T Nation

Front Squat ?

I’ve added front squats into my routine for about a year now. When I first started I’ll admit I really wasn’t comfortable AT ALL witht he lift. Now that I’ve gotten a little more familiar with it I’ve managed to get up to 225 4x8. Here’s the problem though. The heavier I go the hard I find it to breath, since the weight is in my chest. Not that I care but I actually get bruises across my chest/shoulders from this. Anyone else have this problem. One more thing. I use a criss-cross type of grip palms down. Sometimes when I see pictures though people a clean type grip/palms up. I can’t hold the bar like that or my forearms would tear off the bone.

You shouldnt be doing front squats for that many reps. Try more sets of fewer reps. It is going to be very difficult to breathe with over 250 on your chest for alot of reps.

…and switch to the clean grip, you’ll be able to use much more weight in the long run.

Sting Ray!

I do them with the clean grip. Agree that lower reps is the way to go but I train for strength primarily. Remember that burn you got when you first startede doing them? Switch in some overhead squats. It’s a great excercise.

I’m not trying to sound rude, but did anyone read what I just said? Yes I agree that lower reps would be less time with a large amount of weight on my chest. That’s not what the routine calls for, therefore I don’t really see it as an option. However I am interested in the idea of a clean grip. The thing is I have extreme difficulty in stretching my arms back in that manner. Any reccomendations of particular stretching. Did anyone have/has this problem at one time? Thankyou for the feedback nonetheless.

Keep the rep count of Front Squats down - 4 x 8 is too high. Good luck let me know how I can help.

btw - they are an incredible addition into the “Nitro Squat” program.

In faith,

Coach Davies

I use the clean grip also and find it much better than the BB grip. It is awkward at first but you should get used to it and as long as you keep your elbows high, upper arm almost parallel w/ground and rest the bar on your clavicle it should feel a little better, at least this has worked for me anyway. If you want to do higher reps I would try the 1-6 method, it helped me add 40lbs to my front squat.

Hey wideguy, I agree with snippdawg in that you should keep your elbows high and you get use it the grip after a couple of sessions.

I’m hear everybody load and clear on the rep ranges and the clean grip/elbows high. Still curious if anyone has suggetions on how to gain enough rom in there forearms/wrist to hold the bar in that position without injuring themself. Would simply practicing with lighter weights suffice, along with supinated/ pronated stretching suffice?

“Would simply practicing with lighter weights suffice, along with supinated/ pronated stretching suffice?”

Yes. I put front squats with a clean grip in my program for a few months out of each year and it’s always a pain, literally, for the first two workouts. After a couple of workouts though I find that my forearms and wrists are flexible enough to squat without pain. I also have found that the wrist stretching sequence described in Ian King’s Lazy Man’s Guide To Stretching article helps a lot.

Wideguy, I have a same problem with the grip. I’m going very light right now to see if I can get used to it. I don’t even come close to the correct form when I put up even half way decent poundage.

Wideguy, theres a number of things you can do to improve your wrist ROM. Stretching them by pulling your fingers back as if you’re trying to make the back of your hand touch your forearm. Holding a weight in the racked position is also a good idea. When you are holding the bar there try only holding it with 3 fingers, letting your thumb and pink get pulled away from the bar. Doing this puts less stress on your wrists.

I have never been able to gain enough flexibility in my wrists to perform front squats with a clean grip, especially since I broke a wrist in an accident. I follow a trick I read from Poliquin: use 2 lifting straps wrapped around the bar, and grip them at the appropriate height that keeps your upper arms parallel to the floor. I get a great stretch on my wrista, and have gradually been able to grip the straps closer to the bar.

Any pictures showing the different grips?



Something you might want to try is load the bar in the rack. Put one hand where you would regularly put it for a clean grip. Square your shoulders to the bar, then using your other handpush your elbow into the proper elbows high position. I held it for about 15-20 seconds and then switched arms. That stretch and some shoulder stretching seemed to make it alot more comfortable to front squat.

How to make it to clean grip

take a weight of about 10-20% of max, hold in clean grip, palms outsude of shoulders, elbows pushing up and inward and go down to the bottom position. from there, perform forearm flexions followed by elbow extension, when lowering back open your palm and let the bar role to the end of your fingers, this will dynamicly stretch and strenghen end of ROM in the wrist, elbows, perform this almost everyday for 40-90 seconds , soon youll be able to clean grip front squat without problem.

the problem with iso holds clean grip and heavy weight offered here is that if youre not flexible youll injure your wrist quickly.

The one mistake that I always see people with clean grip problems is that they use too wide of a grip. Try moving in your grip so that your index fingers are at, or below shoulder width.

"…and switch to the clean grip, you’ll be able to use much more weight in the long run. "

Tell that to Ronnie Coleman, he front squats nearly 500 pounds w/ the cross-grip.

Wide, I front squat 315+ w/ the cross grip. Try putting it as close to your throat as possible (without choking yourself). The higher the bar is on my chest the more weight seems to be distributed across my shoulders and the more comfortable the exercise feels.
Most people avoid front squats (even more than regular squats) because they are seriously not comfortable, but w/ practice you’ll find the best postion for you.

The tip that bigsnuff gave about the lifting straps is one to definitely try. I’ve heard this one before.

I’ve used the sting ray but didn’t care for it.

Sure when Coleman tells me his drug schedule.

And I was talking about alot of weight…meaning more that 315 for Wide in the long run.