T Nation

My Front Squat Sucks

…Ok just switched to Front Squats for a few weeks in order to mix things up and my Front Squat sucks!

Any pointers on increasing the elbow flexibility to make them more comfortable? Currently, the way the weight rests on my collar bone and the problem of trying to keep my elbows up is meaning that I can only use very low weight and I am worried that I am not stimulating my legs enough.

I use a clean grip instead of a crossed grip as I want to improve my Cleans (one of the reason for doing Front Squats)

Any advice gladly accepted.

A good stretch to do at the end of a workout is grip the bar as you would for a front squat and have someone push your elbows up from the front. Have them hold it there a few seconds, then release, and repeat. The wrist and elbow flexibility will come with time and a lot of practice.

You could switch to a different grip…like arms crossed, or use the lifting straps…or a stretch my friend told me about (he is an oly lifting coach in alabama) is to load up the bar in a power rack with like 600 lbs., and get under it like your front squatting. You won’t pick it up but will stretch the triceps and all that follows and possibly help the front squat.

You can always go wider and work your grip in as your flexibility improves. When front squatting for reps, I like to use a grip slightly wider than what I would traditionally clean with.

thanks for the advice everyone, as stated, I want to stick with the clean grip as I am looking to get the flexibility to improve my cleans as well.

I will try these ideas out on my next training. In the meantime, any other stretching ideas would be greatly recieved.

Yuri Sedykh hammer world record holder

“I do not front squat, front squats are good, some people front squat, I do not front squat”

Unless you need to develop power out of the bottom for recovery of a clean, if they are not comfortable, they may not be for you.

I’ve found my wrist and elbow flexibility has been helped dramatically by push pressing. It just naturally over the course of a few weeks eased my wrists into being able to flex way further back.

I’ve found my shoulder flexibility was helped quite a bit by back squats. Obviously not the squat part, but the positioning. Bring the hands as far in as possible, elbows by your side not flaring. That stretches my shoulders.

When I back squat I have no problem getting my hands in really tight. My flexibility is actually pretty good from BJJ, however I just find the Front Squat or CLean Catch position really uncomfortable.

Front Squatting more.

Eventually the flexibility will come. Thats how it worked for me. After about 2-3 weeks you’ll be accustomed to it.

I would definitely stretch my bi’s/tri’s beforehand and just keep working on perfecting form.

or just don’t front squat…as the mighty Jim Wendler says: “the back squat will always be king, while the front squat is the ambiguously gay cousin of the squat family.”

LOL

Was planning to use the front squat for 4 weeks then switch back to back squats to get the weight up.

Front squatting from a high rack position with extra weight. Squat from the rack set up anywhere from 2-5 holes below the normal rack position.

Also, do this with bands on the bar, and attempt to hold at the top for 20 seconds.

I got up to a full front squat with 302.5 (don’t know if that is good) in about 2 months of once a week training-front squats one time and rack front squats the next.

Crossed over grip.

BTW it really seemed to help my bench press AND deadlift and was much better on my back than back squats.

[quote]GMH454 wrote:
Yuri Sedykh hammer world record holder

“I do not front squat, front squats are good, some people front squat, I do not front squat”

Unless you need to develop power out of the bottom for recovery of a clean, if they are not comfortable, they may not be for you.[/quote]

Mate, no disrepect to Yuri but he’s a HAMMER thrower and his goal isn’t to get comfortable in a front squat with a clean grip. Front squating is monumental for 99.9% of guys OLifting to help their Cleans out. Very few lifters will not front squat and those have tried have come back to a weaker front squat. Squats aren’t everything in the Olifts but they sure as hell help.

Mobility:
Windmills. Stand tall arms swing BACKWARDS GENTLY. START SLOW and BUILD up speed. Keep head looking forwards.
Do about 35 rotations.

Put your hands together like your about to pray. SLOWLY move around. Do this for about 20x or so.

Rack a bar in the rack in a front squat position. Have the bar tight against your neck, like in the front squat/ Clean rack positon. One elbow goes up and ones goes down. DO THIS SLOWLY. Keep your body straight and close to the bar. DO NOT TWIST in order to get the elbow higher. This will LESSON the affect of the stretching and purpose of the exercise.

You can put your wrist against a wall and gently move your elbows up. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS. Do not be aggressive in this exercise. Your wrists are DELICATE!

Front squating more will help a lot.

Stretch when not lifting also. A guy I’m coaching could not do it. About 4months later he has no issues doing a clean grip front squat for reps. MUCH BETTER. It took him 4months due to his inflexibility, but he is here now :slight_smile:

Koing