T Nation

Forward Lean On Front Squat?


There’s been a lot of talk lately about incorporating front squats because some find them easier on their backs compared to back squats.

The problem is that my front squat looks like CW’s in the picture attached. (Note to fanboys: this is NOT a knock on CW!) Granted it could just be a bad picture of him.

Because they require me to lean forward so much I ditched them.

I’d like to eventually give them another try, but not if it means that my form is going to look like a back squat. It really defeats the purpose of the exercise for me.

Anyways, who here has had this problem and overcome it. If so, how.

And if you have a picture or vid of yourself performing them, I’d love to see your form.

Strengthen your abs and your glutes. Your abs will keep you upright, and your glutes will push you up out of the hole.

You bend over forward when your lower back and hamstrings try to take over the movement.

Get your upper arms parallel to the ground, or just focus on getting your elbows as high as possible.


A more vertical front squat. Most likely easier on the back than the previous picture.

Due to anthropometrics this is not a possible position for everyone to attain. Just as there is variance in torso lean with a back squat and deadlift there is variance with a front squat as well. The main problem is that with a long femur, much of the squat is done with too much weight back over the heels, more than the knees coming forward can even out.

The only way most taller people can front squat while keeping their torso erect is to sink all the way down in the ATG position because once you are that low your center of gravity starts to come back forward. The problem with this is most people do this by creating slack with their hamstrings and they are basically just sitting back with their weight on their knees.

If Im not mistaken this is an incorrect position…

Gunslinger has it right. The same rules apply for a FS as do for a BS. Keep your abs tight, and drive out of the hole. You will lean forward some, but it depends on specific muscular strength and your levers, just like with a back squat.

Here’s me doing 355, and you’ll notice I drift back a little bit about parallel. This is an older video, and I have gotten stronger since, so I don’t drift as much now.

[video]207[/video]

My sticking point is about parallel, front or back squat, so I tend to move to where I am strongest. Also, as you add more weight, your weight distribution and center of gravity both change, meaning that your form will change.

What kind of grip do you use, and how far in do you hold the bar?

-folly

[quote]YourXLNS wrote:
There’s been a lot of talk lately about incorporating front squats because some find them easier on their backs compared to back squats.

The problem is that my front squat looks like CW’s in the picture attached. (Note to fanboys: this is NOT a knock on CW!) Granted it could just be a bad picture of him.

Because they require me to lean forward so much I ditched them.

I’d like to eventually give them another try, but not if it means that my form is going to look like a back squat. It really defeats the purpose of the exercise for me.

Anyways, who here has had this problem and overcome it. If so, how.

And if you have a picture or vid of yourself performing them, I’d love to see your form.[/quote]

Looks like the woman is wearing boots with an elevated heal.

Ive always wondered how you guys can stretch your hands back like that from the wrists. Ive tried that and man it hurts like a bitch, not to mention my wrists barely stretch back that far. Ive always had to do them resting the barbell on my front shoulders, while bending my arms at the elbow and crossing my arms.

I think the way most people do front squats makes more sense and is more stable, but i cant for the life of me stretch my wrists that far back.

and i have the same problem as the first poster, and said picture of chad. I tend to bend forward as well. perhaps it has something to do with the fact that im 6’1 like one poster mentioned.

[quote]folly wrote:
Gunslinger has it right. The same rules apply for a FS as do for a BS. Keep your abs tight, and drive out of the hole. You will lean forward some, but it depends on specific muscular strength and your levers, just like with a back squat.

Here’s me doing 355, and you’ll notice I drift back a little bit about parallel. This is an older video, and I have gotten stronger since, so I don’t drift as much now.

[video]207[/video]

My sticking point is about parallel, front or back squat, so I tend to move to where I am strongest. Also, as you add more weight, your weight distribution and center of gravity both change, meaning that your form will change.

What kind of grip do you use, and how far in do you hold the bar?

-folly

YourXLNS wrote:
There’s been a lot of talk lately about incorporating front squats because some find them easier on their backs compared to back squats.

The problem is that my front squat looks like CW’s in the picture attached. (Note to fanboys: this is NOT a knock on CW!) Granted it could just be a bad picture of him.

Because they require me to lean forward so much I ditched them.

I’d like to eventually give them another try, but not if it means that my form is going to look like a back squat. It really defeats the purpose of the exercise for me.

Anyways, who here has had this problem and overcome it. If so, how.

And if you have a picture or vid of yourself performing them, I’d love to see your form.

[/quote]

Nice front squat. But here is the problem. You are short. Even you had a bit of a lean and yes you say your stronger now but at a certain height front squats are not, not possible to do with a straight back. Just will not happen.

I had Mike Boyle for a class at Umass-Boston and he played a video one day of some asian NBA prospect front squatting. He could back squat pretty decent, but his front squat was just not happening and it didnt look like a matter of strength, it was a fucking train wreck, and while this guy was 6’10" it shows Chad is heading toward that end of the spectrum. Lets see some front squats of T-Nation guys 6’3" and up.

[quote]folly wrote:
Gunslinger has it right. The same rules apply for a FS as do for a BS. Keep your abs tight, and drive out of the hole. You will lean forward some, but it depends on specific muscular strength and your levers, just like with a back squat.

Here’s me doing 355, and you’ll notice I drift back a little bit about parallel. This is an older video, and I have gotten stronger since, so I don’t drift as much now.

[/quote]

What can you do without a belt?

Thanks. I guess I am short: I am 5’9". I did say that everyone is going to lean forward, but how much depends on your weight distribution and your levers. I did not say that it has to be done with a straight back. I know a 6’4" guy that front squats pretty well, and there are more than that running around here.

Saying that you can’t stay stock straight so you can’t front squat is bullshit. Everyone leans, and if you’re going to FS, you have to get your form down. That takes practice, and that means working with 135, or an empty bar, or with a broomstick, if that’s what it takes.

The girl in that picture is from www.stumptuous.com (a serious womens’ lifting site, by the way), and I bet she leans about parallel, too. You stay as upright as you can. That’s it.

Not everyone is going to be comfortable doing a front squat, and not everyone can get the form where you think is perfect. Some people lean forward on back squats farther than others, but you don’t see them quitting. People with long arms have a disadvantage in the bench press too, but I bet they don’t quit that either.

So either front squat or don’t. If you want to, and your form is broken, do what you do with any other exercise. Fix it.

-folly

[quote]Shadowzz4 wrote:
Nice front squat. But here is the problem. You are short. Even you had a bit of a lean and yes you say your stronger now but at a certain height front squats are not, not possible to do with a straight back. Just will not happen.

I had Mike Boyle for a class at Umass-Boston and he played a video one day of some asian NBA prospect front squatting. He could back squat pretty decent, but his front squat was just not happening and it didnt look like a matter of strength, it was a fucking train wreck, and while this guy was 6’10" it shows Chad is heading toward that end of the spectrum. Lets see some front squats of T-Nation guys 6’3" and up.

[/quote]

[quote]krayon wrote:
Looks like the woman is wearing boots with an elevated heal.[/quote]

Note this, it allows O-lifters to sit back more while staying vertical. Dan John has some good stuff about this.

I think anyone over 6’ can’t stay vertical in a front squat. If you sink down and do that, either you will fall over or your knees will kill you.

[quote]Raw Power wrote:
What can you do without a belt?[/quote]

I’ve done 295 for 3 without a belt. That was an ME lift, and above 85-90% I always belt up to help keep more pressure in my abs.

-folly

the first time i did front squats my wrists did not reach position…

then i tried again and i did get then in position, but the pain was horrible.

But the more i did them the less pain i felt… and now i feel absolutely no wrist pain.

Not saying you shouldnt front squat because of a forward lean. I just dont want midgets and dwarves taking credit for their 8inch ROM benches and straight backed front squats. Thats all.

I think sometimes flexibility around the ankle and hip can tip people forwards. Here’s a decent video of how to use ART on the calf and foot to improve flexibility and tissue quality. Its by the guy who came up with ART so its all good. Hope this helps.

And I am getting a little sick and tired of people using height as an excuse to discredit legit lifts by others.

Do shorter people have an advantage so to speak when it comes to ROM? Perhaps. Should you whine about it on an internet forum? Defintely not.

Look at it this way, you are taller so there is more room to add mass to your frame. Maybe a little more lifting and a little less whining and you would have something more to show for after 10 years of training.

A

[quote]Shadowzz4 wrote:
Not saying you shouldnt front squat because of a forward lean. I just dont want midgets and dwarves taking credit for their 8inch ROM benches and straight backed front squats. Thats all.[/quote]

Thanks, everyone.

You may want to take a look at your thoracic mobility. During my warm ups before front squatting I always mobilize the thoracic spine via foam rolling.

Also, between sets I stand with a broom stick behind my back in order to help with thoracic mobility as well. I got this little tip from Waterbury’s book.

And as always make sure that you stretch your hip flexors and activate your glutes during warm-up.

Hope that helps.

[quote]Shadowzz4 wrote:
Not saying you shouldnt front squat because of a forward lean. I just dont want midgets and dwarves taking credit for their 8inch ROM benches and straight backed front squats. Thats all.[/quote]

Wait. So since I am shorter than you, the 365 front squat I did yesterday doesn’t count?

I train the front squat specifically, not just as a secondary movement, and I started at 135 for sets of 3 over three years ago. I video my lifts, critique my own form, and ask others for the same critiques.

Forget that I outweigh you by almost 40 lbs and I am very probably several years older than you.

You’re taller than me, so you get a mulligan? Fuck that. Train or don’t.

-folly