T Nation

Upper Back Exercises for Front Squat


#1

I like to do my front squats with my arms crossed, bodybuilder style I guess. Well, my back gave out way before my legs, and all of the weight on the bar was being held by my arms. I almost felt like I was going to tear a bicep. I read Iso-holds are good to get more upper back strength to stay upright. Are there any more exercises I can do in addition to these?


#2

Probably more technical than anything and not keeping your elbows up. Iso holds help and can be great work for the abs too. I'll load the bar up as heavy as I can manage and still sit up with it. I'll have it be on pins in a rack, maybe 3-4 inches lower than what I will be at full extension. I get under it and sit up into an iso hold position, essentially training the upper body only.


#3

Your back will always give out before legs on front squat, old school fix is to use lower weight that you can manage and move up over time. The iso holds you're talking about should be done sparingly (sciency answer says around 5% of training volume iirc).


#4

SSB squats and GM's helped for me (if we are talking about building upper back for ME lifts)


#5

change to oly grip


#6

Poliquin says there is no practical reason to do more than 6 reps because of the fact the upper back is fatigued much quicker than the legs during front squats. So I guess heavier weights, lower reps, with the front squats, as long as your technique is not the issue.


#7

My advice would be to keep working the front squat as you have been, but end your set when your form starts to break down. It's the weak link, so listen to your body. In no time your front squat will go up because you will be confident that your weak link can handle it. Everything eventually balances out if you don't rush it.

I also use the cross armed variation due to flexibility issues. I dont really think that it makes much difference, and in fact I think that crossed arms might be harder than Oly style, as the bar usually is farther to the front.

Either way it is only an accessory for the big three, so dont sweat it as long as your main lifts are going up.


#8

Or many sets, few reps. From experience, I can tell you that 50 front squats (10x5) is brutal on the legs.


#9

x2 on the front squat holds. Brace the abs and keep your elbows up.


#10

Yea, anything involving a compound leg movement with that much volume would seem to me very tiring.


#11

your problem could also be a form issue. most people that i watch front squat have poor form. i tell people to choke themselves with the bar. that means start by placing the bar right against your throat. get it in there really tight. the bar should rest behind the front delt. if placed it right you really shouldn't have to use the arms much at all. when i first started front squatting i would get the bar in the right place and then stretch my arms out in front of me and not use them at all. this taught me to keep my torso upright and tight.

here's a front squat from this past week. you will notice that i don't lean forward at all. i stay upright and the bar basically rests behind my delts.


#12

^ This is completely unrelated to the thread, but where's your back squat at? I haven't seen many posts on it from you.


#13

a short term solution that i used to fix this was to do box front squats. It still allowed me to go heavy without my upper back completely shitting out mid lift. my back is catching up doing this


#14

i haven't tested it in awhile but it's probably high 600's right now.


#15

Thats what im doing now for the short term

Yea, I read that too, but this was just 3 reps, my same 3RM from a few months ago while I was still setting Back squats PR's during that time.

I thought the same thing too, but if theres a weakness swhoing up in my front squats, how long before it starts affecting my back squat or deadlift?

Could be. I guess ill have to post a video in this thread next time I have Front Squats planned.

Should put a lot of focus into this? How many have you think the Front Squat is a vital accessory to the Back Squat?


#16

How important front squats maybe depends on your main weaknesses.


#17

Round your shoulders forward and flex your lats so the bar sits behind your delts. Also its an accessory lift. Usually you will have a rep where you feel your upper back start to round forward stop there. If you keep front squatting and getting stronger in general it will improve.