Everything You Need To Know About Front Squatting

Health & Fitness
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Susan Wilt

If you enjoy lifting weights and squatting, you may want to try the front squat.


First, they are much easier on your back and your knees. With less pressure on the joints, front squats can help you avoid serious back and knee injuries.

Second, since front squats put more weight in the front of your body, they involve more of your abs and help strengthen your core muscles.

And finally, front squats are almost guaranteed to improve your posture. They will help strengthen your upper back, force you to remain upright and improve the strength of your stabilizing muscles.

If that’s not enough, front squats will help you build some serious quads.

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So how do you do a proper front squat?

First is your grip. The “clean grip” is the preferred method. Walk up to the bar and place your hands over it, just wider than your shoulders. Now push your elbows through under the bar and lift them up high.

You may not have the wrist flexibility to have all of your fingers under the bar, and that’s ok. I’ve been doing front squats for years and still can’t do that.

If you can’t wrap at least two fingers under the bar, you can try two things. First, work on your wrist flexibility by doing daily stretches. In the meantime, try the bodybuilder grip instead. This involves resting bar higher on your shoulders and placing your hands crossed over it with the elbows high up.

Once you have the grip down, set the bar against the base of your neck as close to it as possible. It will feel very awkward at first and be careful if it feels like you’re choking. Raise your chin up a little, breathe normally, and you’ll be fine.

Keep your elbows up throughout the entire lift. This will ensure you maintain a good and safe posture and prevent your back from rounding. It also helps to flex your abs as hard as you can throughout the entire motion.

Now you’re ready to take the bar off the rack. Take a deep breath, lift the bar up and slowly walk backward two or three steps. Place your feet a little wider than your shoulders with your toes pointing out slightly.

Begin squatting down by driving your hips back and your knees out, almost as if you’re taking a seat. Keep your elbows up, your chest out and squat down as deep as you can without rounding your back.

Once you hit the bottom, unload like a spring and drive up from the floor through your heels. Exhale on the way up and make sure you keep an upright posture until you’re back at the starting position.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed your first front squat and taken your first steps into a larger squatting universe.

Here are some tips to help you master this movement:

  • Make sure you always keep your elbows up. This will help you maintain a proper posture during your squat.
  • If you feel yourself falling backward, it means you are pushing your hips too far back. Just sit back like you are taking a seat, but don’t overdo it.
  • Make sure your feet position is correct. Your feet should be slightly wider than your shoulders with your toes flared outward a little.
  • Drive your knees out as you squat. It helps to pretend there is a line on the floor running between your legs. As you squat down, try to break that line apart.
  • Did I mention to keep your elbows up? It’s that important!
  • Keep your abs tight throughout the whole movement to help stabilize yourself.

Do this and you’ll be well on your way to front squatting like a pro.

The front squat is a great way to decompress your spine and give your knees a break. It can be a great addition to your workout program, along these other awesome exercises. It’s great for building good posture, a strong core, and powerful legs.

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