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Trouble With Front Squats

I just started doing front squats after 31 years of training. I have a problem with my form. I’ve been using the hands-crossed technique because I don’t feel my triceps are flexible enough to do it the other way. Doing it the way I do, I end up with bar rolling down to my biceps during my set, and the bar is gouging into my shoulders. I can back squat over 500lbs for a triple, but haven’t perfected my front squat enough to use more than 185lbs for 10 reps. Anyone have any pointers?

I have to get the bar all the way back on the collarbone. It is very close to a choking sensation, but you will get used to it.

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You could just not front squat, that’s always an option. The same company that make the Manta Ray makes a thing called Sting Ray for front squatting, that might help. Also some people turn a SSB backwards, but seeing as the SSB already gives you similar leverages as a front squat the backwards style is basically like a back squat where you can’t lean forward or you will drop the weight.

I used to front squat but I stopped a couple years ago. Clean grip hurt my wrists, crossed arms hurt my shoulders, weight was limited by technique, I just didn’t see the point and improving my front squat did nothing for my back squat. For building up my quads and upper back I like SSB squats and high bar squats.

Something VERY useful to me to get the full clean grip a bit more confortable were the first few minutes of that video:

I don’t like touching the bar only with my fingers as it hurts my hand, not so much my wrist.


Also, front squat for high reps suck… I’d keep doing back squats if you want to do high reps. Start doing doubles or triples at first to get used to it maybe.

Thank you everyone for the responses. I’ve also thought of cleaning some dumbbells up to shoulder position for squatting also, but I can’t see using more than 90lbs dumbbells for that.

Wraps straps around the bar and hold those is the usual way to solve this. Your elbows only need to be higher than your shoulders

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I totally forgot about that one. It feels pretty weird though. I have seen some people just hold the bar on their shoulders/neck with their arms up and out and forearms pointed upwards, it doesn’t look stable at all but I suppose it could work.

I am having the same issues.

How I have solved it in the past was…

Lacrosse Ball or Foam Roll your wrists, lats and triceps followed by wrist stretching. Do that daily. Try to Front Rack Iso holds daily as well.

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If you can touch your neck you are mobile enough to start front squatting.

Zombie squats to feel bar position on the front delts. If you clavicles/shoulders/other boney prominences are being destroyed probably racking it slightly wrong.

Progress thumbs, one finger at a time, all fingers, full clean grip and closed fist clean grip over time.

Gets easier as time goes by. Doing the movement a lot improves your flexibility and continuing to do the movement maintains it. After some time off from front squats is always a bitch the first few weeks as everything has stiffened up.

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I should add that another thing that helped A TON was losing weight. Not sure if glycogen levels make every thing too pudgy to get into position or what but it may have helped more than all that mobility work.

And power cleans kind of force the point.