The front squat has always been one of the biggest, most important exercises to any weightlifter. This is to serve the base of the catch position in a clean. But today, the front squat is a staple of a lot of training programs, which is great! But to earn the benefits of any exercises, we must first must know how to do it right.
The front loaded nature of the lift necessities a more upright posture, putting more stress on the quads and less stress on the spine while creating a demanding core stability challenge. Unfortunately, the bar positioning, can be difficult to learn and can feel quite awkward, which explains why many lifters shy away from it. Make no mistake about it, the benefits of the front loaded squat are innumerable in terms of athletic transfer, core strengthening, quad-building and improving squat and deadlift strength.
The set up for front squat is pretty much identical to the back squat. The only difference will be the grip since the load will be at the front. The bar will be sitting on your front delts rather than on your traps. Making sure the feet directly under the bar for a healthy horizontal force and take as few steps as possible after you have unracked the bar.
There is no one right way to do this. There are a few ways you can hold the bar while performing the front squat and the first thing to do is to choose which one is a better grip for you. If you’re training with a weightlifting program you will stay with one, the clean grip. This to serve you well at the clean position and the other two grips will not help you to do so. If you’re new to front squat or just want to improve your squat and deadlift by adding front squat to your routine, then clean grip, cross-arm grip or strap grip will be your better option. For a batter thoracic, wrist and forearm mobility, check out our other videos on how to stretch those areas.
The Clean Grip
Advantage; Serves you well at the base of your clean position. Easy to balance and maintain the upright position on the upper torso.
Disadvantage; Puts stress on the wrist. Most people will not be able to do it right without a decent amount of mobility on the wrist, forearm and thoracic extension. Without a decent amount of wrist mobility, its hard to keep the elbows up as you go down.
The cross-arm grip
Advantage ; No stress on the wrist and it is really easy to get to position. Less awkward and serves bigger guys (like bodybuilders) better, but don’t get me wrong, i’ve seen big guys that can do clean grip front squat like champs!
Disadvantage; Hard to get to thoracic extension and this position will pull the shoulders forward (scapula protection) and that is a bad position to be with load going down to your body.
The strap grip
Advantage; Just like the cross-arm grip, it is easy to get to position using the strap. More freedom on your wrist. The length of the strap will allow you to maintain the elbows up as you go down and staying upright.
Disadvantage; Can easily throw you out of balance, requires more core stability and hard to stay tight throughout the movement.
All of these grips are very good as long as it serve your need. Front squat is very valuable to be add on your training program and have become a very popular support exercise for anyone improve their strength on squat and deadlift (due to the strengthening of the thoracic extensors)
Coaches H and Alex