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Front Squats Stuck, De-Load?


For the past 3 weeks I've been at 205 for 25 reps on the front squat. First week it took like 10 sets, second week it took about 6, and this week it was so hard I stopped after 15 reps. Regardless, the rest of my workout was pretty good and I made progress across the board, it was pretty much this one exercise that didn't progress.

Should I take a week off and do a lighter workout (aka de-load)? If so how do I do it? If not, what would you guys recommend to help me get out of this rut? This is really the first time in my life that I've busted my ass really hard and I'm still not changing on a particular exercise, so I'm really confused, and the search button wasn't too helpful on this.


Is Front Squats your first exercise on that day?


Why such high reps? Are you saying you were doing 10 sets of 25? You shouldn't need to deload after 3 weeks.


That is a little confusing. 15 reps total or 15 reps on the first set?

If you can do 15 reps on the first set with a weight that you could only do for a couple reps a few weeks ago, then I would say it is time to increase the weight.

Front squats are not an exercise typically done for high reps.


I think he means 25 reps total, using fewer and fewer sets with increasing reps per set.

If you are progressing in all the other lifts, then I think a deload would be counter productive. Change something up - put emphasis on another big lower body lift like deadlifts for example. Then, when you are up for it, go back to front squats.


Deload and switch to straight sets.


Switch to a new exercise to introduce a new motor pattern. The more different (like being unilateral in nature) the better.

Once that stalls, go back to front squats. They'll seem "new" to your body so you'll progress in them faster.


1)Just because you had one sub-par day doesn't mean you need to change. Maybe next week will be just as 'good' as last week was 'bad'.

2) I don't believe that you could not have got your twenty five reps last week. It's O.K. that you had a off day; but accept/own that you CHOSE to discontinue the front squats. On that day 'Front Squats' won and you lost-period. You can substitute another station that isn't as challanging(one you will beat every week) or you can re-group and re-commit to the battle-against a foe that offers no quarter and takes no prisoners. I know squats are intimidating there suppose to be.

3)The core question is: Fight or Flight?


I agree with this. One bad day and you think you need to deload? I've never deloaded once in my life. And on top of that, it was only your 3rd workout of this kind?

Sounds like you were playing mind games with yourself and cut yourself short.


I can't understand the need to deload if you are only working with about 200 lbs.

Are you gaining weight right now?


if this is the first time you've busted your ass hard, it makes me wonder if your commitment to food has kept up with the new training intensity. as others have said, no need to consider one bad session a "rut". you did well the rest of the workout, so maybe you didn't warm up enough, or you blew your was warming up too much.

rather than deload, you could do the opposite. bump the weight up 10 lbs and shoot for 15 total reps. next time, shoot for 18, then 22, then 25, then add weight and start over. a different approach that would still show progress.


Get Cressey's The Art of the Deload and use what it tells you.

It has given me an idea of how to plan my training for very consistent results.


Wow you guys are taking this a bit too far.

This is the 7th week on this workout cycle, so I've been front squatting like this for a while now (and this is not the first 7 weeks of me ever front squatting either), and this is the 3rd week I was stuck at the same weight for front squats...and definitely NOT the first time I've busted my ass in the gym.

Front squats are the first exercise, and I'm trying to hit 25 total reps for that exercise. By the 3rd set, I was down to 3 reps. I just didn't feel like spending 30 minutes on one exercise because I don't have all day to workout, so obviously it was my choice because my "Fight or Flight" was limited to the clock, and it was exhausting. Clearly I could have just said "fuck it I'll do triples or doubles if it gets even harder" and I could have completed my 25 reps, but at the cost of losing the last 1/2 of my exercises due to time.

Yes, I could have had a bad week, but I've been at this weight for 3 weeks, so it's not just "Oh no I stalled once what do I do?" So maybe I give it one more week to see if I improve, otherwise: switch to another heavy leg exercise for a while and come back to the front squat in a bit.


I thought you were doing Bauer's routine?
Was that 25 rep thing part of that, or is this something you modified?


He probably talk about the Waterbury Get Big in a Hurry.
You suppose to do 25 reps in total, for a load that you can get 4-6 RM.


Well if front squats are the first exercise, so there's nothing else wearing you down beforehand, and you're gaining strength on all your other leg exercises later on in the workout, then maybe it is time to switch out the front squat for another exercise.


Smolov for front squats will fix this problem.

What's breaking down? I find that abs give out before legs when doing them. I had to do ab pulldowns for a while and lower my volume/up the weight to correct the issue.

Could try waves...I sometimes do that when I plateau (i.e. 7,5,3,7,5,3)

There's an article called "Plateau busters" might want to give that a look.


I am, but I realized his exercise formula was around 25 reps for the first 1-2 exercises, 35 reps for the middle 2, and 55 reps for the last 1-2, so I modified it so that I didn't have to care about counting reps and sets, just focusing on reaching the total number of reps.

It just makes it easier so I'm not counting rest periods and I can just focus on adding volume every week rather than burning myself out too early in a set.

I get stuck midway up. So I'll drop down to below parallel, get up fine at the bottom, and then midway (probably at a leg angle of 70 degrees) I'll get stuck and either fall back down into the power rack bars, or I'll just have to have a "second wind" to lock out that last rep.

I have been doing this for close to 8 weeks anyway, so if not changing to a different workout, at least changing up my exercises is probably my best bet. I'll take a look at Smolov and the plateau busters article. Thanks.

EDIT: I took a look at the Smolov protocol...are you saying I should do this protocol using the front squat as my exercise? So I do front squats with this protocol for the next 13 weeks? ... Eeeh...

Well I guess it's better than back squats. I just won't do back squats anymore because I think they were the cause of my knee problems...