The Front Squat builds lower body strength, engages the core (both the abs and the back), and transfers strength gains to Olympic lifts, like the clean. It is executed exactly like an air squat while maintaining a load in the front rack position.
First, start by sending your hips down and back until the crease of your hips breaks the crease of your knees. Once you reach full depth, you squeeze your butt, drive your elbows up, and stand until your shoulders, hips, and knees are in line.
Click here to watch a video demo!
One of the most often repeated cues in the front squat is “elbows up”. What the coach is trying to get the athlete to do here is to maintain an upright torso and avoid leaning too far forward.
As you can see in the picture above, the athlete has her elbows pointed straight ahead. We want to maintain this position throughout the entire lift.
As I mentioned previously, this keeps our torso upright and avoids any unnecessary strain on our low back. It also takes the pressure off of our wrists by placing the load on the shoulders.
If you struggle to keep your elbows high in the front squat, give these two exercises a try:
The first is called the PVC Front Rack stretch. This is great to do at the beginning of class while you wait for the coach to call everyone up.
Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 3-4 reps per arm. You can check out a video of the stretch here.
The second exercise involves an empty barbell. Place the barbell on your back like you are setting up for a back squat.
Then rotate each arm, one at a time, around the barbell like you are setting up for a front rack squat. Placing the bar on your back adds resistance for you to rotate around.
Aim for 2 sets of 10 rotations on each arm.
Both of these exercises can be completed in around 6 minutes which makes them perfect to try before your next class!
Want to learn the front squat? Book a FREE No Sweat Intro at Holy City CrossFit today!