T Nation

Make Front Squats More Comfy

I’m enjoying reps on the front squat right now but it’d be even more effective if I wasn’t getting distracted by the bar scratching up my clavicles and could just rep the weight out all day. Sometimes I lock out a bit harder to pop the bar off my shoulders and readjust it midway but this is like wasted energy that should go to squats.

I do a full clean grip. Is there a way or cue to hold the bar to minimise clavicle irritation or some other way to make the rack position more comfy? Can I get a super thin version of a bar pad?

1 Like

It sounds like you’re not getting your elbows high enough. There should be enough meat to keep the bar clear from bones (or eat you skinny prick)

Also consider a bar that has a large centre smooth area.


How sharp is the knurling? I think I’ve heard of people taping up parts of the knurling so it doesn’t rub directly against the skin.

1 Like

I’ve made the mistake of using a bar with knurling in the middle and it didn’t scratch my clavicles at all. As said before, that’s probably happening because your elbows aren’t high enough which also helps with arching your upper back.

However, when I used a bar like that it did scratch up my neck so before I looked like I had just left a S&M dungeon I wrapped a lifting strap around that part and it did the charm.

1 Like

I agree with the elbows up higher making the sit more on the front delts. this may cause more pressure on the wrists though depending on flexibility.

What kind of weight are you using? If your not using too much weight and shooting for high reps do you have dumbbell heavy enough for goblet squats?


I have this problem too !! I have no advice, but it’s comforting to know I’m not alone :slight_smile:


I also do a full clean grip and had the exact same issue. Getting elbows higher is the answer. In order to do that you may need to widen your grip a bit and think “elbows up and in”. For me, this has the added benefit of forcing a bit more thoracic extension. I used to have my index fingers right at the knurling. Moving hands 1-2 inches wider made a huge difference.


I have seen people wrap a towel around the bar, you could try that. I hate front squats, not only do they bother my clavicles but my shoulders, wrists, and elbows too. A safety squat bar gives you similar leverages and you can handle more weight, if you have access to one then you could use that instead.

1 Like

I just did front squats yesterday and was thinking the same thing. I rotate the cross arm hold and the clean grip (which is tough for me flexibility-wise). It does seem to rest on my clavicles and today they are sore. I like them otherwise.

1 Like

Go No Hands, with your arms stuck out front like Frankenstein for awhile. Without your arms to worry about you’ll figure out how to shoulder the bar with the quickness.


Clean grip front squats are pretty much for gym Show-Offs.


I use a bar without center knurling for front squats because of this problem.

If getting your elbows higher proves to be an issue, use the lifting straps (I seen it covered in an article), or use wrist wraps for support.

1 Like

Um. Do zerchers instead. You don’t need mobility, just toughness.


I just do SSB squats.


Just get your triceps, wrists, forearms, and lats more flexible. You’ll be able to grip it then.

Make your shoulders beefier. It’ll rest on them vs your clavicles.

I do clean grip (full grip) and I don’t have any pain. But my upper back, quads, and ass get sore as hell.

And as a side note, Front Squats will NEVER be comfy. They suck. I love them and do them once a week, but if you want comfort, front squats will never be comfortable.

1 Like

When I first started doing front squats I found figuring out how to properly place and hold the bar very difficult, but they seemed to be an extremely good training stimulus so I persevered and after many months and a decent amount of experimenting I now feel relatively comfortable with them. Here are a few tips.

Where a t shirt that has a relatively high collar around your next so that as little skin as possible touches the bar.

The bar rests on muscle, not bone. If it rests on bone it is painful. You want it mostly resting on front felt muscle.

The previous tip about practicing some with your arms out straight in front of you is really good. Untamed strength has a nice video showing how to use lifting straps to deal with wrist flexibility problems if you have true wrist flexibility problems, but I imagine very few people need that.

Experiment with different grip widths.

I personally only try to keep 2 fingers on the bar, and no more. Experiment with number of fingers on the bar and how w far apart your fingers are.

Whenever technique is a problem high frequency is a very good idea. Do front squats at least twice a week, possible 3x if you have enough gym days to do so.

Tip Ihor from one of rippetoe’s books: since front squats are technically challenging for you, do more sets with fewer reps per set. So I like doing sets of 4 or 5 reps and then 4-6 sets. This plus higher frequency worked really well to improve my technique since it gives more practice getting into rack position.

Focus a lot on arching your upper back while getting into rack position. This helps me get my elbows up.

1 Like

SSB Front squats are an option.

Or try cross arm and/or straight arm.

Or less reps per set/more sets overall to help reduce the bar shifting.

1 Like

Thanks all. I’ll try out some of your ideas probably tonight:

Bar with no centre knurl
Drive elbows up/higher
Zombi squats
If those don’t help might wrap something around the bar

EDIT and eat more to get bigger

You could use one of those sting ray thingies.

Or just eat more

Taking the thread on like a tangent now but may as well ask about SSB also since it’s come up.

@flipcollar @chris_ottawa

I have tried SSB before like briefly. There’s my thoughts and a vid in this post on my log but I think the summary of my initial thoughts was that the SSB wasn’t quite as front squat like as I was hoping, sat awkwardly on my shoulders, would mess with my regular squat technique and overall I just wasn’t a fan.

Was I SSBing wrong? Are there poorly designed SSBs floating around? Does it just take time.

I don’t see anything really wrong with your SSB technique. It’s possible that the pad sucks if it hurts your shoulder, not all SSBs are created equal. It probably just feels weird because you’re not used to it, my SSB squat was like 60% of my back squat when I first started using it. It’s not going to be exactly the same as a front squat no matter what but it’s closer to it for sure. I wouldn’t worry about it messing with your squat technique any more than front squat would, as long as you are doing enough back squatting you should be fine.

1 Like