Form Friday: Barbell Front Squat

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by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Barbell Front Squat

Muscle Groups: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Adductors

Importance: The front squat is a more quad-dominant squat variation. The barbell front squat arguably forces you into good technique more so than any other squat variation due to the nature of where the bar sits. The weight of the barbell helps keep you in a strong, upright position also strengthening your postural and core muscles.

Proper Form:

  1. Decide whether you are going to do an Olympic style front squat with your hands beneath the bar and elbows high out front, or if you are going to cross your hands and grip over the top of the bar with your elbows high and out to the side (may depend on wrist and shoulder mobility)

  2. Approach the barbell with your desired grip and position the bar on the front of your shoulders and upper chest as you unrack the barbell

  3. Stand with your feet between hip and shoulder width distance apart and your toes pointed just slightly outward (8-15 degrees)

  4. Keeping and upright chest, initiate the squat by starting to hinge at the hips and drive them backward while your knees start to bend forward in the same direction as your toes are pointing

  5. Keeping your knees driven outward and over the middle of your foot, descend your hips until you reach your deep squat

  6. Keeping your core tight and leg muscles engaged, reverse directions and begin your ascent by re-extending both the hips and knees while driving both feet evenly into floor

  7. Continue to drive upward and extend at the hips and knees until reaching your starting position

Progression/Regression: Goblet Squat, Barbell Back Squat

Tips:

  • Maintain an engaged core and upright chest with a neutral spine throughout the movement so that the barbell does not fall forward

  • Keep your weight evenly distributed throughout your feet

  • Drive your knees out in the same direction your feet are facing

Sample Workout:

  • Barbell Front Squat: 5 sets of 8 reps

  • 15 push-ups between each set of front squats

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