Anyone who lifts regularly knows what a back squat is. But have you ever attempted a front squat? Front squats may be one of my favorite lifts and with the proper technique they may take your leg workouts to the next level.
Why do I like front squats:
I personally enjoy performing front squats for two main reasons:
-They offer an alternative to back squats and allow me to change up my routine here and there.
-They allow me to get lower than I may get with back squats, giving me an opportunity to use slightly different muscles.
How to perform a front squat:
Set up: Setting up for a front squat is very similar to preparing for a back squat, only this time lay the bar across your shoulders in front of your neck, not behind it. Also, for the first couple sets use less weight than you would for a back squat. A good place to start is around half of your normal weight. You can always, and most likely will, go up in weight from there.
Grip: This is where you have a couple options; I personally like to grip the bar just outside of my shoulders. Keep in mind that just like in a back squat the grip in the front squat shouldn’t support all the weight, your shoulders should be bearing the weight and the grip should only help balance the bar. Otherwise, your wrists may hurt afterward from the forced extension. I personally don’t actually grip my hands around the bar, I just use my fingertips to support the bar-although I’ve seen people with much stronger, full, grips.
Squat: Nearly everything is the same here; perform a squat just like you would if you were doing a standard back squat.
-I can’t talk about squats without also saying that you need to get low! If there is one thing that upsets me, it’s poor squat form. Please, please, please, do yourself a favor and get down below parallel.
*These are only guidelines and I’m not certified to be teaching you exactly how to perform a lift, if you want to attempt front squats, make sure to first look up the proper form from a professional.
Changing up your routine is important and if you’ve been struggling to see progress with your back squats, try changing things up and substituting in with some front squats. I have seen some great jumps in weight just by simply exchanging back squats for front squats every once in a while. Try it out and be sure to let me know what you think.
Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and along with hisweightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World’s Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.