• James Jackson

The Front squat & why I love them

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

The front squats and why I love them and why you should start including them into your own workout programmes!

I love front squats because this exercise completely opened my eyes to all the weak points and imbalances throughout my body.

I became so much more aware of the joints that were lacking mobility and which areas of muscle tissue that were really tight.

The most common areas of tightness and restricted mobility are:

1. Ankles

2. Hips

3. Thoracic spine

4. Shoulder girdle

5. Wrists

This meant that performance was being compromised and if I put any sort of substantial weight on the bar my technique would go to pot and I would be more uncomfortable than I should be feeling.

So what do you do in this situation you ask...

Well you have 4 options.

Option 1. Sack off front squatting altogether (which I don't recommend at all and I will explain why further down the page)

Option 2. Instead of using the front rack position (Olympic grip) you can attach a pair of lighting straps to the bar and wrap the straps once around your hands. Your hands will be in a neutral position (palms facing in towards one another) pull the straps taught and keep the elbows high.

Option 3. Don't use a barbell at all to perform a front squat (especially if you are new to lifting free weights) you can use kettle bells, dumbbells, medicine balls and even a small child if you want (as long as its your own)

Option 4. Now this option is by far the most time consuming and requires the most effort from YOU. However if you are that bit more interested and serious about lifting weights and learning how to perform new lifts, then this is the best option for you. Because the benefits of learning how to perform the barbell front squat properly is an absolute game changer. You will achieve so much more than just being able to perform this exercise!

As I mentioned earlier about all the common areas of tightness and areas that are normally lacking mobility to perform this exercise correctly, these are the areas to focus on improving along side practicing your front squat technique (just with the bar to begin with)

The content on how to improve these areas to help you perform the front squat will be uploaded a bit later on this week.

As promised I will now tell you why I don't recommend anyone looking to improve their health & fitness to sack off front squatting of any kind.

Here is 7 reasons to get involved with front squats.

1. FRONT SQUATS BUILD MORE QUADRICEPS THAN BACK SQUATS. if you plateaued with your back squats gains, then this is the first exercise I would introduce you to so you can break through that plateau.

2. FRONT SQUATS ARE EAISER ON THE BACK AND KNEES THAN THE BACK SQUATS. Because you have to keep a more upright position to front squat properly, the knees and spine are far lower without negatively impacting on the muscle recruitment.

3. FRONT SQUATS CAN IMPROVE YOUR BACK SQUATS AND OVERALL PERFORMANCE. Those who do a front squat cycle improve their back squats. the reverse isn't necessarily true.

4. FRONT SQAUTS ARE SAFER FOR YOU THAN BACK SQUATS. If you fail to make the concentric range (extension of the hips and knees) you can drop the bar easily.

5. FRONT SQUATS CAN IMPROVE YOUR MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY. You cant front squat properly with an Olympic bar unless your mobility is in check from the ankles right the way through to the wrists.

6. FRONT SQUATS HAVE A HIGH TRANSFER TO OLYMPIC LIFTING. ALERT. All CrossFit fans, you'll love this. If your cleans are stuck get on a front squat cycle.

7. FRONT SQUATS CAN HELP INCREASE YOUR CORE STRENGTH AND STABILITY EVEN MORE THAN A BACK SQUAT. Any form of squatting requires core activation to stabilise your body as you go through the eccentric stage & the concentric stage of the lift. Now this is prominent more in this exercise due to the weight load being in front of us. Our core is working hard to maintain correct posture throughout the movement and also stabilise the body.

So there you have it 7 reasons to add front squats to your workout if you haven't already.

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