T Nation

Implementing Front Squat Holds


#1

Been wondering how are they usually programmed into training.
I gathered to start off with about 120% of 1RM, but everything else isn’t clear - how many sets, what duration, how do they interact with other exercises in terms of soreness, when to perform them (right after squats? end of workout?).
Any suggestion would be useful


Need to Strengthen My Core for Front Squats
#2

I’d just do like 15 second holds with a heavier weight than your max at the end of the main squat work. Also worth mentioning, you don’t necessarily have to perform this movement with a weight that is heavier than your current front squat max, as I’ve had arguably better stimulus of the upper back doing it with about 80-90% for longer intervals.

I’d consider also, that a very heavy weight can be dangerous. For me personally, I’ve felt immense pressure on the discs in my spine, albeit I did it without a belt. Still, perhaps indicating a benefit to doing it with lighter weights.

Try like 75-85% for 30 seconds intervals and sets of 3-5.


#3

I never felt like this paid off.


#4

One way I have used them before is with max effort work I would run 2 week waves. First week heavy set of triples up to a max set small jumps. Than after that max set I would hold about 105 percent of my max PR of that exercise for around 10 seconds. than the next week I would try to hit that weight or a little less, it was very effective to get used to heavy weight in your hands, Had it work better for pressing exercises like floor press, bench, two board etc more than equating variations.


#5

Srsly. Before the how you need the why:

For Olympic Weightlifting? Strongman? Powerlifting? An actual sport?

Increasing Front Squat? Increasing Front Squat to Increase Back Squat? Increase FS to increase C+J?

Overload? CNS Overloading? Improve front rack stability? Load upper back isometrically?


#6

Start with the weight of your stop set (even if your top set was like 5RM). Do about 30 second holds. Use your best judgement on how much higher it should be. Probably 105-110% of 1RM is all you would ever need I don’t think there is a point in going higher and even lower could work depending on your goals. Some people said to do less than 1RM, but I think it depends what kind of weight your using here. Maybe your 1RM sucks so holding more isn’t a big deal.


#7

To look cool at the gym with a bunch of weight in the front squat position. But that kind of backfires with these because when you don’t squat it just looks like you put too much on the bar like and decided not to do the lift.


#8

Just keep reracking and adding weight and everyone will think it just felt too light for you.


#9

None of those, I don’t compete and I don’t train in any specific sport, just workout and running 5/3/1 with front squats as my main squat movement currently.
So the reasons are:

Definitely these.
I want front squats to improve - as a premise, sufiandy got it right, my front squat and squat in general isn’t great. To improve poundages, I “only” need to train it, for now, so I’m not looking at holds to improve my actual numbers.
What I want to address with rack holds is tightness, staying rigid and squatting more vertical, which is something I want to improve regardless of the style I’m squatting.
And hopefully, this will lead to better technique and numbers down the road.

Overload especially is the main reason why I wanted to look into holds.
My gym has no specific equipment for loaded carries, I still do them with dumbbells and plates (and I’ll keep them in my routine), but front squat holds allow for a better progression since they can be increased along with TM increase from cycle to cycle, they don’t require specific equipment, they take less time, reinforce the specific position I want to improve and hopefully help with the “oh shit it’s heavy” feeling I get when I’m working up to heavier sets of FS.

As a side note, I already do band pull aparts (daily), face pulls (each workout), chins, rows (when the program allows).
Since I front squat 3x/week and my abs are already getting some work, I prefer to split up leg raises and do less reps (25-30 per workout) twice a week supersetting them with some other main lift.
Eventually, I’d introduce holds in a program (Full Body 16) with FS 3x/week, press 3x/week, deads 2x/week.
Should be all the infos

Lol where I train there’s no need to actually move “big” weights to look “cool” - just squatting regularly puts you into the small minority of people who’re actually training and not bouncing from a cardio machine to a zumba lesson


#10

Lucky you. TBH it sounds like you’re front squatting would benefit more from using a short supramaximal hold or a rep at a high-ish percentage before your working sets and concentrating on rep quality.

No need to get fancy with it just use a heavier weight then you plan to work with for the day and should achieve the desired effect. Enough to make everything feel like light weight baby when you drop back down.

No one’s back ever rounds out at the top position of the front squat anyways. Paused Front Squats are about as terrible as they sound and about as effective.

Sounds fun walking around the gym with a loaded barbell racked across your front delts, knocking motherfuckers out. Zerchers are a decent alternative if you’ve not tried them

Anything more than using front rack holds as a primer for working sets i.e. with decent volume and weighted carries to boot will tax your recovery resources noticeably. If it’s taking away from the rest of your lifting consider going with the minimalist approach.


#11

Minimalist approach sounds perfect.
I’ve been pausing at the bottom in the last few weeks, forgot to mention. In the current program i power clean the bar on 5x5FSL sets, then I either pause the first rep at the bottom and do the following ones at normal speed, or I do all reps at normal speed and pause the last one at the bottom.
Not confident enough to power clean the bar on 5’s Pro sets or SSL sets (in this last case I’ve done it once or twice when the rack was busy but my clean form sucks balls so I prefer to avoid it).
But this last program had deads 1/week, next one is 2/week (and 10x5FSL) so I’d rather avoid the clean part for work sets and do it only on warmup sets.

To make sure I understood your suggestion, this would be the course of action:
-10x5FSL day: rack hold at higher load, about TM, for 2-3 sets of <10 secs (?) before work sets, no paused reps;
-work up to TM x 3-5 day: no rack hold, no paused reps;
-5x5FSL day: rack hold at higher load, about TM, for 2-3 sets of <10 secs (?) before work sets, pausing either first or last rep of each set;

Loaded carries are programmed twice a week (about 300mt total distance, light-ish load); leg raises are 50-60 total reps per week split into two days and superset with deads.
I’ve never done 10x5 front squats before but I expect them to be tiring, might have to dial them down to 10x3


#12

That’s one way to go about it. The way I see it you can be on a spectrum between just front squats and using front squat rack holds as their own exercise and putting in due effort. What I suggested was being towards the former.

10 seconds by 3 is a lot of, for lack of a better description, time under tension, for your upper back. It’s equivalent to 1 or 2 sets worth. It’s a pre exhaust instead of a primer.

Instead am suggesting 1 set of 5 seconds (Quite a different training effect obviously): get your air, commit to the unrack with purposeful aggression, walk out/set feet, brace/get air as tight as if you were to descend but don’t, 5 second hold, return to rack and exhale. Begin working sets and weight will feel lighter in the rack

Both methods can be effective depending on what you want to accomplish: get cleaner reps in and let your upper back adapt with that training effect or hammer the back with pre exhaust to emphasise it more.

Meant to be tiring so dun be little bitch lel. Srsly tho however hard the workout the fatigue generated/accumulated and whether you can recover from that in the context of your program is what you should be concerned about.

e.g. Thru experience I have found my maximal recoverable volume to be about 20-22 weekly working sets

MRV is individual so you need to know yourself well or find out soon. It’s handy because then if you are far below MRV you are leaving potential gains on the table and if you know your upper limit you know how much you can push in training.


#13

Thanks, that’s what I was looking for, I couldn’t figure how to translate “seconds of hold” into an equivalent of sets/reps/volume. Would have never thought that a 10 sec hold would work as pre-exhaustion.

The primer option is definitely the one I want to go for.
My only doubt is - does this “priming” have carryover on long term technique improvement? Meaning that, if I keep doing it as laid out above, along with pausing at the bottom on certain sets, can I expect over time to stay more upright and rigid?
A 5-sec hold twice a week doesn’t sound like much on itself, but I want to look at long term improvements

I will also be doing high pulls (10x3 EMOM) twice a week so I’d rather not pre exhaust the upper back.

Still figuring it out. When I was doing 4/week upper lower programs with one main lift per day, I felt like I had godly recovery (< hyperbole). Moving into full body and squatting 3/week gave me a nice kick in the ass, but I probably needed it


#14

It’s in the name. This allows your subsequent working sets/reps to be cleaner. Endeavour to make every rep of every set look perfect and down the road you’ll get your improvements.