Very seldom performed by your average gym buff, as most prefer to do back squats, but front squats are great in building power, strength and mobility.
What is a front squat?
A proper front squat is performed with the barbell sitting on the shoulders in the frontal plane of the athlete. The hands “lock” the bar in place against the neck, so the bar doesn’t roll forward.
Elbows must be kept high and pointed forward. The athlete begins standing tall, then performs a squat, with the hip crease going below the top of the knee at the bottom. The athlete rises up to a standing position and racks the bar when done.
What makes the front squat different from the back squat?
While yes, both will build leg and core strength, the front squat is a direct accessory for weightlifting, particularly in the clean and jerk movement.
You will need to pass through a front squat when you perform a squat clean. It also helps improve mobility and flexibility in the arms and shoulders.
One other aspect of the front squat that makes it different is if done properly, it is arguably safer for a person’s lower back, when compared to a back squat.
The athlete will be forced to keep his chest upright, lessening the load felt on one’s lower back. Sometimes, athletes start to compromise their form on back squats and lean forward, transferring some of the weight to their lower back.
It will be difficult for beginners to perform a proper front squat on their first try. Most are not flexible enough to properly load the bar on the ‘front rack.’
The front rack position is when the bar sits on the athlete’s shoulders in front of him, with the hands holding the bar in place. However, it will be crucial to hold a proper front rack position before advancing to heavier loads.
We recommend having a good coach or trainer to assist you in correcting your form. Try the front squat out at your local gym and feel the difference.