T Nation

Front Squat Form Check


Been working on ankle dorsiflexion, hamstring/hip flexability [and quality of tissue] but still using small weight plates under the heels to help with dropping down into the squat better.

Used about 65KG which felt comfortable, for some reason the vid is has sped up slightly when I converted it. I dont olympic lift, but figured you guys would be the best people to ask.

All criticism welcome!



be nice to see the rack postion. It LOOKS like your pushing your knees forward and noting sitting back with your hips. stand very close to a wall and squat down if your knees bang against the wall your doing it wrong. You need to push back with your hips.

I could be totally wrong but it doesnt look that bad Tbh.


swole - you sure you aren't thinking of a back squat (with the 'don't push your knees forwards and be sure to sit back with your hips) advice?

the aim of the front squat (if you plan on cleaning with it) is to have as upright a torso as possible so you don't lose the weight forwards when you catch a clean in the rack.

ideally you want your midfoot, your hips, the bar in as much of a vertical alignment as possible. your knees will trek forwards from your toes as much as is needed to keep your hips as far forwards under the bar as possible. that will be more for longer lifters.

the heel plates help shift your balance forwards slightly so you are balanced even with your hips back a bit behind your midfoot. they stop you falling on your ass. i suspect your knees would need to come forwards even more without the heel plates? if you try and squat without them what prevents your descent? ankle dorsiflexion? or do you need to do a bit more work on opening your hips?

are you wearing Olympic Weightlifting shoes (with a raised heel) or do you need to get some?

looking pretty good to me, though.


I've not got any yet, I plan to get some soon though. After annoying things like vehicle insurance, tax, etc etc!

Ankle dorsiflexion is what I believe to be the limiting factor. I'm currently rolling and stretching calves and hips/hamstrings every day. Much faster progress with the hips than dorsiflexion though, thats taking its sweet time.

On top of that, over/under mobility drills and goblet squats along with stretching my piriformis is what I've been doing to increase depth in the squat.

Ideally from my perspective I feel I need to be more upright with my hips more underneath me, but it's good to hear that the form isn't terrible!


Oly shoes are about 3/4 of an inch heel raise so if your plates aren't much wider than that the shoes should remove the need for the plates. Dorsiflexion can take its own sweet time. I think particularly when the achilles tendon is involved. A real bitch of a thing to try and stretch out. Goblet squats are great for hips. Especially using your elbows to push your knees out hard. I needed to do a lot of work on mine, too, and still doing a lot on my ankles. It doesn't look terrible, no. Good lumbar arch and depth and you keep your elbows up well.


Its fine to let your knees track over your toes to an extent, but breaking with the knees is a poor squatting pattern. Yes you obviously want to be as upright as possible, but you need adequate hip range of motion to get into that position.


take a DEEP breath into your chest. Keep back more tight if possible

as for ankle dorsiflexion, I've always had pretty good, I never even realized it until lately. When you warm up, take roughly 3-5 minutes and do this:

Look at 1:29. go into a similar position(you don't need a barbell) and just alternate putting your weight on your right foot with your left one and try to stretch it this way. That's what I've been doing subconsiously before every snatch or clean attempt and I guess that's how I got ankle dorsiflexion lol :slightly_smiling:

I also just randomly found this video and his front squat looks great:


Every good front squat I've seen, there has been very little breaking at the hips or pushing the hips back. The majority say sit straight down into it, so if I push the hips back, how am I sitting straight into it?

The front squat hits the quads and core, so surely pulling the hips back will turn it into a back/posterior chain exersize. Which isn't what I'm wanting to use this for.


Thanks for the help and advice, good luck with the ankles!


I'll give that a go on top of what I'm already doing, thanks!


Squats look good to me mate, your sitting down well. Keep doing what your doing. You could drive your hips in forwards earlier on the way up though. This will save a lot of squats and tough Cleans.



I see what you mean! That could explain some low back pain after heavy back squats. Too much lower back, not enough legs and hips.

I'll give that a go next session and see how different it is, great advice thank you!


I'm not saying you need to sit into it like a 'powerlifting style' squat - you break hips first in the video and it looks just fine. What I am saying is that relying on ankle dorsiflexion without much movement at the hip is far from an optimal way to squat. Mike Robertson posed up an example:

Ideally you should have enough hip external rotation/flexion to get your knees far enough out to the sides that forward knee movement is kept to a minimal.


ideally one would have stubby little legs so that it wouldn't require much to get the knees out the way in order to drop the torso down between them.

are you suggesting a sumo stance? or that the knees go out to the sides further than the ankles? for those of us not blessed with stubby little legs, i mean.

i don't have much ankle dorsiflexion (rehabbing old injuries very slowly indeed). it is impossible at this stage for my knees to come in front of my toes. unless i go sumo wide (which is a very weak squatting position for Olympic Lifting and it puts considerable pressure on my hips in a way that is likely to result in injury) my hips are well behind my midfoot when i squat. I can assure you that this is very far indeed from ideal. my squat is very weak indeed since i'm physically incapable of getting my hips in under the bar in order to use my glutes / hammies to really drive up. instead i'm fairly ineffectually needing to drive from my quads.

i've never seen an oly lifter squat without breaking from the hips / knees simultaneously. of course at the end of the day the descent into the squat doesn't matter much anyhow since at the end of the day it is about pulling yourself under the bar at speed to hit a tight bottom position.


Knees outiside the feet, ala Starrett:


yeah. at 55 seconds. bad. i agree.


I see what you're saying now! I'll be sure to get the knees out more, I was thinking you meant hips back when you mentioned hips, not external rotation, thats my mistake. Thanks for elaborating and making sense of that for me, I appreciate it!


oh, i think i see what you mean now, too. sometimes people use ankle dorsiflexion to make up for hip flexion in the sense that their knees come forwards more than they need to because they aren't pushing them out over their ankles hard enough. sorry i was a bit dense with that.