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Good Program for Improving Front Squat



I am looking for a program to improve my front squat. My age is 27 and I have been lifting weights for 6 years, but only the last two years I would consider real lifting, so I am still a beginner.

My stats are so far

Front Squat (ATG) = 80kg ~ 178 pounds
Deadlift = 130kg ~ 278 pounds
Power Hang Clean= 70kg ~ 155 pounds

BW = 65kg ~ 145 pounds
Height = 511`

I was doing WS4B 6 month long without good results. Right now I finished my fifth cycle of Wendlers 1-3-5, but it didn´t help my squat. My military press is still improving (from 1 x 100 pound to 6 x 115), but my squat stayed the same.
My long time goal is to front squat 1.5 BW.

I was thinking about Bill Starrs 5x5 or this on


Does someone have a good program consideration for me?



What happened in 5/3/1, you stalled?


Try more regular squats and some heavy ab exercises. A couple of my favorite variations on the front squat is to place the bar with some 25's on either side across my shoulders and do a regular front squat, but with my arms sticking straight out in front of me. This really helps to strengthen your abs and lower back as well.

The other variation is to place your heels on a 2x6 piece of wood or a 45lb plate or something along those lines and do front squats like that. This really blasts the quads, especially when done for higher reps. On Wendler's 531 program, I do this for 5 sets of 12 as one of the assistance exercises for the regular squat. Box squats and front squats from a box should help as well. Steroids are a certainly an option also and should not go unconsidered.


Steroids? for real? This is your advice for someone who considers himself a beginner?


Dude, no offense but with your numbers for the amount of time you've been lifting I'm guessing either your nutrition sucks, you don't lift that hard or both.


First of all, thanks for the answers!

@ artw: I play semi-professional basketball here in Germany, which means I get no money for doing this, but sometimes I have to pee after games...and i´m more interested to improve my strength in natural fashion.

@ Nyral : Yes, I stalled, for me it was always hard the get the reps in the last set. It started in the third cycle and ended in the fifth. After that I took a week of and tested my front squat gain with the same results as in the start.

@ White Flash: You are totally right. Nutrition and Recovery are really important and I have to improve on that alot, but the strange thing is that I got my PR deadlift a year ago (155kg ~ 344 pounds) really "easy" (of course it was hard, but I think I put the same work ethic in my squat workout like I did dl workouts). I think if I didn´t broke my index finger and so stopped deadlifting, I would have increased it even more.

So what´s the problem with my front squat?


1- When you were doing Wendler, did you calculate off 90% of your max?

2-Did you calculate your theoretical max from each session to compare it to your actual max using his formula: (weight lifted x rep x 0.0333)+ weight lifted? I found that it helps when you see you theoretical max progress (or not) to give you an estimation of where you are at and to give you a target for next week, even if it's not the same weight/reps.

3- When you tested your max, how exactly did you proceed for both times and were they BOTH ATG?


1- yes

2- I did calculate, it stayed the same

3- A friend was watching me on my max attempts, so that I had some kind of feedback and he told me they were all ATG and the same depth. I know that´s not rellay excatly, but I didn´t know how to do it in another fashion.


Hmmm it might help to see the rest of your program at this point. What about your other lifts, did they go up?


So how much did you weigh when you started lifting seriously 2 years ago?
You should probably tinker with your program, but nutrition is more important. Eat.


Wow, the sarcasm went right over your head didn't it? Fuck, you're about as sharp as a fucking balloon huh? Jesus christ....


Hey folks,

last night I started this westside desease program...and I can tell you the bike ride afterwards wasn´t fun.
I only added power snatch and rdl to this so the programm looks like this ...

power snatch (70%-85% of my max and a maximun of 5 reps)
front squats (westside desase)
weighted ab-work

I will give it a try til christmas...

@ Nyral: for upper body I´m doing only mp, chin-ups (16 x bw), close-grip bench press (1 x 170pounds) and dips (20 x bw). But to tell you the truth, I really don´t care that much about upper body work. Legs are my first priority, cos of playing my sport.


Never heard of that program I'll look it up. If you can take a video of yourself squatting that would be a good way to assess your form, see if it's weak somewhere. Taping a max effort would be even better to see what fails first in your lift.

Good luck with the program! If it doesn't work, then maybe you could do back squats for a while, progress on them and then go back to front squats.

@ artw: Sorry I misinterpreted the tone of your VOICE which was clearly sarcastic.


I mean it's been said, but the problem is not your program, it's your diet. 5' 11" and 145 lbs and you wonder why your front squat is stuck? Eat enough to gain 20 lbs over the next 3-4 months and you're squat will shoot up 50 lbs+.


If you're a basketball player, why do you even care about your front squat to begin with? You can get it up by eating more and gaining more size, but that'll just hamper your game. If I were you, I'd concentrate on explosive squats and front squats and ballistic movements like jumping squats with about 20% of your 1rm.

You should be more worried about bar speed with anything between 10% to 50% of your 1rm, rather than worrying about how much is on the bar. If you really want to go heavy, do 6-8 heavy singles with 90% of your 1rm. I'm sure some people will be shocked at this, but do squats and front squats with 90% of your 1rm at less than parallel.

It's not the best way to gain size, but it's easier to avoid injuries while inseason this way and it more closely mimics the jumping motion while playing basketball. I'd also go less than parallel when doing jumping squats for the same reason.


@ bluefingas: I gained around 15 pounds...

@ challer1: Of course one big problem is my nutritution. But on the other side there must be more. A year ago on a skitrip, I had the opportunity to see Sven Hannawald (German Pro in ski jumping) while lifting weights. This guy is around 6 feet and I would say the same weight I have. He back squatted (atg) his 2.5bw x 3.

I only want to say that´s a kind of frustrating eating at least 120g of protein and 300g of carbs everyday, training hard and don´t see an improvemt in the main lift.


That's not even 1700 Cals. Add in some fat, and you might be getting 2100. At 145, your RESTING metabolism will eat up almost 1600. Add 250 for weight training and 300 for daily NEPA and you're at a deficit.


I agree with artw, I mean is your squat more important, or your vertical jump? Those are 2 different types of training...

And do look at how many kcals your are eating including fats.


You should not hold yourself to that comparison, for a couple reasons.

  1. Generally, elite athletes have great genetics. This is why they are elite athletes.

  2. Different limb lengths = different strengths. Sven Hannawald might have really short femurs setting him up to squat big weight, and you might have really long femurs which could work against you.

In addition to a host of other factors, like bigger bone structure (less muscle at the same weight), more upper body muscle, differences in fiber composition, more neural inhibition.. plus the fact that people tend to back squat a good bit more than they front squat, it's not really a comparison at all.

All that I see is you mention is that you have done WS4sB and 5/3/1, which are great programs, and not seen results. I also see that you are 5'11" 145 lbs. There's no need to over complicate it; forget swapping through a variety of programs and just pick up some body weight and I guarantee you will get the strength increases you are looking for.


Did some reading about Hannawald. He was borderline anorexic and was in really shitty condition a few years back. Then his coach convinced him to move up a weight class, he started eating more, and BAM! best season of his career.

So when you saw him, he was eating more.