3 Tips for Better Front Squats [Train Smart Wednesday]

3 Tips for Better Front Squats
By: Jeff Hermann, CTS Strength & Conditioning


Do you ever feel like front squats may possibly be the most uncomfortable exercise around? If you do, chances are there a few minor fixes that could seriously improve your positioning and results. The topics I will be covering in this article are:

1. Hand positioning and tension

2. Rack positioning and posture

3. Abdominal tension.

  • First things first: Hand positioning. Without your hands at an adequate spacing or position on the bar, you will immediately run into problems with your front squat. A general starting position I like to advise is “1 thumb length from the smooth part of the bar”. Granted everyone has different preferences and limb lengths, this exact measurement will not always be the best for you or the most comfortable. In these cases, I advise to at least make sure the hands are at the very minimum, just outside of shoulder width.
  • Now that we have our grip width set, lets talk about how to position our hands as well as find the ideal rack position. Before you even un-rack the bar, make sure it is positioned directly behind the shoulder muscle(almost along the collar bone) and your elbows are pointed as straight forward as possible. Your hands should be relaxed with your thumb released and your fingertips directly under the bar(this will ensure your elbows are able to remain upright). Hands clasped around the bar will only create tension in the forearms, causing the elbows to drop and jeopardizing the structural integrity of the lift. Ok, our hands are relaxed, our elbows are up and the bar is directly behind the shoulders, Right? GOOD!
  • The final thing you need to do before you venture down into the world of deep squats, is take a big breath of air into your stomach (NOT your chest) and tighten your abs like Mike Tyson himself is going to punch you in the gut! Because the weight is in front of the spine during a front squat, it will naturally pull you forward and cause you to either miss the rep, or grind out a weight that should otherwise be much easier. So, tension in the abdominal muscles is extremely important. Think of your abs as a wall that is preventing the collapse of everything you have worked so hard to achieve thus far!

Well there you have it ladies and gents, these tips should have you front squatting easier and heavier.

I hope I was able to solve some issues for a lot of you and keep you motivated to continue using this great exercise!

Keep working hard and becoming the best version of you!

Jeff Hermann

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