Exercise You Should Be Doing: The Front Squat

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There are exercises that seem to do a better job than others at building strength and athleticism across the board.

While obviously all exercises do a great job at building muscle, strength, and developing athleticism, some are better than others. And sometimes this is obvious, but other times it’s not so obvious.

For example: There are a ton of guys who can bench 225lbs. It’s really not all that impressive, but how many can overhead press 225lbs? Bros who have a big overhead press are almost always going to be bigger, stronger, and more athletic looking than their benching counterparts.

Now obviously a 225lb overhead press is just more difficult than a 225lb bench press because of mechanics and angles. But you can find bros who overhead press in the 180’s and 190’s who still have bigger shoulders, arms, and an overall better physique.

The same goes with the squat vs. front squat. Obviously the squat is an awesome lift, and I’m not calling for anyone to stop squatting right now. But I think the front squat is a better lift.

There are a ton of guys out there who can squat a respectable amount of weight. Yet there aren’t as many guys that can front squat a respectable amount.

Guess who almost always looks bigger, better, and more athletic? The front squatters.

Which is exactly why you need to be front squatting.

The front squat is a pretty common lift in the fitness world. Most of us know about it, yet most of us manage to royally fuck it up from time to time. Typically because the front squat requires that you’ve mastered the squat, but also have the necessary mobility in your upper back to support hundreds of pounds.

Yet while it may take some time to get down, it’s well worth it.

The front squat is superior to the back squat when it comes to building overall quad size and strength, challenging the anterior core muscles (your abs) and transferring over to real life functional movement and athleticism.

The magic to all of this lies in the front rack position. Because the front rack position challenges upper back mobility and strength, core strength and stability, while also developing serious leg strength it just so happens to be better for most people out there. Bros who are looking for aesthetic, yet strong and athletic physiques are going to find that the front squat is there best friend.

Common front squat flaws.

By far and away one of the ways that people fuck up the front squat is by lacking the proper upper back mobility to actually do this lift. Unlike the back squat, you want to try and keep the amount of forward lean in the front squat to a minimum.

This means that your spine needs to remain upright throughout the entire lift. Much easier said than done.

If your shoulders, lats, rhomboids, and the rest of your upper back aren’t mobile of strong enough to support the bar, you’re going to have technical failure fast. This is why practicing mobility, like I wrote about here, can help you out immensely.

But if you’re not super mobile, altering your grip can help.

When front squatting there are two common ways to try and grip the bar; either with a clean grip, like I’m doing in the video above, or a cross face grip.

They both have their pros and cons.

With a clean grip, you typically feel more stable and are able to control more weight. However if your lats are so tight that you can’t get your elbows high enough, leading to too much forward lean, then the clean grip can become a potential injury risk.

The cross face grip, where you rest the bar on your shoulders and cross your hands over one another, typically doesn’t feel as stable as the clean grip, but it’s not as challenging from a mobility perspective.

The point is you’re going to need to play around and find what works for you before you try and work front squats into a program constantly.

Once you’ve found the grip that works for you, start implementing front squats into your program over back squats for a couple of months. I’m willing to bet that not only will you wind up stronger overall, you’ll be a hell of a lot more athletic and better looking.