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Front Squat Challenge: How Many Can You Do?

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
September 21, 2017
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If you want a pair of almighty quads but your leg day action plan doesn’t include front squats, your plan is severely flawed. Many men rely on back squats to develop their quads. Hell, why wouldn’t they? They can rack and lift a lot more weight using back squats, and who doesn’t want to look like a king in their gym?[video width="640" height="360" mp4=""][/video]Meanwhile, the guy working quietly in the corner using less weight and performing the lesser used front squats is passing them by a country mile. How can this be? The front squat is a quad dominant exercise that engages your quads more than the back squat. Not only that, but you will need a ton of core power to complete these too. Further, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning asserts that the front squat was as effective as the back squat in terms of overall muscle recruitment, with significantly less compressive forces and extensor moments. In other words, they’re easier on the ‘ole knees.

How To Do Front Squats:

  1. Rack an Olympic bar in the squat rack at a height that allows you to bring your arms up under it while you keep your elbows high and your upper arms just above parallel to the floor. You can also do this move with dumbbells, as shown in the video.
  2. Get under the bar so that it rests on the top of your delts. If you're using dumbbells, hold the dumbbells at just above shoulder level with your palms facing inwards.
  3. Take your thumb, ring, and pinky finger out from under the bar so that only two of your fingers are under the bar.
  4. Un-rack the bar and take a step backward. Brace your abdominals and flex your hips and knees.
  5. Begin by driving your knees outwards as you squat down between them. Maintain a rigid torso and keep your head and elbows up. If your elbows aren’t up, your chest can fall forward which is bad form. You won’t be able to do the exercise with heavy weight if you allow your chest to fall forward.
  6. Lower yourself until the angle between your upper leg and your calves is slightly less than 90 degrees. Begin driving back to starting position through your heels.
front squats

Trainer Tips:The all-important elbows:As you reach the bottom portion of this exercise, focus on keeping your elbows up and inwards. Keeping your elbows up ensures you are maintaining proper spinal alignment and extension. Correct thoracic extension is important for proper posture, and to prevent neck, shoulder, upper back, and lower back pain and injury.

Sample Exercise Plan:

  • Front Squat 3 sets of 12
  • Lying Leg Curls 3 sets of 12
  • Dumbbell Lunges walk 16 paces 3-4 times
  • Good Mornings 3 sets of 10
  • Leg Press 3 sets of 12
  • Standing Calf Raise Machine 4 sets of 10

Read more fitness articles here.

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