The front squat is used mainly in Olympic lifting and by athletes. For everyone else, the front squat has some benefits that can translate into your daily lives. But be cautious, you should not perform a front squat if you have not progressed to it properly and safely.
Reduced Risk of Back Injury
Since the weight of the bar is placed on the front of the body, this reduces the stress in the joints of the low back.
Increases Quad Strength
Regular back squat loads the hamstring, and quads more due to the positioning of the body. A more forward lean of the upper body you are getting more hamstring and glute activation. On the other hand, the upright positioning of the front squats the quad are required to activate more.
Front squatting recruits the upper back to hold the weight close to your body. It also forces thoracic extension to keep the bar on your shoulders. A slight forward lean will slide the weight forward and puts added stress in your lower back.
Recruiting the upper back strengthens the postural muscles especially the core can help reduce risk of injury in any exercise.
Improves Flexibility and Mobility
Because of the nature of the front squat you have to squat all the way down, mobility in the ankles and hips need to be optimal. If you have poor mobility and flexibility, the front squat will help you identify areas you need to improve.
Performing the Front Squat
Step 1: Stand under a bar and have it rest on the crease of your shoulder and collarbone.
Step 2: Keep your elbows and shoulder alight and back tight by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Step 3: Push your knees slightly out to open your hips.
Step 4: While keeping your body weight on your midfoot and a neutral spine, slowly lower your hips straight down.
Step 5: As you reach the parallel pause.
Step 6: As you come up, keep your weight midfoot and as you extend your knees squeeze your glutes.
There are different ways to progress your front squats. You can keep loading the bar by 5lbs/2kg every week or every training session, you can add accommodating resistance with bands or chains, or decrease tempo to increase time under tension. When you progress this variation, move up the 7 Squat Progressions.
If you are trying to perform the front squat and you have pain in your shoulder or any joint, improve your shoulder and thoracic mobility before attempting to front squat.
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