'm just a bit wary. And should the arms be perpendicular to the floor, or just high enough as much as your body allows whilst maintaining good form throughout the motion?

    Thank you.
    How could they be? Are you saying that your humorous (upper arm) is not parallel to the floor?

    If your wrists hurt it is probably because you are pushing up with your arms and applying force on your wrists
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    Originally Posted by de_barathrum View Post
    clean grip is a bitch to get used to but its still better than cross arm anyday. for me i just try to remember elbows up, chest out and maintain that position throughout the whole lift.

    to get used to clean grip try and work your way into the grip one hand at a time a few times everytime you work out. this will get you used to the position and help develop wrist flexlibility quicker.

    oh, and honestly, i only have 3 fingers on the bar for my clean grip. thats really all you need to keep it in position.
    I guess I do need to improve my wrist flexibility. My flexibility in general is atrocious!

    Originally Posted by Farley1324 View Post
    How could they be? Are you saying that your humorous (upper arm) is not parallel to the floor?

    If your wrists hurt it is probably because you are pushing up with your arms and applying force on your wrists
    Yeah, that's what I meant. I thought they should be straight?

    Kinda like this:

    "Pain is temporary. It my last for a minute, an hour, or a day. Or even a year. But eventually - it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever."

    "But it ain't about how hard you can hit - it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!"

    "Get up, and don't ever give up".
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    Originally Posted by xuerebx View Post
    I guess I do need to improve my wrist flexibility. My flexibility in general is atrocious!



    Yeah, that's what I meant. I thought they should be straight?

    Kinda like this:

    [img]http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/exerciseImages/sequences/688/Male/l/688_4.jpg[img]
    I suppose, but his hands look pretty far out to the side to me.

    Mine stay pretty close to parallel with the ground.
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    Originally Posted by xuerebx View Post
    I'll ask this here instead of creating a new thread.

    My wrist still hurts when I front squat using a clean grip. Also, my arms are not perpendicular to the floor when front squatting. I try to keep my elbows up (hence getting closer to perpendicular) but it's nearly impossible for me (it gets very painful and I start leaning back).

    Isn't the wrist pain bad for the wrists due to the position? I'm just a bit wary. And should the arms be perpendicular to the floor, or just high enough as much as your body allows whilst maintaining good form throughout the motion?

    Thank you.
    The clean grip takes a little bit of getting used to BUT, once you get used to it, it's not that bad.
    Also the guy in the picture (above in the thread) looks like he is holding the bar with all 5 fingers. I find that holding the bar that way burns my wrists up. However if I hold the bar with only my index and middle finger while it rests on my front delts it is alot more comfortable on my wrists. And it is alot easier to keep the bar up (triceps parallel to the floor). Nothing wrong with keeping the weight low until you get the form down. Once you get the form down and you're not worrying about it form or discomfort, it's easier to increase weight.

    Like in the top half of this picture (below):
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    I'll try the two finger method (hah) then, thank you. Thank you all for the replies.
    "Pain is temporary. It my last for a minute, an hour, or a day. Or even a year. But eventually - it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever."

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    Try Zercher squats and use the thin pad.
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