Why: With the front squat you can go heavy to increase lower body and core strength, and this is also a movement that requires tremendous flexibility: at the bottom of the front squat, you’ll reach your wrist, ankle, hip, and shoulder mobility limits. Bonus: Front squatting helps prevent kyphosis (the Hunchback of Notre Dame physique) in the thoracic spine—keep your elbows up high throughout the movement to reap the posture benefits.
Set-Up: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the barbell just outside of your shoulders. Your grip should be a loose, fingertip grip. Bring your elbows up high, pointing forward, in line with your shoulders.
Execution: Brace the core. Reach your hips back and down as you descend to the bottom of the squat. At the bottom, your hips should be lower than your knees. Maintain your lumbar curve throughout the squat. Keep your heels in contact with the ground as you descend and ascend. Your knees should track your toes throughout the movement. Stand tall at the top of the movement to reach full hip and knee extension.
Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– Your hip crease drops below your knee crease at the bottom of the squat
– You reach full hip and knee extension at the top
Pro Tip: Take a big inhale at the start of the movement. Hold your breath as you descend and ascend through the front squat. Let the air out only once you’ve completed the movement, i.e. after you’ve reached full hip/knee extension – especially if you’re going heavy. The breath helps brace your core, which allows you to stay braced throughout the movement.