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Why We Front Squat

By admin | In Olympic Weightlifting | on October 18, 2011


We already air squat, back squat, and sometimes even overhead squat. Why oh why do we have to add yet another squat into the mix? Not to mention having to rack it in such an uncomfortable position? If you watch the video above, you’ll know why we front squat. Pyros Dimas, weighing a mere ~185 lbs, clean and jerked 476 lbs, which is well over twice his body weight. It’s an incredible display of power, speed, and strength wrapped up in one lift. It takes great power to accelerate the bar, speed to pull yourself under it, and strength to stand up with it.

The main reason most people don’t like front squatting is because it’s hard. The numbers they put up are nowhere near their back squats; it hurts their wrists; and did I mention it was hard? Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD┬álists what is required for an athlete to excel at front squatting:

1) Rigid, rock hard mid-line stabilization. A fence post like spine.
2) Freaky huge quads to handle the load given up by the hamstings.
3) Terrific ankle flexibility to handle the forward driving shins during the vertical torso phase.

Usually the biggest hurdles in the front squat include the following:

1. You can’t keep your elbows up. This usually means you need to strengthen your rotator cuffs, which help you bring your elbows up and in to create that bed for the barbell to sit on. Try this drill from a previous post as well as these drills in this T-Nation article by Eric Cressey.

2. You can’t keep your torso upright. Marcus wrote a great article a while back about mobilizing your upper back to get a better rack position. Also you can try these drills on Mark’s Daily Apple.

3. You can’t keep your torso tight enough. This one is harder to spot and can attribute to the upper two problems. The key is to try to make your torso like a closed soda can. Take a huge breath, push out against your ribs, and tighten up. Activate your lower abs like you’re performing a strict crunch. And hold. Do more strict crunches, hollows, waiter’s walks, farmer carries, and pallof presses.

4. You don’t have the wrist flexibility. This one’s a bit tougher. However, barring a anthropomorphic problem (ie your forearm/humerus is too long/short) there are temporary solutions (using straps) as well as an abundance of stretches and warm ups to get you there.

Check out other tips for the front squat here and here.

We front squat because it’s hard. We front squat because it strengthens your entire body. We front squat because we want to be like Dimas.


WOD 10.18.11

Front Squat 3×3
Deadlift 1×5 or Wendler

Cash Out with 5 rope climbs, focusing on using your footwork coming back down.

4 Comments to "Why We Front Squat"

  • Nik Werre says:

    October 18, 2011 at 7:35 AM -

    My hero…how i long to be you!

  • becky says:

    October 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM -

    love it!

  • Brian says:

    October 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM -

    How’d they teach that lion to C&J?

  • Holley says:

    October 18, 2011 at 4:08 PM -

    @ Brian – LOL

    P.S. Watt bikes in the NLI event…guess we better start hogging up that hill!

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