T Nation

Help with the Front Squat

Hi Coach Thibs,

I’ve looked around the sight but haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for and was wondering if you could help owed to your knowledge and background in Olympic lifting.

I’ve been doing front squats for some time now but have been using the bodybuilding method (arms across shoulders method). I however would like to switch to the Olympic technique as I would like to do Olympic lifts and cleans ect in the future. The problem is that the flexibility in my shoulders, arms and wrist suck apparently.

If I get my upper arms up to parallel my hands/fingers are a good few inches away from my shoulders. Are there any techniques, methods or stretches I can incorporate to fix this problem? I tried the method of putting straps around the bar but this made the bar seem very unstable. Or should I just work on improving the flexibility in my shoulders, arms and wrists/forearms?

Thanks in advance

This is an issue I’m having as well. I’ve been working a lot on doing cleans and trying to learn the clean grip front squat, but it absolutely is unbearable due to flexibility issues causing pain in my hands. I’ve just been doing cleans with a different “catch” in order to work around it, but is that safe when going heavier?

I’m no expert but my experience with moving to the clean grip was that it just required regular practice; basically I got into as close to the correct position as I could with a racked weight every time I went to the gym. Then I started doing push presses with bar only using the clean grip, then added weight, then bar only front squats, then weighted front squats. Won’t work for everyone but I found this progression to be very effective. The idea is that you can start on the unweighted exercises before you’ve gotten the grip down 100%. The push presses are useful because you’re not having to hold the -at first- uncomfortable position for too long but are dropping back into it with every rep. Just my 2 cents.

I progressed by the amount of fingers I used on the bar. It’s probably just wrist flexibility that’s holding you back. So maybe try a good solid front squat grip with the elbows as high as you can but just use say two fingers underneath the bar. Do that for awhile and move onto 3 fingers, then the full 4 fingered grip. This worked for me, I hope it helps.

Cool guys, thanks for the advice. I’ll start trying it this week and let you know how it goes