The front squat is a lower-body exercise that will strengthen the legs and hips, particularly your quadriceps and glutes.
It is a staple resistance training exercise, covered in the Certificate III and IV in Fitness Courses. In this video, Gio provides an explanation of how to do this foundation exercise.
In Front Squats the barbell is placed on the front side of your shoulders rather than the upper back as performed in the Back Squat. This shifts the center of mass forward, which allows for a more upright posture, making it a spine-friendly lift. It also shifts some of the focus from your glutes to your quads.
Place the barbell across the front side of your shoulders (The Rack Position). Place your fingertips under the barbell, outside your shoulders and drive your elbows up. Keeping your chest up and core tight, bend at your hips and knees to lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Straighten your hips and knees to drive up to the starting position.
- Barbell Placement: The barbell should sit across the front side of your shoulders close to your neck.
Foot Position: Start with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outwards at about 10-15 degrees. Try this position and you can then adjust to a narrower or stance wider depending on what feels good. There’s not a single correct stance. Experiment (with light weight) and find what works for you. A good cue can be to jump up in the air and land . This landing position can be your foot position.
- Step 1: Take a deep breath in, tighten your core and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Keep your elbows pointing forward.
- Step 2: Sit your hips back, bend your knees and push your knees out to lower into the Squat. Keep your chest and elbows up throughout the rep.
- Step 3: Continue bending your hips and knees under your thighs are approximately parallel the ground.
- Step 4: Drive through your midfoot to stand up out of the squat as if you are pushing the ground away from you. You should feel your quads and glutes doing most of the work. Squeeze your glutes to extend your hips at the top of the Squat.
- Holding the barbell with your arms. If your forearms are vertical and your arms are supporting the barbell, you’re doing it wrong.
- Elbows drop. Keep the elbows up throughout the Squat. The barbell will slide forward off your shoulders if they tilt down too far.
- Knees collapse inwards. Prevent it from happening, make a concerted effort to drive the knees outward as you lower into the squat. This will help to keep them aligned over your ankles and in a safe position that can handle heavy weight.
- Not bracing your abs. Brace your abdominals as if you’re about to get punched in the stomach. Hold this throughout the exercise and reset at the top of the lift if needed. Otherwise, you might tilt forward and drop the bar.