Front Squat 101: A How-To Guide

January 18, 2012

Coming Up

The Front Squat is a foundational exercise for any athlete who wants to build strength and power in the legs and hips, particularly in the quads and glutes. It varies from the traditional Squat by shifting the weight to the shoulders, reducing stress on the back and placing more emphasis on building quad strength. Through this guide, you'll learn perfect Front Squat technique to take your workouts to the next level. Finally, check out some of STACK's Front Squat workout videos, featuring elite athletes like Connor Barwin and Shawn Horcoff, to learn how you can adapt the Front Squat for your sport.

Front Squat How-To

  • Assume athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Rest bar across front of shoulders with clean grip
  • Keeping back straight and knees behind toes, sink hips back and lower into squat position until thighs are parallel to ground
  • Explode up by driving through heels and extending knees and hips to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Front Squat Technique

Getting Started

Beginners should focus on perfecting form and technique before adding resistance. Perform Bodyweight Squats or use a broomstick in place of a barbell. Once technique and strength are improved, perform the Front Squat with an unloaded bar. Extend your arms in front to learn proper bar positioning, and focus on lower body technique and upper body stability.

Advanced Front Squats

For an additional challenge, increase your Squat depth or rise up onto your toes to strengthen your calves. You can also alter the bar and foot positions to challenge your lower-body muscles from different angles to continue muscle growth. Or, try single-leg exercises to develop strength equally in both legs and increase balance.

Common Front Squat Mistakes and Solutions

  1. Knees Collapse Inward: Reduce resistance for subsequent sets. Also, perform Bodyweight Squats with a mini band wrapped around thighs just above knees to strengthen the muscles that keep the knees aligned with the hips and ankles.
  2. Knees Travel Beyond Toes: Reduce resistance for subsequent sets. Focus on sitting your hips back and keeping your chest up.
  3. Clean Grip is Uncomfortable: Arm and shoulder tightness may make this grip impractical or impossible for some. To address this issue, use a cross-grip (bar across shoulders with arms folded, grasping bar at opposite shoulders).
  4. Upper Body Strength Limits Weight: This occurs when you rely on your arms to support the bar. Instead, position the bar across your shoulders and keep your elbows at shoulder height and chest up so your trunk is supporting the bar.

Front Squat Technique Variations

To continue making strength and size gains, it’s important to vary your exercise selection. Learn how to Squat and find a full list of squat variations in Squat 101: A How-To Guide.

Topics: SQUAT | EXERCISES
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,686
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 4,900,882
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 6,471,296

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 3,167
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 1: Introducing the Players Views: 20,470
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Intro to Complexes Views: 61,506
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,488
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,633
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,559,831
How Greg Nixon Converts Strength to Speed
Views: 960,874
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,329,250

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program