T Nation

Front Squat Form

Hello-

I may have a problem with front squat form, and was wondering if anyone could help. I am in the second half of ABBH and everything is going great but, whenever I do front squats my traps are really sore for a few days afterward. Is this normal? At first I figured it was just a response to new exercise stimulus and it would fade in time, but this does not seem to be the case. My middle back tends to feel pretty tight during the first 4 or 5 sets too. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

-Fireplug

[quote]fireplug52 wrote:
Hello-

I may have a problem with front squat form, and was wondering if anyone could help. I am in the second half of ABBH and everything is going great but, whenever I do front squats my traps are really sore for a few days afterward. Is this normal? At first I figured it was just a response to new exercise stimulus and it would fade in time, but this does not seem to be the case. My middle back tends to feel pretty tight during the first 4 or 5 sets too. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

-Fireplug[/quote]

Fireplug52,
I too had issues with the front squat. I have the stingray so the bar doesn’t hurt my front delts, but after a few sets my arms would start to drop and I would lean forward. Chad recommended that I lower the weight I was using and ensure I was using good form. That worked for me and allowed me to get gains from ABBH I. As far as the soreness in the traps, I too, had that happen to me. I would recommend that you reduce the weight a little, pay attention to form, and the traps will adjust to the stimulus. Hope this helps.

This may seem like a stupid question, but are you shrugging your shoulders on your way up? Sometimes when I front squat with heavy weight, my body does anything it can to get momentum going, and shrugging your shoulders will help get that bar moving upward(at least a little bit). You may think you’re not doing anything like this, but it’s a natural reaction, so you just might not have noticed it before. Pay close attention. If all else fails, lower the weight, and be strict.

Here is a thought, it helps me. I can’t really do the front squat with the ‘normal’ hand position. That is, hands under the bar and upper arm parallel to the floor. Instead, I cross my arms by putting my right hand on my left shoulder, left hand on right shoulder.

Then I just need to lift my elbows. It is a lot more comfortable and much easier to hold onto a heavy bar.

Thank You!
It very well may be that I am shrugging the weight a little on the way up. I noticed that I have a tendency to try and support the bar with my arms like in a military press or clean. This is not readily apparent at heavier weights as they press it down into my shoulders and chest. I assume this is due to having my elbows too far in toward my chest, i.e. I need to thrust them out more. I dunno if weight is a problem as I am only using 135. My back squat for the same number of reps is 240, so I am not sure that is a problem, but I will lower it if need be. Thank you for the great replies!

-Fireplug

Could the trap soreness be caused by insufficient shoulder flexibility?

My traps and mid back are sort of tight after front squats, too; for me, at any rate, this is simply a consequence of my shoulder flexibility being not QUITE as good as it needs to be. (I use an OL rack for the FSQ). Of course, there’s also the tendency to lean forward and try to ‘back squat’ the weight up; this moves the bar weight forward and requires you to contract your traps to hold it rather than just letting it rest on your clavicles+delts.