T Nation

Help With Front Squats


#1

Whenever I front squat I kill my wrists. For some reason they just seem to kill me. I've tried resting the bar on my clavicles, but that hurts my wrists even more. I have also tried the "bodybuilder" type front squat with crossed hands. That seems alright, but it's hard for me to balance the weight correctly. Any suggestions? thanks


#2

Whenever I put front squats into my program I make sure to do a couple of light sets even on days that I'm not training legs during the first week. In my case it's a question of wrist flexibility and doing front squats two or three times in one week seems to solve the problem.

I've also found that basic wrist stretches that are outlined in Ian King's Lazy Man's Guide to Stretching article help as well.


#3

Agreed, with two additions:

It could be the hands themselves that are tight. Try stretching back each individual finger gently, including the thumb, and see if there's any parts that are very tight. If so, stretch them.

How high up are you able to keep your elbows? If you can't get them up high enough, sometimes the wrists try to go TOO far back to overcompensate.

As a general rule, fix the dysfunction rather than avoid the exercise.

-Dan


#4

Be patient. It has taken me six months of weekly front squat sessions to get acceptably comfortable. Also, I recently sarted using Inzer wrist wrapps when going for PRs or when my wrists need a break. They are a big help. Front squats are worth all the work and discomfort -- hang in there.


#5

front squats didnt get comfortable for me till my shoulders got bigger... go figure


#6

Have you tried either the plastic "sting ray" or using lifting straps? Both were shown in a article by Charles Poliquin in muscle media from 12/97 to help with the problem you are having. I myself have very long arms and have sucess with both the sting ray or using the lifting straps which keep the elbows up in the clean position. The old mm article will be hard to find, but the lifting strap techique is shown on Michael Boyles "function training progressions video" and "strenght training for performace enhancement video" as well as page 57 of his "functional training for sports" book which should be availabe at any big bookstore like borders or barnes and noble. Dont give up with the front squat it is a great exercise. gymrat ps if you would like a copy of the mm article email me and I`ll send it to you.


#7

Guys-
how many times do I have to tell you that front squats are an unnatural act?
Scrawny newbies can do them because they don't have any muscles yet.
Experienced lifters will only torture themselves with self-doubt as they hurt their wrists, bruise their collar bones, feel awkward and generally weak and pathetic.
What does this tell you? If you are strong and this exercise is detrimental to your body and your psyche, don't do it.
Actually, I use a variation that is much less painful and allows for better strength development.
When I front squat, I simply move the bar BEHIND my neck onto my traps and hold it there. Much less painful, and I'm stronger to boot.!!!
If I use a narrow stance, I get a great quad workout and I don't have to post here at T-Nation, wondering why my wrists hurt and I can't lift as much as my 10 year old son.
Please members of T-Nation - do your front squats with the bar in back!!!
Stop the madness, stop the pain, stop the worry. You can thank me now or you can thank me later.


#8

Until you're right. Feel free to develop carpal tunnel in the process.

When you can show a reason as to WHY they're unnatural and why a larger lifter shouldn't be able to do them, post again. Until then, stop spreading misinformation.

-Dan


#9

I don't get when he says scrawnt newbies can do them because they don't have any muscles yet. If they have no muscles yet how the hell would they front squat weight?

dl- I like front squats.


#10

1) Stretch your wrists everyday. Get on all fours and stretch them forward and back. Sit back on your heels when that is easy.

2) Only use two fingers to hold onto the bar. I still only use two fingers, though I can rack a clean easily.

3) Keep your elbows up. Some will say keep them in as well. But force them up, usually a person drops them in the hole. Force them up the entire time. Choke yourself with the bar.

4) Keep your elbows up.

5) Keep your elbows up.


#11

Gentlemen-
The above post was intended as satire.
Did you read far enough to see the 'behind the neck' version of front squats? did you think about that for even a moment?

Seriously, I see many posting about having problems front squatting. Mostly its about discomfort or pain racking the bar.
'choke yourself with the bar' is a good thing?
I marvel when I see someone do heavy front squats. but many lifters find them painful.
did you ever wonder if they really are an 'unnatural' act? tell me your wrists don't kill when doing them.

anyway, try to differentiate between 'misinformation' and satire.
sorry if I misled anyone...


#12

You could say that a lot of the lifts we do are 'unnatural'. Front squats are awkward and difficult to get adjusted to and become comfortable with. Moreso than a lot of other exercises. But with practice, they no longer seem unnatural, and they are very beneficial, so it's worth taking the time to learn them.


#13

I have front squatted right around 500lbs for reps-no problems at all with the wrists. Some discomfort-but I expect discomfort during exercise. It did take time and practice for me to develop the necessary technique to do this movement.

So many people "try" something once or twice and decide to discard it based on how they feel during those initial attempts-you have to stick with it long enough to decide if it is going to be effective for you or not


#14

I thought it was funny.


#15

It came across more as sarcastic misinformation than satire - sorry about the breakdown in communication. Given how many people say front squats are bad because they "hurt their wrists," though, it was easy to interpret as a sarcastic push to only do back squats and never front squats.

My wrists don't kill when I do them. I've done 1/3 front squats from pins with 450, no bruised collar bone, no wrist discomfort. Only the pressure you'd expect from a decent amount of weight pushing down on you.

Choking yourself with the bar is NOT a good thing. Once proper flexibility is established, there's no need.

You see many people posting about having problems front squatting because many people aren't very flexible. It's probably affecting other exercises too, they just don't realize it because the discomfort isn't as localized.

-Dan


#16

atm i do front squats with the bar across the shoulders and cross my hands on the bar to hold it...im new at doing them and can get out roughly 160 for reps. My cousin in law told me to do them with a clean grip as it helps with flexibility and also with your cleans (duh :wink: i suggest starting off light and building up...in my ltd time doing them, i LOVE EM!!!!

in fact, they are next on my ME leg day in 3 weeks time, cant wait!!!


#17

When you are doing front squats the weight needs to be held on the shoulders. Don't try to hold the weight with your fingers. The fingers are just hooks to keep the bar in place. Keep the elbows high. When coming up out of the hole, make sure you are not lifting the weight with your hands as well as your legs. Trying to push the weight up with your hands will just make your wrists ache.


#18

OK, Major Dan's post may have been satire, but their was a grain of truth in it. If you lack the flexibility to do front squats without pain, you have three choices:

Work on your flexibility until you can do them without pain;

Keep doing them even though it hurts; or

Stop doing them and find an alternative.

The question you have to ask yourself is "Why do I want to do front squats?" Obviously if you want to do Oly lifting, you have no choice. Otherwise, though, you can look for alternatives that achieve similar results but don't hurt. There's no rule that says everyone has to do front squats, or that your body development will be unbalanced if you don't do them.

As an alternative for strengthening quads, I'd suggest you try pistols. Once you get up to a reasonable number with bodyweight, start doing them with a dumbbell or kettlebell for added resistance. Then you can start doing them standing on a bench so that you can go lower.