Exercise of the Week: Front Squats

Barbell Hip Thrusts are having a moment, check out my post here for a fun variation, but I think there are 3 main movement categories for a well-rounded (pun intended) lower body.

  1. Hip Hinge
  2. Squat
  3. Single Leg

I posted here about barbell pause squats with the bar position on your back, so today we’re bringing that bar position to the front and letting you know all the benefits that brings.

The Set Up

If you reach both your arms out in front of you, Frankenstein, and then cross your arms to put your hands on your shoulders, Macarena, you are now touching your “delt shelf”. This is where the barbell will rest. It takes time for this to get comfortable, but don’t give up because it’s worth it.

If you don’t have good wrist mobility this Frankenstein-Macarena position (also known as cross grip) with the barbell will be your starting point.

If you do have good wrist mobility then you can attempt the position that my hands are in, shown in the video. Your hands will be slightly holding onto the bar just outside your shoulders, but majority of the bar weight is still on your delt shelf.

The biggest offense I see from people is craning their neck up and looking at the ceiling because it’s uncomfortable to have the barbell so close to your throat. Keep your chin tucked and give yourself time to get used to this new position.

The Movement

Once you’ve got the bar on your delt shelf and your hands in either the cross grip or regular position, you’ll unrack the bar and step back into your regular squat stance.

One main difference between a front squat and a back squat is your torso position. You’re going to stay much more upright in a front squat. The benefit of this is you will be challenging your core much more.

As you descend into the squat, keep your torso upright and focus on keeping your upper arm parallel to the ground (think “elbows up”). This should be somewhat intuitive because if you let your elbows drop down you risk the bar rolling forward off your delt shelf and onto your upper arm (quite uncomfortable).

Push through your heels to come back to the standing position, squeezing your glutes.

That’s it!

Are you going to give these a try? Start with a pcp pipe or wooden stick to practice the form, then move to a barbell and slowly increase the weight as you gain confidence with the movement.

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