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Strengthening Core for Front Squats


So thanks to a fucked up back, I've been neglecting any heavy lower body work for a very long time now, opting instead to train my legs through pre-exhaust and mega high reps.

But I've had the inclination to go heavy again on front squats. I think if I pay attention to mobility and shit like that I should be alright.

Thing is, my core is WEAK now. Legs can handle the load, but core is nowhere near.

How would you big strong fellers go about fixing that?



Ain’t a strong fella but anyways, have you considered heavy front squat unracks? Go heavy enough and you’ll be shaking from head to toe.


I have done these occasionally. After doing 2-3 sets of ab work in more traditional ways I hold the weight 1-2 times for 5-10 seconds.

At least they really feel in my abs. Amount of shaking can be surprising at first.


Heavy RKC Planks

Try not to wear a belt while front squatting unless it’s necessary.

I think paused front squats may help as well but never tried them myself before.

I also really like the palloff press but not sure if it would help with the front squats in particular.

  1. Clam shell, or leg curl, or lunge or hip thrust. Whatever works to get your hips “turned on” and working and underneath you, to take the load off your back.

  2. Side-to-side abs with the landmine. The load is way out front, way up high, and way out to the sides.

Repeat those 3-5 times for 8-12 reps. All core. Nowhere for the mid section to hide.


Do more front squats and your core will get stronger.


Reverse hypers and ab wheel would be my go to.


Did you ever try that big “reverse ab wheel” where you strap your feet to it? You kinda drag your legs around like an injured Chihuahua.


Only mildly strong chiming in, but nothing leaves me as sore as weighted ab wheel work.


[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
Did you ever try that big “reverse ab wheel” where you strap your feet to it? You kinda drag your legs around like an injured Chihuahua.[/quote]
Hehehe, this sounds fun. Kind of like wheel barrows without a partner!


All of the above are good suggestions. Just make sure you learn how to brace your abs hard, otherwise you’ll just be wasting your time. My favorite is doing paused breathing front squats. You’ll have to be capable of doing paused front squats and engaging your abs really well before doing the paused breathing version. I haven’t felt anything hit my abs as hard.

You can also do what FlatsFarmer posted for hip and ab work and then do the front squats after to make sure you’re engaging your abs as much as possible. You get more out of the ab bracing work if you’re using your hips properly. Once it’s very easy to engage your abs, I think it would be more useful to transition to heavier work without pre-exhausting it.

With mobility, the main thing is to ensure you’re loading up your muscles throughout the range of motion. It’s fine if you start off with a limited ROM, keep the load the same and improve the ROM over time. IMO, it is useless to open up the range of motion to regions where important muscle groups aren’t involved. That limits long term potential.


Hit 330x7 front squat a couple weeks ago w/ belt, at 205#. Decent strength, but nothing crazy.

I just do a bunch of front squats without a belt: 4x5, followed by an AMRAP set. I also do them later in the week much heavier with a belt, 3x3 (occasionally AMRAP)

I also do beltless deadlifts.

Just keep plugging away, IMHO.

If I was going to do ab work, I’d use the ab roller & heavy side bends.

Are you sure abs are the weak point? Leaning forward can happen because your quads are weak, and your body wants to shift into a position to use your hamstrings/back. If you’ve ever used knee wraps and experienced the ability to stay more upright with them on, that’s why – it assists your quads.


I guess if I were to do ab work, it would be the ab roller & heavy side bends.


The ab wheel seems popular. I bought one and never use it, haha. It looks like the common theme here is to do ab bracing work that resists both spinal flexion and extension to provide good balance. I haven’t done much work preventing rotation so it’s something I’ll have to consider…


sorry dudes, I totally forgot about this thread! I’ll come back to it in a bit and even tell you a gross story about the ab wheel…