I’m not sure how many of these exercise guides I’ll do, but seeing as it’s a post that I wrote a short time ago for a major supplement brand and they’re yet to do absolutely squat with it, I thought I’d smack it on here and make it a little bit less formal, and more suited to the amazingly entertaining posts on this amazingly awesome blog…
We’ve all got friends skip leg day and we’ve all seen the memes floating around the internet about those that do. While the majority of us cool kids train legs regularly, one exercise I often see neglected is the front squat. It’s seen as the back squats annoying little brother. He’s not seen as being as cool as his big bro, as it’s an exercise that usually requires less weight to be loaded onto the bar.
Compared to the back squat, the front squat will place primary emphasis on the quads. The secondary muscle groups that will be worked are the spinal erectors, glutes, abs and hamstrings. The emphasis on the quads can also help you improve your cleans and/or snatches, so it’s a particularly good exercise for cross-fit athletes. Hands up if you just smirked at the words erectors and snatches…oh, just me? I’ll get my coat.
Warm Me Up, Buttercup
I’m not talking about 10 minutes on the cross trainer. While this is alright as a general warm up, there’s a lot more you’ll need to do. Again, it’s probably not seen as “cool” but hip mobility is paramount, so opening up your hips correctly is a great way to improve your range of movement particularly if you have tight hip flexors. This could be a whole article in itself, but for now, this video does a great job.
Step one is to ask the bloke that’s doing bicep curls in the squat rack to move his skinny ass out the way.
Step two is to perfect the basics of an effective squat. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outwards. Slowly lower your hips downwards, with your heels planted firmly on the ground, and ensure your knees are aligned over your toes while maintaining a neutral spine (not bent).
Hit the Bar
Woahhh there partner, put the Jagerbomb down, I’m not talking about that bar. The front squat is all about comfortably balancing the bar across your anterior deltoids (the front of your shoulders). If you can stand with your arms straight in front of you while the bar is resting, then you’re on your way to becoming a winner.
Now practise a squat while keeping your spine neutral and your arms out in front of you. If the bar rolls forwards and onto your arms, then you’ve let yourself, me, and the rest of the gym down. Don’t add any weight to the bar until you’ve mastered this movement.
Hey, Weight Up!
Ok beefcake, now you’re ready to add some weight to the bar.
Always start by using a lower weight than you would with a back squat until you’re fully comfortably with the ROM (range of movement) with the weight. Let his old timer tell you that it’s more beneficial to focus on correct technique and time under tension than loading the bar full of weight plates. Once you’ve selected a comfortable weight, move the bar onto your anterior delts, step back slightly in the squat rack and perform the exercise.
Boom! You’ve reached legendary status. Be sure to add it to your LinkedIn profile under skills, and ensure you mention it in any job interview.
If you’ve already forgotten everything you’ve just read, maybe just read these:
- Open your hips prior to squatting
- Ensure you have perfected your un-weighted squat technique
- Start by using a lower weight to acclimatise to the movement / position
- Keep your head straight by looking forward
- Keep your back straight and don’t lean your body forward
- Drive through your heels
- Inhale as you lower yourself down, exhale as you stand
- Don’t be this guy.