Front squats are a staple exercise in Olympic weightlifting programs as they serve as the base for the catch position in the clean. Generally, people tend to lift more weight with the back squat and often find holding the bar in the front rack position difficult. As a result, front squats are often neglected.
FRONT SQUAT TECHNIQUE
FRONT SQUATS EXPOSE WEAKNESSES
With the back squat you can hide weaknesses, with the front squat you cannot. Any imbalances, strength deficiencies and mobility issues will be promptly brought to the light with the front squat. It is a great exercise for identifying the following issues:
- Problems with thoracic extension (the ability to keep your chest up)
- Overdeveloped pic minor, biceps or triceps that can lead to a hunched forward position
- Imbalances in the shoulder girdle
- Weaknesses in the core
- Front rack mobility issues
- Poor strength in the glutes and quads
- Hip mobility issues
- Lack of ankle flexibility
The exercise requires good strength to carry the weight and great mobility to coordinate it through the full range of motion. Having a well-developed chest, biceps and shoulder can often lead to a natural medial rotation of the upper arms (think shoulders hunched forwards, arms turned inwards) if this part of the body is not balanced out by a well-developed back as well. If this sounds familiar, the front squat will force you to remedy this posture, improve your movement and start to address this issue.
For more information on muscular imbalances, check out this article with the strength and movement coach from CrossFit Invictus.