Getting Started With Front Squats

Everybody’s Doing It…

Olympic Lifters Love Them And Do Them Frequently

Power Lifters Use Them To Bring Up Their Squat Numbers

Body Builders Use Them For More Quad Work

For the regular gym going crowd it seems to be everyone’s favorite movement they arent doing!

So what gives? Why are Front Squats seemingly loved by the pro’s but shunned by the masses?

I think the answer is quite simple… They are awkward as hell, and difficult to learn with a lot of weight on the bar. Most lifters don’t seem to be willing to humble themselves, start light, and do front squats with 95lbs or 135 to get the mechanics and grip down.

So today we are going to talk about how to start incorporating this great movement into your routine without interfering with your regular squat workout. First, search around the net and find some videos on proper front squat form, mechanics, and technique. That is beyond the scope of this article, but if it’s your first time trying these out you want to make sure you are doing it correctly.

After you have done that, watch this video:

 

This video shows the basic outline of what we are going to be doing with the front squat, which is to use it as the “warm up” for the regular squat. It also shows a few different grip options that might work for you: The “Front Rack” position, the “Wrist Strap Handles” option, and the standard BB style cross-armed shelf. I favor the later, but those with better wrist flexibility will like the first position. I’ve never been a fan of the wrist strap option myself, but have seen others use it successfully.

How To Get Started

Due to the nature of the front squat you simply can’t handle as much weight as the regular back squat… Which we are going to use to our advantage. With that in mind we are going to start with just the empty bar for a set of 10. Really concentrate here on getting your mechanics down, sinking into the right “hole” in between your legs. Things get heavy quick when you are just learning this movement, so don’t consider this a foo-foo light weight set, its going to set the stage for the rest of the workout.

If you are really brand new to front squatting, do the same thing with just 10’s on the bar. Next move up to 95lbs and do a nice, crisp set of 5.

From here I like to advance with the 25/45 method (described here) in sets of 5 until you cant get all 5 reps. So it might look like this for someone with an exceptional back squat (In the video Mike Rashid, who has a 500+ back squat has to “tap out” at 315):

Bar x 10

65lbs x 10

95 x 5

135 x 5

185 x 5

225 x 5

275 x 3

Since we couldnt get 5 with 275 we call it a day for the front squats and move on to the regular squats starting at the weight we left off with, in this case we would do 275 x 5, and continue on with whatever your regular squat workout for that day was.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming
Back to our regularly scheduled programming

To The Front Of The Line

Okay, I’m all out of front puns for the day, which means its time to wrap it up.

Use this easy way to warm up with the front squat to start getting used to it, after a few weeks you should be able to add more and more weight to the bar, do more reps, and start reaping the benefits that the front squat offers.