T Nation

Front Squats

I have tried front squats three different ways, with mixed results. I want to hear everyone elses thoughts.

On the shoulders: This is the way I first learned them. You cros your arms and rest the baracross your shoulders. Often ends in barbell hickys and sore shoulders. The bar has a tendancy to spin during the lift and be very uncomfortable.

Clean grip: you hold the bar with your fingers with your hands facing the ceiling. From what I can tell people have more success with this grip. Unfortunatly I don’t have to wrist flexibilty to achieve this, that is something I am working on.

Strongman grip: I tried this a couple night ago in the search for a solution. I don’t know if other people have tried it. I basically cradled the bar across my forearms like they do in the comps where tehy walk in circle with weightas much as possible. I think it takes all lot of the good point out of the front squat, but may not be bad training for a wannabe strongman like me. It should probably be done seperatly from front squats.

What have you guys/gals used with success?

IMO, the clean grip is the way to go. As for ‘cradling’ the bar, that sounds like you would be doing Zercher squats.

I used to do the crossed arms approach but had problems with heavier weights.

Now, I’ve dropped down the weight and am working on the clean grip. I too, don’t have the flexibility which is why I dropped the weight.

The first couple of times my wrists actually hurt. Now, two weeks later, I’m finding it easier to do and my elbows are coming up higher.

Just keep at it.

Here is one thing you can try for the Clean grip.

Everytime you squat with that particular grip, use magnesium (grip powder) and try to hold the bar as much in the middle of your hands as possible instead of “on the tips” of the fingers.

This will hurt like hell but you’ll get used to it after a while.

I have horrible wrist flexibility, but I am trying to learn the clean grip. I don’t like the crosse arms style. I have also been experimenting with Zerchers.

On the shoulders: it’s how I have to do them for now. it’s “ok”.

Clean grip: I am trying to get to the clean grip front squat as well.

Here’s an idea: actually clean the weight to get it into perfect position. It seems to work better than artificially creating a clean grip in the rack. It “puts” the weight where it needs to be.

The last method you mentioned is actually Zercher squats. I am way too big of a pussy when it comes to contact pain, so I won’t even go there.

Bastard

I thought the cross-armed style was the easiest. When you raise your arms in that style you can feel indent in your shoulders (when you touch it with your other hand). Rest the bar right around there and it’s pretty comfortable. Is there value to doing low-rep heavy front squats instead of like 190 x 10 reps.??

dl-

I just got back from the gym and hit 365 rock bottom with a clean grip. Front squats with the clean grip only seem to work with 1-3 reps. If I go over 3 my wrists kill me, singles cause no pain.

I don’t know if it’s just about me but I feel that the cross-armed grip somewhat block my breath as it pushes way too much on my trachea (is it how it’s spelled?).

And I guess you’re right about the clean grip Pitt. Over 3reps you’ll be shaking your wrists with alot of pain and you’ll ask yourself if you didn’t pry your wrist bones or something.

[quote]pitt wrote:
I just got back from the gym and hit 365 rock bottom with a clean grip. Front squats with the clean grip only seem to work with 1-3 reps. If I go over 3 my wrists kill me, singles cause no pain.[/quote]
Nice front squat!
If your wrists are killing you, you aren’t racking the weight correctly. The weight should be across your shoulders with your fingers touching the bar for balance. Check out this video of the super heavy OL champion Hussein Raza Zedah. He is front squatting around 600. Certainly no one could support that with their wrists!

http://s47.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3A07G4H1TRIUP0F8DQP4WQRWFV

I forgot to mention I am doing strongman training-with a 2 inch axle. Go ahead and try the fingertip thing with the beast! Otherwise I completely agree. Still seems like a time thing though, low reps=no pain.

[quote]Bastard Guy wrote:
The last method you mentioned is actually Zercher squats. I am way too big of a pussy when it comes to contact pain, so I won’t even go there.
[/quote]

I tried Zercher squats for the first time this morning, and strangely, I kinda liked that pain.

Kroll, how could somoene Jerk the weight if its only on the very tip of the fingers?
The thing is that front squat with a clean grip is used to get stronger on a part of the Clean and Jerk movement. If you can’t hold that kind of weight on your shoulder/wrist (since its not all on your wrist) you can’t jerk it.

Anyway, this all depends if you are training for O-lifting or if it’s for quads strenght (or for strongman sports).

Here’s how 3-time US Olympic Team coach Jim Schmitz teaches it. Stad slightly further than arm’s reach from the bar, then rech hard and grab it. This should put your shoulders forward. Then rotate your forearms into the rack position while stepping forward. This makes it much easier to hold. Also use a brookstick to do dislocates to stretch your shoulders, and then roll your wrists around to stretch them. Schmitz has a book and video available from Ironmind, and they are excellent for teaching Olympic-style lifting. Buy the pair rather than separate items, because you’ll want to have both and its cheaper I believe.

As far as the wrists being flexible enough, I’ve found that doing 2 or 3 sets of light front squats as a warmup for each workout (not just workouts including front squats) will increase your wrist flexibility very well.

Remember, although front squats may be used to train part of the C&J, it isn’t the lift itself. Squats are for general strength more than they are for teaching specific motions. Foot spacing is slightly different, so I’m sure a slightly different grip is also OK. I think it would be fine to hold it with the fingers.


I have seen this subject discussed many times and for anyone short of a competitive OLY lifter this whole discussion of pain and suffering while maintianing form in a given movement like the front squat is rediculous…

I have been at this a very long time and suffered many injuries along the way…some I don’t mind as they were in the heat of competitive battle or in preparation for it…but useless injuries like wrist strains, shoulder strains and elbow strains are simply uselsss…and contrary to what you hear…they are the reasons people do not repetatively include these things in their routines…

I have come to be very comeptitve in many aspects of powerlifting, bench still sux…lol…and have found exercises like Front Squats and Zerchers to be staple movements for me…the reason they are and are not for so many people is the difficulty in getting them done…well…I found a solution…

I can now routinely exceed 500-550lbs on my zerchers and 400-455 for reps on my front squats…I can assure you…the pain is for wannabe tough guys at that point because its not pain…its agonizing and totally not productive…heres the solution I came up with and they are available…just look for Zercher…J

http://www.geocities.com/jmm2020/zercher.htm

If i read it right, you made that thing?

If so, it’s time to start and sell some on T-Nation.

Has anyone tried the “Sting Ray”? It’s kinda like the Manta product, but for fronts. I’ve seen it on the web, but haven’t heard an unbiased review of it.

[quote]harris447 wrote:
Has anyone tried the “Sting Ray”? It’s kinda like the Manta product, but for fronts. I’ve seen it on the web, but haven’t heard an unbiased review of it.[/quote]

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=461113

[quote]jmm2020 wrote:
I have seen this subject discussed many times and for anyone short of a competitive OLY lifter this whole discussion of pain and suffering while maintianing form in a given movement like the front squat is rediculous…

I have been at this a very long time and suffered many injuries along the way…some I don’t mind as they were in the heat of competitive battle or in preparation for it…but useless injuries like wrist strains, shoulder strains and elbow strains are simply uselsss…and contrary to what you hear…they are the reasons people do not repetatively include these things in their routines…

I have come to be very comeptitve in many aspects of powerlifting, bench still sux…lol…and have found exercises like Front Squats and Zerchers to be staple movements for me…the reason they are and are not for so many people is the difficulty in getting them done…well…I found a solution…

I can now routinely exceed 500-550lbs on my zerchers and 400-455 for reps on my front squats…I can assure you…the pain is for wannabe tough guys at that point because its not pain…its agonizing and totally not productive…heres the solution I came up with and they are available…just look for Zercher…J

http://www.geocities.com/jmm2020/zercher.htm[/quote]

That is pretty cool. It’s that kind of thinking and ingenuity that impresses the hell out of me. You sir are a true T-man!!