Julie Lohre Demonstrates the Barbell Front Squat exercise movement.
Barbell Front Squats are a fantastic exercise for strengthening your whole lower body. Quads, hamstrings and glutes are all involved. However, Front Squats are not the only exercise that engages the lower body.
All squats will help us get stronger, jump higher and run faster while shaping your legs and butt. I wrote an extensive article outlining the difference between Front Squat versus Back Squat – and how to determine might be best for your goals. Read more on squat variations here in this article.
How to perform Front Squats:
When performing a front squat, begin by setting up a barbell on a squat rack. The rack should be about an inch below your clavicles. This will allow you to easily unrack and rack the barbell as you begin and finish your front squat. Hand position is critical for the front squat. Wrap your fingers lightly around the bar, do not squeeze too tightly. Step forward toward the bar and bring your elbows upward as you create a shelf across your clavicles and front delts. Be sure you do not allow your elbows to drop, this is a similar arm position to a power clean or a clean grip. The barbell will sit nicely at this front position for the front squat. Throughout the movement, keep your elbows shoulder width apart and lifted high. Do not allow your back to arch significantly or to round forward for proper front squat form.
With the front squat, your feet should be about shoulder width apart, toes slightly turned out and the majority of your weight should be pressing through your heels. Stabilize your core and then begin to lower yourself to the bottom position of the front squat, keeping your chest up, with an upright torso, knees pressing slightly outward and don’t allow your elbows to drop as you sit back into the squat position. At the optimal depth there will be a 90 degree bend at your hips and knees and your quads will be parallel to the floor. As you return to the top of the front squat, maintain a tight core, keep your chest up and knees pressing gently outward. Drive through your heels keeping the toes light.
**Julie’s tip – If you have elbow, shoulder or wrist flexibility limitations, you can perform the front squat with the barbell still at your clavicle but with your hands crossed over the top of the bar and fingers lightly gripping from the top. If you choose to cross your arms be sure to maintain the barbell at chest height and don’t allow your elbows to drop lower than the front of your shoulders. You can also switch to a goblet squat or another squat variation that keeps a weight at your chest without applying pressure through your spine.