T Nation

Front Squat with Curl Bar


Hi there,

I don't have an olympic set yet, only have curl bar currently, it's only 4 feet long. When I tried the other day with 100lb doing back squat, I felt ok. I was able to do 3 x 8. Sure, it felt heavy, but after each set I felt ok.

Well, today I tried with same weight but doing front squats, and this thing kicked my butt. Even during each set it felt much heavier, after each set - at least I was able to complete it - I had to take like 4-5 minute break in order to recover my breathing abilities ! This was really kicking my a$$ !

Ok, now, I know 100lb does not sound much and the bar does not add much, maybe 10 lb. I've seen some teens - I'm 34 year old - on here weighing 145lb - I weigh around 190lb - claiming to start squatting with 125lb and they go higher from there! I never thought I was that weak, sure I have an office job, haven't done much of physical workout for 10-15 years before I started this endeavour few months back, but still...Am I that weak, or maybe the curl bar is part of the problem ?

If the former, then I have a long way to go...people seem to suggest being able to squat with %125 of your body weight is the good minimum to have accomplished. That would be 250lb for me, that is a long way to go then....


Bro, front squats are much tougher than back squats! Get your hands on an olympic bar ASAP, I can't imagine using a curl bar for fronts. My elbows aren't very flexible, so I do the "crossed-arm" style.

I didn't touch front squats until recently. I was up to 285 on back squats comfortably. I decided to learn front squats. I started ultra light, learning form, etc.

Currently my front squats look pathetic compared to my back squats, I kept it at 95-105-115-125-135 5x5. That made me feel like I just started lifting again - gasping for air, etc LoL.

Take it easy/light at first, learn perfect form, and the weight will come. Good luck and keep at it!


Squatting is hard; it has also become my favorite exercise.

Join a gym with a proper squat rack and you'll find you go up in weight pretty fast. That's the awesome thing about squats: weight progression comes relatively fast. I'm 26 and nearly tripled my squat poundages in 9 months. I can squat a bit more than 1.5 my body weight.

Just be sure to join a gym with a squat rack. Or buy one. Or make one, if you are so inclined. Oh, and get a proper barbell; forget squatting with the curl bar. :slightly_smiling: (Oh, the irony!)

Since you're new, I also recommend you find a good solid workout program & proper information on your diet.


I agree, you have to ditch the curl bar squats, especially if you're doing front squats. You could potentially injure yourself, and you'll never progress to heavy weight. Using an olympic bar is ideal, but any straight bar of sufficient length is OK. With the proper equipment, you'll find it much easier to progress with your training.


Ok, gotta give up the curl bar then. I knew I was going to need it eventually, just wanted to wait before I get it as with that comes the need for getting a decent rack, which together will set me back for some $$$. Joining gym is not something I can do at this point. This brings another question, any recommendation here for a decent power rack and where to get it from ? I really wasn't looking to get a full rack (full box?), I'd prefer something less space limiting, more open, but might have to settle.

I saw a Marcy MP 12.0 rack in Dick's sporting goods for $249 that it would seem to allow squatting, benching, pullups and it was "open" but the built of the thing seemed questionable. I want something to be able to do all these exrcises as my home is the only place I can get any workout done.
Any suggestions are appreciated !


in the beginning squats go up qucik both front and back. Get a set of plates and a real bar for home. Some up rights or a cheap rack from a fitness equipment store.

After you start stacking on some pies on either end of the bar the progress slows. this is what makes it fun though.



Get an olympic set.

Until then do front squats, overhead squats, and lunges