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Front Squat Help


sorry for making your eyes bleed:

I'm trying to be more upright but can't figure out where to put my knees. Standing on plates for heel raise. Slightly wider than shoulder width stance with toes turned out slightly.

Best I can think is to cue 'lead with chest' and try and get a harder lumbar arch.

Higher heel raise doesn't seem to help...
Wider stance doesn't either (more sumo = more pressure on my hips standing it up).
But maybe I should play around more with these...

Probably could have got the 40 if I had waited around for my long levers to get some momentum to the bar - but was feeling pretty lazy today... Have a bit of a habit of GMing on the way up, too.



let your knees come forward even more at the bottom. Basically, push your knees as forward as they go while still keeping pressure on your heels. try to touch your calves with your butt. and remember, squat down, not back (not that you are, because you aren't). but your front squats look fine to me, don't be upset. :slightly_smiling:


Don't go too wide, about a bit wider then shoulder width is good for most people.

The issue is your knees don't track much over your toes.

Squat on the floor with no weights. Now lean over your toes to see how far you can get your knees over without your heel coming off the floor. This will be indicative...

Your back is straight and stays straight well imo.

Focus on driving your hips forwards as you come out of the squat. This will greatly improve the speed and the weight you can lift when you get use to it. As soon as your hips come off the floor drive them forwards. This will also negate the GMingness of it.

Looks good overall. Just have to keep at it and you'll get strong soon enough. Just stick with it. I'd work out 80% of yoru 1RM and hammer out 6x6 3x a week on your squats, just alternate back and front.



my knees only come in front of my toes as much as they do in the vid. i'm persistently working on getting better dorsiflexion but i'm not sure it will be possible for me.

i'll try driving my hips forwards on the way up. thanks for saying they look good because i thought they were looking pretty dire.

okay, i'll start up the 6x6 tomorrow.


I personally think your back rounds slightly at the bottom, probably just need more flexibility/strength which come in time. The knees coming in front of your toes isn't something to worry about much. In an olympic style(where you squat down, not back) squat, there is no way for them to not come forward for most people. What koing means is that the angle that your feet have(where your toes are pointing) should be the same as the angle of your knees(the angle from your front towards your either side). I personally didn't see and can't notice whether you do that in this video... you need the camera angle from the front to be able to see that.

I'd personally suggest doing squats every day that you can, I think doing it as much as possible will get you used to squatting a lot faster. It doesn't have to be too much weight, something you feel rather comfortable with. 6x6 can work fine


Goblet squats, sit down in a squat and have your elbows push out your knees to the side. Just focus a bit more on sitting down.

It does look good overall. Just keep at it.



Yeah, still working on my lumbar curve, lordstorm. took some vids last week and noticed it was lacking on back squats and i wasn't getting all the way down on front squats so this time around they are particularly slow and deliberate because i'm trying to keep it and descend all the way down as well as i can.

hopefully will become smoother and feel more natural with the increased volume i'll get with 6x6. i will keep squatting every day (good to get some overhead ones in there, too, for mobility / position for catching snatches).

i'll try cueing 'knees out' and 'hips up'. see if i can get my torso more between rather than behind my legs by pushing my knees out more.

thanks for the feedback.


not only knees out, but more important, knees forward, butt straight down, chest up, elbows up!


One thing that I found helped me was when reaching the bottom of the squat instead of thinking about the legs I would think more about tightening my back as much as freaking possible since thats when it tends to round/go loose. Plus it used to be so hard that then getting back up seemed easy(as in, the tension at the back was so high compared to the tension at the legs, so i didn't really have to think about them much.)


thanks Andy - those are the cues I've been using for a while now (important in getting things as good as they are). Somehow or other my brain re-interpreted 'butt straight down' with 'don't worry about lumbar curve'. I can keep my lumbar arch in that ROM but it is requiring much mental effort for now and I also feel quite a stretch in my flexors so will take a bit to become smooth. lordstorm - do you mean the tension in your lumbar region (with respect to holding the arch hard)?

yesterday i tried setting my arch before descending (guess you gotta have the arch fairly entrenched before you don't need to do that). then focusing really hard on keeping the arch, pushing my knees out as hard as i can (no danger of doing that too much), and then trying to drive hips forwards and up to get out the hole. i think i'm a little more upright. will keep working on it.

feels weaker doing it like that (I guess my muscles are working pretty hard just to hold the position properly). longer time under tension since I'm going slow to try and get it right, though. realizing that instead of making my legs work properly on the way back up i have got into a bad habit of forwards leaning a bit to give them some rest. so... sloppy, basically. will keep at it and post updates in a week or so to see if i'm getting any better...




I think the front squat looks pretty good. Hard to tell but it looks like the knees are tracking in the direction the toes are pointing, which is fine and considering your levers and how deep you go, it looks pretty solid. I don't know if you really need the plates under your heels.

As a cue, I tell my lifters in both back and front squats to think of driving their hips forward and up right out of the hole and start trying to get their torso back towards vertical at the same time. Now,I know the hips can't really go forward right out of the bottom position(especially one as deep as yours) but it seems to get lifters thinking sooner on the ascent to get their hips through and their torso upright. I never talk about legs because I feel that tends to get people more on the forefeet than they have to be coming up.

I try to have them envision their hips going diagonally up and forward and the shoulders going up and back right from the bottom position. It seems to get most more upright sooner in the stand up. Of course(and it looks like you do) you must descend and start the ascent through the heels(rearfoot). Get to the forefeet coming out of the bottom and nothing good happens.

Hope this helps.



Yes, a tight back will feel very uncomfortable in the bottom position to someone who isn't used to it(either lower back isn't strong enough or lack of flexibility or just body isn't used to it)

don't worry about it too much. You might not see a big improvement in a week. When I first started squatting again 4 months ago(after 8 months of no training) it felt pretty uncomfortable. My back was weak and couldn't feel strong in the bottom position, my legs/knees had small pains everywhere, my flexibility was bad so it felt like I was being "pulled away" from the correct position. Just need to keep at it and it will solve itself out. Its all about weight on heels, tight back and going up and down.


Thanks for the explanations people! I think they really are helping me :slight_smile:

Did 6x6 back squats today... My hip flexors are TIGHT. Need to work on this daily. Realized I'm having some trouble with glute activation (so with driving hips forwards out of the hole, and also with respect to holding a hard arch) because my hip flexors are so tight. I do feel like I have a good conception of what I'm trying to do now, though, so something to be working on.

I had been doing squat cleans with 35kg (a pretty heavy front squat for me) but realized today that that is only interfering with my trying to develop a better squat motor pattern. Lumbar spine is feeling a bit overused I suppose because I'm not holding the arch properly when doing squat cleans. So... Squat cleans are out for the moment and daily squatting (volume) is in.

I guess sometimes ya gotta go back in order to go forwards in the long run...


I'm not sure about the plates...

I feel like I can only descend so far with an upright torso before I get to the limits of my ankle flexibility. At that point the only way I can get deeper is (since my knees can't come forwards more): 1) push knees out to the sides more (so adopt a wider stance) or 2) sit my butt back more and have more forwards lean.

Mind you, I thought my torso was as upright as I could possibly get it in the vid and I've learned I can get more upright by using my muscles properly. So... Maybe getting rid of the additional heel raise will be in the cards one day :slightly_smiling:


Take a photo of how far you can get your knees over your feet whilst keeping your heel down. Do this with and without your shoes. It'll be interesting to see.

I read that you can't improve this mobility much, but f0ck knows. I haven't ever had the issue. I'd try working on this to see if it works for you.



I was also looking for a critique. Trying to teach myself to front squat. Rather than start a new thread, I figured I'd post it here.


From the angle that you've taken I can't see anything wrong besides that the back rounds on some reps and the elbows drop(happens even to the best lifters). Keep the elbows and chest high.

Take a video from an angle that shows all the way down to your feet.


Your lighter sets you drop in too fast imo. Go down controlled and blast up. This doesn't mean go down slow until 3-5inches off rock bottom then bounce in and out. It means go down to rock bottom controlled then blast up. Dropping in fast over years and years is a sure fire way to ruin your knees. Squating is a strength exercise. Don't drop in.

Looks pretty good overall.

Chest and elbows drop a bit as lordstorm88 pointed out. Work hard on keeping your chest and elbows up AT THE START of the rep. The stronger your position at the starter the stronger you'll stay throughout the rep. Your form will only get worse if your setup isn't 100%.

Keep it up!



Thanks for the tips guys, that really wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I'll post a vid from my next front squat session and try to get a better angle.


Yeah overall it's pretty good mate. Nothing major wrong with it.