T Nation

2 Questions: Front Squats, Arm Length

As of yet, I’m a 110 pound small-person at some university.

The gym here has no squat rack/stands, which makes the squat a difficult exercise to do. I’ve just been doing front squats as a “substitute.” Can this be an effective substitute?

One of my arms appears to be one (or more) inches longer than the other. Should I perform deadlifts/cleans/etc any differently?

Nothing wrong with front squats at all. They hit the quads more than back squats, and you won’t be neglecting anything if you do deadlifts along with them.

I’m not aware of anything you should do different because of a difference in arm lengths. As long as it doesn’t become a pain or muscle imbalance issue, don’t worry about it. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it being an issue.

Front squats are great, but without a squat rack you’re going to have trouble using very heavy weight safely. I’d look for a new gym.

Do all the exercises with standard form. If you start to see issues with arm length, cross that bridge when you get there.

Looking for a new gym from inside a somewhat isolated university will be a bit difficult.

I know there is exactly one other gym out there, but it looks like it’s all machines.

And. Uh. “Cross the bridge?”

Figure of speech. Meaning solve problems as they present themselves. As of now the arm length is not a problem. You haven’t any injuries. It’s not a barrier to your goals. IF it becomes a barrier some day, at that point you should worry about it. Not now.

You’ll have to get creative. Talk to the people in charge of the facilities. See if a power rack can be put in the budget for new equipment. Maybe you can use the facilities that the athletes use if you volunteer to collect towels or something. Take a welding class and make one yourself.

To get strong, you’re going to have to lift things that are maximal efforts. You won’t be able to get a bar to shoulders and back down without a rack.

You could also hack squat.

Yeah, I already sent off an email asking about new equipment.

It’s a new university, so it’s actually pretty likely that something can be done.

Time to look into the hack squat.

Just clean and front squat until you cant progress on that anymore. They should keep you busy for at least 6 months. You should be able to clean what you can front squat for a trippe, so if you do sets of 5 reps, you will be fine I think.

Make sure you start deadlifting too. Arms shouldn’t cause a problem, just work with your flexibility.


Thanks for the advice.

Fronts squats, I find them to be more of a scorcher than regular squats. When I don’t have racks I just military press the weight over my back for a regular back squat. I just can’t go over 135lbs.