T Nation

Front Squats Without a Rack

i currently lift at home and dont have pretty limited equipment: non-olympic bar, flat bench, detachable dumbells.

i try not to let this lack of equipment get in the way of quality exercises however so it requires a lot of ingenuity and creative thinking. my problem lately is coming in the form of front squats.

i dont have a power cage or anyone to spot the weights for me, so i have to pick the bar off the bench-rack and jerk it up into posistion, the problem as you may have guessed is that my legs are just a tad bit stronger than my forearms, so it makes it very difficult to go up in weight.

the solution ive come up with is putting edxtra weights in a backpack in addition to using the weighted bar. i just want to know if this will be effective/safe to do?

Well I think that’ll throw off your mechanics to cleaning the bar and you’d end up on your back HARD.

One thing that you could do that would be a cheap, temporary fix until you can get equipment is to go to Home Depot and buy two saw horses (lumber cutting stands). Most are made out of wood and are very strong.

Set the bar on the horses, load the weight up and then crawl under the bar and start from the bottom position. Now this can be a good thing for many reasons but that would be another post all together.

You can use this set-up for doing other exercises like shrugs. I did this in the beginning while I was building my gym. My two wooden saw horses held 315 lbs. with no problem. However, I wouldn’t take any chances and would urge you to invest in formal equipment when you can afford it or have room for it.

Check out New York Barbells for quality, affordable equipment.


Good luck!

Learn to power clean. it’s the standard for front squatting anyway. Clean the bar then start squatting.

Power clean it into position from the floor.

Don’t mess around with the backpack while squatting.

Also try split squats and step ups since you are equipment limited.

Ditto on learning the power clean. Plus once you learn it, you’ll have another big tool in your tool box of big money exercises.

For a rack, get 2 old wheel rims, 2 - 2" diameter floor flanges, and 2 lengths (about 44") of 2" pipe, threaded on one end.
Bolt the floor flanges to the rims and screw the pipe into the floor flange. You figure out “J” hook that goes in the top.
A 5 gallon pail filled with cement also makes for a stable base.