T Nation

Help with Front Squats


So I've been doin normal squats for the past year or so and came to a sticking point so I thought I'd switch it up to front squats. I've never really done front squats before and it feels a bit akward doing them.

I feel like if I put the bar further back on my shoulders I'm almost choking myslef but if I rest the bar a bit further forward it starts slipping down onto my biceps... Can anyone give me some advice or pointers on proper front squats. Also, is it a good idea to kinda lean back and look up a bit as you rep...? thx!



Well what type of grip are you using?

I use regular grip (not arms crossed) and find the putting the bar back to where it's lightly pressing againt my throat is best.


You want it to be far enough back where you almost feel like you are choking yourself. Couple that with keeping your eyes forward and you should be good to go. Practice with lighter weight until you get comfortable with the technique. Good luck.


I keep my head up and my elbows up. During the set, if I feel the bar is not sturdy on my shoulders I will try to drive my elbows even higher. As I start working on my heavier sets I always tend to drive the bar into my throat near the end of the set to keep it stable. Its something u get used to.


The bar hits my throat before my shoulders with front squats... After trying a few different methods I just chalked it up as my body is not designed for this lifting system.


yea thanks for the pointers! It is kinda akward in the beginning. Also, I am very surprised at how much less weight I use for these vs normal squats!! About half the weight!!


takes a while to find your sweet spot


That will improve as you get acclimated to the form, obviously.

Also - if you have money to spare, I've heard GREAT things about this product, (I'll be investing soon:)



What kind of grip are you using for these?


Yeah, it kinda chokes me too, but not too bad. When I used light weight I noticed I ended up just holding the bar up,elbows not high enough, and not having the bar high enough on my shoulders.

Once I got to heavier weight there's no way my hands could support the weight and it forced me to keep my elbows up and bar on my deltoids.


I just started doing front squats as well.

I first tried the crossover grip and the bar slipped twice on the last rep of two sets but i was still able to get it up, just off center and rolling forward.

I switched to the snatch grip for the second day and positioned it so i was almost choking myself out, lots of strain on my arms but I suppose it will get better.

Crossover grip hurt my shoulders and clavicles more than snatch though. But I still think I am doing something wrong so i could go for some help too. I just want to make sure that my grip isn't the limiting factor in what I front squat, and right now it seems like that will happen as my weight goes up.


I use the snatch grip because I had a similar problem with the crossover as you. If you are having a strain on your arms I would say to play around with the width you are placing your hands at until you find the most comfortable position for you. Also try to make sure you are keeping your arms parallel to the ground.


Practicing your set up will help tremendously.

Stand at an angle to a loaded barbell on a rack, Take a clean grip with one arm and drive that elbow up as high as possible. Switch sides and repeat. Then do both arms at once.

Your elbows should be inside your wrists too. I seen some guy doing fronts with his hands inside his elbows. he looked to be very uncomfortable and having a hard time keeping the bar in place.

Also remember with fronts the first thing to rise out of the hole should be your elbows.


Ty for the help and thanks to Joe as well.

I will remember to keep my elbows inside my hands and find what feels right for me. All of this is good to know and I really appreciate it!


I took me over a year to "get it", so don't discourage yourself.

Olympic grip might more "functionnal" and the bar will place itself just a the right place. But if you have stiff meaty wrists it will be painful enough you'll stop doing them.

I started doing them again when I switch to crossed-arm version. The bar should rest just in front of the front deltoid belly and be in front of your collar bones (not touching them). Start with the pussy pad on the bar, the bar will place itself right and you'll avoid brusing your shoulders.


Make sure you shrug your shoulders up slighty, the bar won't choke you then.


It's sort of OT, but does anyone have tricep/rear delt stretches specific to snatch grip front squatting? After a bit of fatigue, my tris seem to want to contract which pulls the weight forward and is a PITA for balancing the weight. (olympic grip, resting on the delts&trachea)

(search attempts here mostly led to DC type stuff, & my arms have a 'leetle' ways to go before I'm there.) :slight_smile:


i do it for my squat warm-ups.. usually work through half of the weight i can back squat.. i position the bar really close to my throat doing crossover grip and keep my elbows up.


checked out some different grip options, that harness thing SSC mentioned looks freakin awesome.. kinda pricey though, and I'd feel like a dork walkin into the gym with that and squattin a measly 225lbs... haha.... but def. a cool product! I think cross arm works best for me.. i think next time i should get it right thanks to all the tips.. so far im really likin the front squats though, u can go really deep, and ur always forced to keep good form and not lean forward (which is the tendancy for me when i go heavy on normal squats..)


Until you can afford a harness, use wrist-straps.
You basically tighten the straps around the bar at grip-width and then grab the loose ends with your hands in a neutral position above the bar... The closer you can get your hands to the bar the better.

I'm personally much more stable with that setup vs. a cross-grip.

One thing: The bigger you get (shoulders and upper-chest wise), the more "comfortable" front squats become.

As a skinny beginner I hated the exercise, now I don't have to do much more than raise my arms and the bar fits perfectly (though I go low in reps on those and thus still use the straps for safety)...