Front squats

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jayemes
jayemes Posts: 865 Member
Tried these for the first time and didn't have great luck keeping the barbell stable (probably obvious from all the black and blues!)
Are front squats working a different group of muscles than back squats? Not sure if I should keep trying to improve my form and be able to hold my elbows up better so the bar doesn't keep slipping or just stick to doing back squats.
I can also do 145x5 back squats now, but I was struggling with less than half that on front squats.
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  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,727 Member
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    Try starting with a dumbbell or kettlebell goblet style front squats before progressing to barbell front squats.
  • jayemes
    jayemes Posts: 865 Member
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    @stanmann571 If I use dumbbells where would I hold them? In front of my collar bone or racked on my shoulders?
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,727 Member
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    There are several options. but either way, use a single bell.

    With your shoulders "packed"/antishrugged.

    In front of your collar bone, and as close to your chest as is comfortable without causing undue stress or compression. with a dumbbell it can be either horizontal or vertical, whichever is more comfortable. Either way, your palms should face centerline inward, not particularly forward(out) or backward(in)
  • Cassandraw3
    Cassandraw3 Posts: 1,214 Member
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    Front Squats zone in on the quads and upper back, while Back Squats focus more on the hips, glutes, and lower back. Most people are typically able to front squat ~85% of what they can back squat. Go light (starting with just the bar) and focus on form. Once you have the form down, then start adding more weight. Don't give up on front squats!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
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    You aren't going to be able to move the same kind of weight with a front squat that you do with a back squat. Both work the same muscles, but the emphasis changes. Like you're going to get a lot more glute and hamstring help with a back squat vs a front squat that is quad dominant.

    Your elbows should be pretty much pointing straight out in a front squat which is going to require some flexibility and mobility in your elbows, shoulders, and wrists.

    I do front squats namely because I clean and I have to front squat to catch the clean. It took me quite a bit of mobility work to really get there because my chest was always really tight and didn't have much mobility in my shoulders.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,727 Member
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    Front Squats zone in on the quads and upper back, while Back Squats focus more on the hips, glutes, and lower back. Most people are typically able to front squat ~85% of what they can back squat. Go light (starting with just the bar) and focus on form. Once you have the form down, then start adding more weight. Don't give up on front squats!

    85% I think sounds a bit high to start.

    50% is closer to right, but as our OP looks to be in the 145 range, making her total squat about 290, somewhere in the neighborhood of the bar or even a bit lower. 35-55 lb is probably more appropriate.
  • Cassandraw3
    Cassandraw3 Posts: 1,214 Member
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    85% I think sounds a bit high to start.

    50% is closer to right, but as our OP looks to be in the 145 range, making her total squat about 290, somewhere in the neighborhood of the bar or even a bit lower. 35-55 lb is probably more appropriate.

    85% is based from standards I have read and is pretty close to what I can do. I can back squat 120 lbs and front squat 105 lbs. Obviously, one wouldn't be able to do 85% the first time they are doing the move, which is why I recommended starting with a bar (women's bar is 35 lbs) and getting the form down first. Long term goal should be about 85% of back squat.

  • jayemes
    jayemes Posts: 865 Member
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    50% is closer to right, but as our OP looks to be in the 145 range, making her total squat about 290, somewhere in the neighborhood of the bar or even a bit lower. 35-55 lb is probably more appropriate.
    You're my new favorite person since my weight this morning was 198.3 lbs. :smile:
    But if anyone asks, I'm going with 145!

  • jayemes
    jayemes Posts: 865 Member
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    @Cassandraw3 that makes sense - I can deadlift 185 and back squat 145 so I'm sure once I get the technique down 85% sounds reasonable to work up to. I only started lifting in September so I'm still learning!
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,727 Member
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    jayemes wrote: »
    50% is closer to right, but as our OP looks to be in the 145 range, making her total squat about 290, somewhere in the neighborhood of the bar or even a bit lower. 35-55 lb is probably more appropriate.
    You're my new favorite person since my weight this morning was 198.3 lbs. :smile:
    But if anyone asks, I'm going with 145!

    LOL. You're probably above average height then.

    Either way. Starting with the plain bar. or ladies bar. or dumbbells.

    And as pointed out above, a strict front squat has a very odd form.

    I'll probably never do one, as my shoulders wouldn't like it due to my hypermobility. so I stick with heavy goblets and if I had to go really heavy, I'd go zercher.
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,424 Member
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    I'm still trying to figure out how you dropped the bar to cause bruising like that.

    It sounds like you aren't able to get into a good front rack position and your arms/shoulders just aren't strong enough to hold the bar? Most people struggle with front squats because they can't maintain an upright chest and the weight pulls them forward.

    If you are having trouble with that front rack position, you could try "zombie" squats. Which are how I need to do mine(if I want to go heavy) because of a wrist injury.

    Lastly, regarding the 85% debate, my FS is 84% of my BS.

  • jayemes
    jayemes Posts: 865 Member
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    @rybo that's exactly how I did it. Everytime I squatted my elbows would drop a bit and the bar would slide forward. I kept trying to pop my elbows up to get the bar back where it was supposed to be and it kept bumping down my arm over and over.
    Next time I'm definitely going to try it with an empty bar or dumbbells to get the form right.
  • mdlowrance
    mdlowrance Posts: 20 Member
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    Super helpful thread. Thank you. I don’t have a squat rack at home so I have been doing front barbell squats and was struggling with 75 lbs today (I’m 147lbs for reference) and was getting super frustrated with myself. This helps.