Last Monday evening, I started an online cohort hosted by the Institute of Clinical Excellence. This is an 8 week course that will be addressing the Clinical Management of the Fitness Athlete. Each week, I will have a homework assignment, in which I will be performing a specific athletic movement to be posted in the class’ Facebook page to be analyzed and assessed by the other members of the class and course leads. We then have lecture notes and discussions revolving around the latest research regarding each athletic movement. The first week’s assignment was the barbell front squat and as such, is what I’ll be discussing in today’s blog.
The front squat is an extremely versatile athletic movement. It can be used to develop hip strength, quad strength, explosive power, quad hypertrophy, etc. It can be used to strengthen the “recovery phase” of the clean and jerk Olympic lift.
The front squat differs quite a bit from the back squat. For one, the rack position is different. The back squat has the barbell placed across the upper back and upper traps, whereas the front squat has the bar across the front of the shoulders and collar bones. The front squat requires more external rotation of the shoulders as well as extension through the wrists to maintain a good front rack position. It also requires more ankle dorsiflexion as well.
The front squat tends to emphasize the quads rather than the glutes and hamstrings compared to the back squat. This is due to the load being forward, which requires you to maintain a more upright torso, thus causing more movement through the knees.
Some proper technique queues are maintaining a braced neutral spine (SHOCKING!), releasing through the hips first, knees track over or slightly outside the toes, and hip crease below the knees. Also, it’s important to maintain heel contact with the ground throughout the entirety of the movement. Take a look at my front squat below! Let me know what you see!
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