T Nation

Front Squat Tips


#1

Hello all,
I just switched to front Squats from back ones, and I had a little trouble doing them. It was my first time, so I expected that. My basic problems seemed to be properly mounting and keeping the bar from slipping down during my set. Are there any tips you folks can offer, or a link to someplce with some advice? Thanks.

JF

P.S. I switched to put some variety in my program. If I continue to have toruble should I just go back to the back squats I know and love?


#2

I had the same problem at first. Here is what I would do.

  1. Do more sets with less reps. If keeping the bar from from slipping down is a problem it will be easier to do sets of 3 reps than sets of 10 reps.

  2. Keep your torso close to upright. If your legs are weaker than your lower back you will want to lean forward during the set.

You can do this in a back squat but if you lean forward in a front squat the bar will want to roll or slide forward. Just stay upright (or as close as you can) and use your legs. I let my knees go pretty far forward to achieve this. Start light and work up.

  1. Read Dan John's Overhead Squat Article. Look at the pictures. Do Overhead squats as part of your warm up at least.

I would also do a search for that Pyros Dimas video on this site for motivation. Sick front squats.


#3

Hi J.F,

I'm not sure how you have been holding it already, but if it is the hands-crossed, bodybuilder style, then yes it is difficult to hold the bar.

Your options for front squats are:

1) Use a front-squat harness if you have access to one, that solves the problem.

2) Use an olympic style grip of the bar.
( http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=268nitro2 )

This may require some stretching to increase the flexibility in the wrists intiaially, but enables you to nestle the bar in place better. Concentrate on forcing your elbows high during the movement.

As to the overall use of front squats - they are a usefull tool, but don't neglect back squats. Unless you want to be an oly-lifter, just phase them in slowly after your normal back-squat work until you have the flexibility and strength to maintain correct form and hold the bar before adding weight.

If your goal is to emphasise your quads (what non-oly lifters often use front squats for) high-bar, narrow stance back squats hits them pretty hard as well as lunges etc.


#4

Jesus freak,

There is a few things you need to do.
I'am an olympic Weightlifting coach and believe me I know what I am talking about. And I know how frustrating it can be.

Do not get into the trap of using the cross armed way. This can cause more trouble than it's worth.

Do not have the bar sitting on the wind pipe. Charles Poliquin say's you should feel like you are choking. He is dead wrong.

Your elbows have to remain high at all times.

You sit the bar across the adams apple so that you can breath.

How do you get such positions.

Well one way you need to stretch the hell out of your wrists, triceps and your lats. Stand behind the bar when you have it in the racks and place it in the position you would for a back squat.

Grab the bar with a little wider grip than your shoulders and get into the position as you would back squat and without moving the weight slowly bring your elbows round and in front as high as they can go. Bring the hands in closer as you get more supple. Do not move the weight. Pile some plates on the bar.

One important thing you need to do is make sure when you get ready to Front Squat, that when you step under the bar and set your grip, lift the bar up with a small shrugging action and this will bring you into the position of keeping the bar at your adams apple. Keep it on the front deltoids.

If you feel the bar slipping down when you are doing the movement tweak your elbows in towards each other and upwards.

Hope this helps.
Andy Merrylees


#5

I'm sure coach Merrylees is offering better advice, but if you don't want to ever do the Olympic clean & jerk, you could cop out (like me) and get a Sting Ray: www.adfit.com/stingray/index.asp
It works. Takes the pain out of the shoulders so you can maximize effort on the legs. (Actually, I'm off to the gym now to do exactly that.)


#6

Why is it more trouble than its worth?

Do you mean that the bar should be pushing your adam's apple in? Or just resting on the same level as your adam's apple?

Hmmm..I'll have to try this positioning technique out, I've just started trying the oly style of front squats and I too am finding it a little difficult getting the right position. Currently the bar sits close to my throat causing the choking reaction and my pinky fingers slip off the bar due to lack of flexibility in my wrists.


#7

dude just keep at the oly style it'll click into place. pinky's coming off the bar is no big deal. alot of times i front w/ just the first joint of 2 or 3 fingers on the bar. the bar should rest on your clavicles and need very little holding in place from your hands.

try warming up your fronts w/o using hands. just rest the bar on your calvicles and hold your arms straight out in front of you @ 90 degrees or a bit higher. this will help you stay upright and hold the bar w/ your clavicles. it will also show you if your hips/back/calfs are tight cause you won't be able to keep the bar in the deep position. if it's at all difficult for you to do this i'd say you have some issues other than your forearms that are giving you trouble.

oh and someone above said watch that dimas video- yes !

http://media.putfile.com/Ironmind_1993_Dimas