The front squat is a squat variation that places additional emphasis on the quads and abs. It is always best to add a variety of squats to your routine, this one should be closer to the top of your list.
How to perform a front squat
Stay inside the rack and use the safety bars. This is going to feel very different to a barbell back squat, so start with just the bar until you get used to it.
The bar position is on the front of your shoulders. You can either hold the bar in crossed arms with your hands gripping over the top of the bar. Or, you can bend your elbows at your sides and with your hands by your shoulders allow the bar to rest on your palms (still gripping the bar).
Once you’ve positioned the bar comfortably, step away from the rack and position yourself for a squat.
You should always be bracing yourself on a squat, but it is particularly important for front squats, the shift in weight is going to require you to recruit your entire core.
If you have lower back issues, err on the side of caution. If you’re finding this puts too much pressure on your lower back switch to a lighter weight. If your issue is particularly bad and you don’t want to trigger it, switch to a goblet or standard back squat.
Front Squat: Common mistakes to avoid
Maintaining good posture throughout this exercise is imperative. You should also be mindful of what is happening with your knees and ankles, they should not be caving inwards.
A front squat should always be performed on a firm and solid surface, this includes what’s on your feet! Try to avoid squatting in trainers with gel bottoms, we see this often with beginners and you should know that it is not ideal. Either go barefoot, get yourself some flat soled shoes, or lifting shoes, it really does make a difference and it does matter.
Another mistake to avoid is getting stuck on your weight, use the rack and use it correctly, this is the only way you will be able to progress. For further reading, see; How to use a squat rack.
Reps and sets
As with all exercises, the front squat needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture. Reps and sets performed depend entirely on where you are physically and of course your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing at this stage is to get started, the rest will most definitely come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters will need to consider their current strength and goals.
Beyond the front squat...
More leg exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of leg exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.