If a discussion on records in the area of the squat burns once again in relevant online forums, one can almost certainly assume that it is almost exclusively about back squats. This is not surprising, since it is the royal exercise par excellence. We are the last ones who intend to dig the good old squat water, but it should not go unmentioned that Front Squats are even superior to the back squats in some respects. In view of this fact, one may rightly ask why front squats in this republic are practiced only by a fraction of the athletes. The answer is simple. Front squats are simply hard work well outside of their own comfort zone and as popular with most as chest hair or protein shake from raw eggs. Why you should still include the exercise in your exercise plan? Good question.
Why should I include front squats in my training schedule?
Why this exercise is definitely part of your exercise program is quick to explain because it gives you three major benefits if you do it the right way. The first big advantage is the fact that the range of motion increases significantly compared to conventional back squats. The reason for this is the displacement of the dumbbell in front of the body axis, whereby the leg and hip flexors are less stressed and therefore less likely to block the movement sequence. In addition, due to the additional depth a higher activation of the butt muscles, so that they can be much better involved in the movement process. What also speaks for the front squats, is the intense strain on the abdominal muscles, which is not only excellently trained in the course of the exercise, but also does its part to ensure that your upper body remains stable across the entire range of motion. Finally, it should not fall under the table that front squats the quadriceps significantly more targeted and also more stress than conventional squats. The bottom line is that there is no better way to focus on developing the anterior thigh muscles.
Why you can not handle proper front squats
You may have tried Front Squats before, but have always failed. The reasons for this may vary, but they go far beyond the much-praised mantra "practice makes perfect". In the following, we would like to show you some possible causes that may also prevent you from doing clean front squats.
Your abs are not strong enough
Probably the most common reason why athletes fail at the front squats is a too weak abdominal muscle, which means that you can not keep your upper body sufficiently stable in the course of the exercise and abort your work set prematurely. So before you can break records, you should first prepare your abdominal muscles for the challenges ahead by strengthening them. Only when your abdominal muscles can fulfill their role as a stabilizer will you be able to fully exploit the full potential of the exercise and maximize muscle growth. Regarding strengthening the trunk, you should not only resort to traditional exercises such as crunches or hanging knee raises, but also to complex training forms such as suitcase deadlifts.
Your elbows will not stay in position
The second major problem that many strength athletes have in the course of execution is that the elbows do not remain stable in position, but continue to lower as the training progresses. However, your goal should be for your elbows to point up as far as possible. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that your upper arm is always at least parallel to the ground. However, if you find that the position of your elbow changes noticeably to the negative after only a few repetitions, this is usually due to a too weak rotator cuff, which is involved in the rotation of your upper arm. Exercises like Face Pulls or the so-called Dumbell External Rotation can help you to get a grip on this deficit in a timely manner.
You are not really straight
It is extremely important for the proper performance of Front Squats that your upper body is straight during the entire movement sequence. However, that is precisely what causes many athletes great problems, since their organism is not used to the comparatively unusual load distribution. As a result, due to the disproportionate fatigue of the rhomboid muscle seated between the shoulder blades, the back circling after only a few repetitions, which in turn increases the risk of injury on the other side. If you have this problem as well, you can quickly and efficiently eliminate it by specifically strengthening the muscle with exercises such as Foam Roller Extensions or PNF Intercostal Stretch. Overall, it should nevertheless be taken into account that studies in sports science have shown that the critical postural muscles nevertheless tire quickly and, accordingly, can only perform suboptimal isometric work. It is therefore advisable in terms of effectiveness and injury prophylaxis, the maximum number of repetitions per set to eight to ten.
How to master the classic front squat grip
Since the classic grip that is used in front squats, a large part of the training problems, it is only too glad to resort to the so-called California grip. This is obviously much more comfortable, as the barbell is resting on the shoulder muscles, while the forearms are in a crossed position in front of the chest and thus suggest stability. But this is a big mistake, because your elbows are different height above the ground, so the weight is not balanced properly. In the worst case, this results in dysbalances in the shoulder muscles that affect the hips and knees. We therefore strongly recommend that you refrain from using this type of handle and use the classic handle in its place, although this is initially uncomfortable. At this point, you should know that the grip is much easier if you have properly stretched both your triceps and forearm muscles before training. In addition, it is also permissible to grasp the bar only with index, middle and ring fingers, as this is primarily held by the deltoid muscles in any case.
Front squats at a glance
- Make sure your toe tips are slightly outward-rotated.
- Keep your back straight and stretch out your chest.
- Your elbows must stay up.
- Involve your butt muscles actively in the movement.
- Use your entire foot as a caudal area and make sure your heels stay on the ground.
- Breathe deeply and regularly.
- Do not be afraid of the dead stop, your legs are strong enough to get you back up.
Who should use Front Squats in any case
Of course, front squats are suitable for every athlete who wants to get the most out of his body. However, since especially tall athletes in the context of performing classic squats often have a problem with bowing correspondingly deep, Front Squats will especially recommend these athletes. The fact that even big athletes can bend much lower in the course of this exercise, is in turn due to the shift of the weight, which allows the hip to move in a larger radius. In addition, the use of Front Squats for the same reasons is also recommended for athletes with shortened hamstrings.