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Front Squat - Form Problem


I've been trying to do close stance front squats lately to bring up my lagging lateralis. I use a bodybuilding grip. Whenever I drop down into the eccentric, my elbows tend to end up pointing at an angle towards the ground. That is, my arms are no longer parallel to the ground. I've tried to concentrate on keeping my arms in the same position but it ends up feeling like I'm working my deltoids at that point.

Because of this problem, I can't even use nearly the amount of weight I want to be using for my front squats. I puff out my chest and tense up my midsection for the movement, but to no avail cannot keep my arms positioned properly for the life of me. It always feels like the barbell is about to roll off my shoulders. Does anyone have any tips that could help me out?


I’d need a video to check it out further, but i’d guess that your upper torso is leaning forward to compensate for a lack of flexibility in the ankles. Do you have trouble not lifting your heels off the ground when you squat without much forward torso movement? If so, you probably fall in this category. Like I often recommend for many other close stance squatters, try putting a couple plates under your heels to raise them up a bit. This will bypass the flexibility issue, and allow you to keep your torso more upright while still allowing you to drive the force down through your heels.

The close stance front squat is what olympic lifters do in the clean. They also use this tactic, as olympic lifting shoes have platforms to raise up your heels.

I’d also recommend that you work on your flexibility to be able to do these squats with no platform(to get some functional carryover to real life), but I realize that not many people have the foresight and maturity to take stretching and mobility seriously. However, that being said, I believe Eric Cressey and Ian King have often addressed this issue.


Don’t hold onto the bar. The bar should be resting on the front of your shoulders, close to your throat.

Look at this picture. As you’re squatting, keep your elbows in the same position.


Is this the position you’re talking about, bodybuilding grip?


Pull your shoulders forward more. The bar should be resting comfortably across your shoulders, regardless of grip. Pull the bar closer to the neck until it chokes you, then ease up a little. That’s the groove in your shoulders it should fit.

There will be some loss poundage, usually your front squat is about 80% of your back squat. That may be causing much of your percieved loss of strength.


AndrewBolinger, I think you hit the nail right on the head. I just did some front squats as I would do them in the gym and at the bottom of the squat position, as I pull my torso more upright so my arms aren’t slanting downward, my ankles get more and more tight. I’ll definitely have to look into some mobility drills/exercises. Once again, thanks a bunch. This problem has been annoying the crap out of me for a few weeks.


Don’t mention it. It seems to me this problem applies to a very large percentage of lifters. It’s a shame, because without the proper flexibility you’ll never be able to get the full benefit from squats!


I have the same problem as you. Recently started front squatting. I can go ass to grass with a straight torso only if I elevate my heels. If I put my feet flat on the ground, my torso leans forward, to the point where I’m holding the bar up with my fingers rather than my shoulders. I can go atg on back squats with my feet flat on the floor, but I guess the inherent forward torso lean in the back squat doesn’t raise the problem like it does in the front squat. Am doing ankle flexibility stretches.

Can anyone recommend any specific stretches?


[quote]fatcat wrote:

Can anyone recommend any specific stretches? [/quote]

1-keep front squatting, (no joke)

2-front squat as deep as u can with proper form and HOLD the bottom position for 2 seconds before u come up.

3-Check out Dan Johns video, 1st 15mins are on squatting:

4-On ur spare time squat as often as u can. Squat to pick stuff up, etc, squat down as low as u can and stay there for a lil’ while.
–check this article out: http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1856085

5-Add overhead squats to ur warm ups/workout.