Front squats are a great exercise: they target your quads and upper back in a way that back squats don’t, but they also require a great deal of mobility in the thoracic spine, hips, knees, shoulders and wrists. There’s a bit of a learning curve involved, but they’re totally worth it!
First things first: make sure you understand the rack position.
The most effective way to do this is to start with Frankenstein Squats.
- Feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly. Brace your core (fill your lungs, push against your abdominal wall, back, and pelvic floor simultaneously
- Arms should be above parallel during the entire movement
- Unlock your knees and slide your hips back slightly. Remember: your torso will be more vertical with FSQs, so be careful not to push your hips back too far
- Maintain an extension in your lumbar (if this means you can’t squat to depth, then so be it!)
- Knees should be in front of your toes at the bottom of the squat (assuming a full range of motion)
Got the rack position down?
Time to do some front squats!
- Hands slightly outside shoulders
- Fingertips under the bar
- Fingertips should be pressing the bar into your throat, not gripping the bar
- Forearms should be above parallel, upper arms parallel to one another.
- Actively pull your elbows up - this will help keep the bar in the rack position
Wrists hurt when your fingers are under the bar?
Grab some straps and give this variation a try.
- Straps should be placed just outside your shoulders
- Try to keep a relatively loose grip on the straps - squeezing tightly often results in a drop of the elbows
- Actively pull your elbows up during the movement, especially when changing direction in the bottom/start to stand
- Try to keep upper arms above parallel, forearms parallel to one another
- The bar should be pressing into your throat