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Front Squat Foot Position, Technique


For a while now I've slowly been trying to get into olympic lifting. The closest club is apparently 30 minutes from where I live (halifax, canada) so all my technique is learned from the net.

Anyway, a problem I've been having for a while is with front squats, and leaning forward, especially at the bottom of the lift. I know hip, ankle mobility is part of the problem, but it just didn't feel right. After closely the video's off gayle hatch's site, and reading as many articles on it as I could find, I figured out I could keep my torso MUCH more vertical by placing my feet just outside shoulder witdh, and letting the knees bend more towards the sides. This feels 100% better then before.

However, I just read Sean Waxman's article on the snatch, and it says never to go outside shoulder witdh, ever. Anyone know the reasoning for this? or the pros and cons for both? Also, should you still be trying to sit back at all on the front squat or just go straight down? Either way I'll be doing alot of mobility work in the near future, as I already know that is one of my weaknesses.


Your stance should be the same as your clean and snatch recovery stance, which will be shoulder-width or maybe slightly wider. The whole point of the front squat is as assistance for your clean, so it should mimic it as close as possible.

Your knees should remain over your feet - don't let them drift either inwards or outwards.

Aside from ankle mobility, the keys to staying upright I find are:

  • a solid rack with high elbows - you may need to stretch out your triceps, lats, and wrists if you have problems doing this. The bar may feel like it's choking you a little, but this is fine.
  • a strong and tight upper back - drive your shoulders up throughout the movement. Narrowing your grip a little will also help.
  • strong abs
  • sitting down between your legs, not back.
  • front squatting more. The more you do it, the better you get.


Thanks, the big thing for me i guess was squating between my legs and not back, which I can't do without having my legs slightly wider then shoulder width.


Go the facility - get the coaching. 30min is nothing to travel. I travel an hour each way. You'll learn so much, improve so much faster, and avoid ingraining so many more mistakes.
The number of self taught o-lifters who have great tech is very very small.


Get OL shoes. They have a slightly built up heel which helps you sit down more comfortably.


yep... but if u can't get OL shoes Chucks or barefoot works fine. Whatever u do, STAY WAY from soft sole shoes.


word, 30 mins to the club? from my house to my club is at least an hour, but since I live on campus and the club is here its good.

go to the club. you'll be better off. =D



You have to be in a comfortable position at the bottom of the squat. The foot position I mentioned should be used as a guideline not a steadfast rule. In fact what I said is a little unclear.

What I meant to say is not to spread your feet out wide like a powerlifting squat (go to most weightrooms and you will see athletes catching Olympic Lifts with there legs practically in a split). You can go wider, as long as your ankle, knee and hips are in alignment.

When you receive the bar you should be in a comfortable front squat position.



Thanks for the replies, and thanks for clearing that up Sean.

For those saying I should go out to the club- yeah I know, and I will eventually, but right now I don't have a car, making it pretty hard to get out there. I'll try to make it out on a weekend maybe sometime, but if I can't maybe I'll be able to record some vids for feedback.


The video thing is a good idea. If you can't get a car to get ouot there, try contacting the gym, explain what you are trying to do to one of the coaches, and see if they could possibly give you some pointers via video--you video your technique, mail it to them, they watch it, and send it back with remarks. Not a replacement for live coaching, but could help until you are able to get there personally.


Google "Dan John Impromptu Seminar"
Google Video has it. Fitcast.com has it too.

Read Dan John's "From the Ground Up". Its free. You can download it from his website.

Another easy way to find your foot position is to jump up and down a dozen times then stop. Where you land is pretty much the foot positioning you're after. Might take some tweaking.

Try "Prying" its a little sexercise used for getting comfortable in the squat. I believe there is Pavel Tatsuine (sp?) interview here on T-Nation that talks about it.


wow thanks, that Dan John vid is amazing