T Nation

Front Squats Are Fun


#1

My lower back is messed up, but I can?t stay out of the gym, so I?ve found some uses for an unloaded bar. Lots of snatches, OHS, and, yesterday, front squats. I?ve always had trouble staying upright and keeping my elbows up, so I tried a tip from DJ?s From the Ground Up DVD and tightened my upper back. Sure enough, the elbows popped right up and my torso stayed straight as an arrow. That allowed me to focus on dropping between the legs and using leg drive to move the weight. Widening my stance and pointing my feet outward helped the squat between the legs feeling. After 90 reps (spread over a bunch of sets) my legs and back and shoulders were pumped and warm and good. I began to get the feeling of pulling myself to the floor with my feet, if that makes sense. It was a long mental checklist to keep up with at first, but by the end of the fun my body was doing the right things without much thought. The self talk went from ?chin up, squeeze the back, tight stomach, drop, drive up with the legs? to ?chin up, squeeze, drop, drive?. This is similar to the progression in one of Dan?s Get Up! Newsletters (I don?t recall the issue).

Any other FS stories or tips?


#2

After talking with Dan this fall, I banished back squats altogether and now focus only on front squats. Sure, My FS is half of my BS, but I'm finding faster progression with less back pain, and my quads have never looked better.


#3

Front Squats are the devil. At least at first. I've gotten used to em. I won't drop back squats though, I do both. But I have also known a nice steady progression in my quads.


#4

My wrists are unequally flexible, meaning one is more than the other, which makes my elbows stick out at different heights. And then my wirsts hurt anyway.

I'm hating front squats at the moment...


#5

I started front squatting before I tried back squats and I love them! I find it much easier to keep my back as upright as possible in front squats. Maybe it's because i've been doing them longer, but they feel much more comfortable.


#6

Front squats are real good! I don't have access to any form of rack or safety bars, so front squats are really my only alternative.

I prefer doing them with my arms crossed in front - feels more natural to me than the olympic style.


#7

I love front squats. They are hard on my shoulders though. I have a hard time when driving explosively keeping the weight on my arms (crossed, can't do olympic).


#8

I front squatted a couple of days ago for a change from my back squat/ box squat regime. I seem to have burst blood vessels under the skin of my shoulders. I don't care, as long as the marks heal up eventually.


#9

Ditto to the crossing. I seem to have a problem putting the bar in a grove. The slot made by my shoulders goes too close to my throat, so I have to keep my arms slightly supporting the bar. Unfortunetly this makes them tire near the end of the set, and I don't think I'm breathing right because of it either...

I probably just have to FS more often tho.


#10

I am such an FS addict I bought myself a manta ray! Can't say enough about how awesome it is for FSs.


#11

I dropped back squats also and the weight drop is humbling, but I decided to keep it light until the correct form is second nature. I got pretty strong on back squats over the years, but they gave me a big fanny, "squat gut", and back pain.

I've done FS on and off over the years, mostly hands crossed style. I switched to oly grip while lifting "oly only" for a few months. I like them MUCH better now that I'm getting the form down.

The bruises on my upper chest and near asphyxiation on the final reps are cool addicting.


#12

I preferred arms crossed until I decided to get serious about FS and the oly movements and found that arms crossed just don't cut it for me. Dan's pointers helped a lot.

For those that would like to give oly grip a try, I've found these things the most helpful:

-Potato sack squats: wiggle the toes to stay on your heels, keep your chin up and chest puffed, grasp hands and drop between your legs without changing the position of your upper body. These are great as a warmup or for a little off day practice to hardwire the feel of squatting between the legs.

-Don't grip the bar tightly. Just put your finger tips on the bar and find the groove on your shoulders. Sometimes I only leave my first two fingers on the bar. The groove for me is closer to the neck than is comfortable and I have to tilt my head back a little to stay upright. I've gotten used to it though.

-MOST IMPORTANT: Squeeze the back. Hard! This pops the elbows and upper body right into place.


#13

you guys need to do back squats AND front squats together to get the true results your really looking for....

back squats do aid your front squat


#14

do any of you have a problem with leaning forward during the lift?

and how do you remedy it?


#15

I usually only have a problem with leaning forward as I tire towards the end of my sets. That's where you really have to concentrate, and keeping the head back and focusing on one spot seems to help.

Gotta say I love the front squats. I've been doing Highland games for a year or so now, and they seem to really have helped me.


#16

I had this problem when doing them crosshands style, but learning proper oly grip fixed the problem.

Remember to keep your chin up and focus on one spot, as Beowulf recommended. Tightening the upper back helps also.

It's also a good idea to end a set when your form breaks.


#17

aiki...I bought a Manta Ray too and I love it for fronts. In fact, I love it so much that I bought a Sting Ray for back squats but I'm not all that crazy about using it. They are both great for load dispersion, but the Manta is really nice...helps me focus more on the movement than on the placement of the bar.


#18

I've been working out seriously for 15 months. Did regular (back squats) from the beginning and loved them right off. Two months ago, I added overhead squats. There're great, but it took (is taking) real serious concentration to get the form down. Recently, added front squats. I love them. I use olympic grip. Great feeling in the chest and back. Remembering to look up at a spot and to rise up with the elbows pressed toward each other and leading the way seems to make good form come naturally. I got a little soreness in front shoulders, but it was the good kind of soreness.

Man, I love these full body movements and mastering the variations.


#19

I thought the Sting Ray was for FSQs and the Manta was for back squats? Oh well, I've got the one for FSQs and I think it works great. Lately, I've been doing FSQs for high reps. The Sting Ray (or whichever one it is) lifts the bar off your chest so that you can actually take deep breaths, unlike with back squats where the bar presses on your lungs (although that has its advantages too). Makes Tabata FSQs just slightly less painful.


#20

Those of you who prefer arms crossed style. Have you really given the oly style a good look? I mean experimented with different placement and hand width to find the right groove for you. Maybe I'm not giving enough credit to how different people can be built but I have a hard time believing that anyone would not prefer the oly style over arms crossed. There's no comparison, in my opinion.