Why and How to Front Squat

Front squats are the king of all squat exercises. They work your quads, hamstrings, glutes and lower back, as well as strengthening your core muscles. Watch this video to learn how to front squat properly with three different techniques!.

Front squats are an effective way to strengthen the muscles in your back, legs, and core. They can be done with a barbell or dumbbells. If you have never front squatted before, it is important to learn how to do it properly from the start. Read more in detail here: how to front squat grip.

At AoM, we’re huge fans of squatting, especially the low-bar squat. The low-bar squat’s mechanics enable you to engage more muscles in your posterior chain, or the “chain” of muscles that run up the back of your body. Higher weight moved Means more muscular use.

There are, however, various squat variations that may deliver comparable results to the low-bar squat. Many individuals, for example, do a high-bar squat, which is identical to a low-bar squat but with the bar held higher on the back.

The front squat is another version of the barbell squat that you may want to consider including into your training.

We’ll explain why and how to front squat for lower body gains in the sections below.

What Muscles Are Activated During a Front Squat?

The front squat engages muscles that are comparable to those used in the back squat. The front squat, on the other hand, works the quadriceps and glutes more owing to its mechanics. If you do front squats for the first time, be prepared to experience aching quadriceps and buttisimo muscles. (Here’s how to get rid of the ache.)

Why Do I Need to Front Squat?

You want to improve your barbell clean. To get out of the bottom of an Olympic lift like the clean, you must complete a front squat. You must include front squats in your programming if you want to improve your ability to rise from the bottom of the clean.

You want to add a lower-body lift to your routine. If you’re a serious barbell lifter, you’ll almost certainly be executing supplementary lifts as part of your routine. Supplemental lifts are comparable to major lifts, but they’re done a bit differently to target the muscles used in the main lift from a different perspective. Rack pulls, for example, may be used as a complement to the deadlift.

The front squat is a perfect complement to the low-bar squat. The front squat works the quadriceps and glutes more than the low-bar squat, while the low-bar squat works the hamstrings and hips more. Similar motions, but with different focus on different muscle groups.

You can’t squat with a low bar. Some individuals are unable to squat low-bar due to injury. Some people with hip problems, for example, find the hip-heavy low-bar squat very unpleasant. The front squat eliminates the need to bend your hips, allowing persons with hip problems to get the benefits of squats without the agony.

While the front squat requires you to bend your knees more than the low-bar squat, studies have shown that the front squat actually puts less pressure on the knees, leading one group of researchers to conclude that “front squats may be advantageous compared to back squats for individuals with knee problems such as meniscus tears, and for long-term joint health.”

If you’re having problems completing back squats with a low or high bar, try front squats.


Front Squat Techniques

The Grip & Set-Up


Unlike the back squat, which involves placing the barbell on your back in either a high or low position, the front squat involves placing the barbell on the front of your body, especially across your front deltoids.

The purpose of the front squat set-up and grip is to create a solid, stable meat shelf of your front delts on which the bar may rest as you squat. This is how you construct this dependable meat shelf:

Take a hold of the barbell with a shoulder-width grip. Take your thumbs and wrap them around the bar.

Bring your elbows forward as you approach the bar. You want your elbows to be so far forward that your upper arms are virtually parallel to the ground. The more muscular mass your deltoids develop to build the shelf on which the barbell will rest, the higher the elbows are raised.

Lift the barbell out of the j-hooks by standing up straight. Bam. The front squat begins with you in the beginning posture. The “front rack position” is another name for it.

Alternatives to the Front Squat Grip


The typical front squat grip, which involves wrapping your thumbs and fingers around the barbell, necessitates a lot of wrist motion. Here are some alternate grips to try if you don’t have that mobility yet:

Remove a few fingers from the bar. Remove your pinky and ring finger off the bar and just use your pointer, middle finger, and thumb to grip it. Because the bar will be secure on that muscular front deltoid shelf, you won’t need all of your fingers to hold it in place.

Extend your grasp. You won’t be able to take the shoulder-width apart grip on the front squat if your humerus is shorter and your forearm is longer. Simply widen your grasp.

Make use of straps. You may use lifting straps to hold the bar if you have them. Wrap them around the barbell and that’s it. Grasp the straps and lean forward with your elbows.

Make use of a cross grip. If you can’t grasp the bar in a front rack position, this is another viable choice. Step beneath the bar with your arms crossed. Place the barbell between your thumbs and the rest of your fingers in the webbing. The barbell should still be predominantly resting on the front of your shoulders, with your thumbs acting as a kind of anchor. Raise your elbows till your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Straighten your back.

Performing a Front Squat

1636368016_708_Why-and-How-to-Front-Squat It’s time to squat once you’ve put the bar in the front rack position.

Stance. Take a little narrower than shoulder-width stance, with toes pointing out slightly.

To maintain your torso vertical, think “keep elbows up.” Unlike the low-bar squat, which requires you to bend your torso over, the front squat requires you to maintain your upper body erect throughout the drop. Simply think “keep elbows up” to do this. (If you find yourself leaning forward during the ascent of the front squat, recall the phrase “lead with the elbows” and think about your elbows rising up first.)


Another hint is to maintain a straight forward gaze.

Take a deep breath, sit back, extend your knees, and squat gently to just below parallel. “Maintain elbows up,” remember to yourself as you descend to keep your torso upright.

Ascend quickly. The front bar squat eccentric portion should be quick. Explode!

Do not suffocate yourself! The barbell will be in close proximity to your neck. Make sure it doesn’t push too tight on your neck, or you risk cutting off blood flow to your brain, which may cause fainting and passing out. It’s not looking good.

Front Squat Programming

The front squat is often utilized as a complement to a standard squat, as previously stated. Some people who can’t squat low or high utilize the front squat as their only squatting action.

Matt Reynolds, my barbell coach, loves to program the front squat in three-rep sets. He’ll just add sets to increase volume. So, if you want to do 15 total front squat repetitions, you’d schedule five sets of three reps.

Ted Slampyak created the illustrations.



Front squats are a great exercise that can be used to improve your performance in many different sports. They are also an effective alternative for the bench press and other upper-body exercises. Reference: front squat alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why you should be doing front squats?

A: Because they are an easy way to increase their muscle mass and lower the risk of injury. I recommend doing them at least three times a week if you want to see results in a short amount of time, but even two is beneficial.

What is the proper way to do a front squat?

A: A front squat is a way of performing a squats exercise. It involves you putting your weight on your toes, bending the knees and lifting one leg out in front so that its parallel to the floor with the heel slightly off from this position

Why is it harder to front squat?

A: When you front squat, the bar will be in contact with your body.
This puts pressure on different parts of the shoulder and can cause pain or injury.

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