Monday, May 6

How to Perform a Proper Front Squat

Tabata Times

Step 1: Set-up

Start with the loaded (or empty) barbell on a squat rack. Make sure that the bar is racked about an inch or two below the clavicles while in a full standing position. This ensures both an aggressive primer for the kinetic chain when un-racking the barbell as well as an easy and safe re-racking of the barbell once the set is finished.

Step 2: Hand position

Choose a hand position on the barbell close to or mirroring the grip you use for a press or a clean. Do not fully grip the bar, but rather just hook the fingers around the bar.

Step 3: Placement

Meet the bar and place it above the clavicles while rotating your elbows upward to create as much of a horizontal angle with your arms. This creates the “shelf” across the clavicles and anterior deltoids. (This is similar to the front rack receiving position for a clean or power clean.)

Step 4: Un-rack

Un-rack the bar. Simple, right? Not so fast. This part of the lift tends to be overlooked due to its seemingly miniscule importance by many novice lifters and can negatively affect future lifts that are bound to get heavier. Here is an excerpt from an article written by Dave Kirschen for EliteFTS explaining why this matters:

Think of the unrack as a mini-repetition in preparation for the big attempt. If you unrack the bar using the same technique you need to squat the weight, you will start the lift in a good position almost every time. If you make mistakes unracking the weight, you will almost certainly have problems during the lift.

So, take a deep breath, tighten that midsection, and un-rack that bar with the same aggression and intensity you plan on putting into the set.

Step 5: Stance

After un-racking, stay tight and position your feet about shoulder-width apart (adjust to comfort), point your toes 30-45 degrees outward (aligned with knee direction), and pull the hips back slightly to place majority of the resistance onto the heels.

Tabata Tidbit: This is one breathing technique often used for high-volume sets. Your breath can also be held through 75-100% of the entire range and exhaled at the top. This technique provides greater power and stability for heavier loads used on lower volume sets (i.e., 5×5, 5×2).

Step 6: Breath

Take a deep breath and focus a majority of the pressure to the abdominal area to stabilize the entire torso and spine. Hold your breath through the descent and stand — Steps 7 and 8, respectively — of the front squat to maintain midline stability.

Step 7: Descent

Begin lowering yourself into the bottom position (“the hole”), which requires the crease of the hip to fall below the knees, while remembering these cues:

  • Chest up;
  • Sit back;
  • Knees out; and
  • Elbows straightforward/high.

Step 8: Stand up

Once you’ve reached the bottom position, drive through the heels while exhaling to stand back up while remembering these cues:

  • Chest up;
  • Drive through the heels;
  • Keep the elbows straightforward/high; and
  • Keep the knees out.


1.  Mobilize hip flexors and rotators, glutes, and IT bands with stretches, foam roller, and lacross ball.

2.  Warmup with 3 min. squat hold, 50 Double Unders, 25 reverse hypers, 10 hollow rocks.

3.  Find Back or Box Squat 1RM

4.  Drop about 30 to 35% off the bar and squat up to a heavy five ("heavy five" means the heaviest weight you can do without missing) - go up by no more than 5 to 10 lb. at a time.