People new to the exercise game may not be aware of the several different types of squat exercises out there. While you may think it is about a simple bending of the knees, there is far more to it than that.
There is a squatting exercise to get almost every muscle group in your body, and doing this exercise correctly can give you a very intense workout, whether you are doing it at home or the gym.
Today we will be looking at the front squat, the lesser-used variation on the traditional back squat. We will cover everything including how to do it correctly, and the many benefits that this exercise can have on your body.
Here is everything you need to know about this exercise.
What Is A Front Squat?
A front squat is a squat performed with a barbell that is held in front of the chest rather than behind the back. This strengthens the upper body while also working the glutes, hamstrings, and hips.
Because of the stance, front squats are best suited for people with strong upper body strength and mobility. Wrist flexibility is also required to grip the barbell against the top of the chest efficiently.
What Muscles Are Worked In This Exercise?
While front squats work many muscles throughout the body, they are specifically designed to target the quadriceps. These powerful muscles make up the bulk of your thigh and buttock area, and help you move objects from one point to another.
Your core muscles will also be used as these are needed to keep you upright and balanced while holding the weights.
When you do the squats, the weight is transferred from your upper to your lower body, which is what works out your glutes and your hamstrings.
This exercise is one of the best you can try if you want to work out several muscle groups at once.
How To Do The Front Squat
Keeping the proper form is essential when doing any exercise as this is what allows you to work out your muscles effectively and safely.
The front squat is relatively easy to do, though you should ensure that you do not overload yourself with weight at first or you may strain your muscles too hard too quickly. Here is a simple guide to this exercise:
- Making sure you are using the right about of weights for your strength level, bring the bar level with the middle of your chest. You should be holding it with your hands just a little wider than a shoulders width apart.
- Gently lower yourself down slightly so that the bar is level with your shoulders
- Bring your elbows up as high and as forwards as possible. You will want your elbows to maintain this position for the whole squat as this will keep the bar secure in your hands while also keeping your body upright
- Your feet need to be shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly away from each other
- Slowly lower yourself into the squatting position. If you take a deep breath in just before doing this, you will keep your torso strong and you will feel more stable
- Lower yourself until your legs are parallel with the floor
- Breathe out as you slowly rise up
- Repeat for as many reps as you are comfortable with
The Benefits Of The Front Squat
There are several benefits to adding the front squat to your workout routine. Here are just a few.
Work A Wide Variety Of Muscle Groups
Unlike most squatting exercises, the front squat gives you an almost full-body workout. These squats are very good for building muscle mass very quickly in your lower body including your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and hips.
In your upper body, you will be targeting your chest, back, shoulders, and arm muscles. You may notice the effects of this workout after just a few weeks depending on how often you do it
Make You Stand Up Straighter
Front squats help to strengthen your spinal erectors, the muscles used to keep you standing up straight. If you find that you slouch a lot, then the front squat might be a useful exercise for you to try to improve your posture.
Can Make Doing Other Exercises Easier
As front squats target many muscle groups, you may find that doing other exercises becomes a lot easier, especially those surrounding weightlifting. If you are already a pro at front squats then you should give deadlift a try, as this utilizes the same upper body muscle groups.
Front Squat Variations
If you want a bit of challenge you should try out these variations on the front squat.
Band - Resisted Squat
If you find that lifting the weight on the bar isn't enough for you, you can add a resistance band. This raises not just the total resistance in the lift but also loads that resistance towards the top of the move, where the band tension will be at its peak.
This means you won't have any extra weight on the bottom half of the exercise, which may be harmful given the squat's mobility issues, but it will boost your power and motivate you to drive all the way up as you stand to overcome the band's growing resistance.
To do this variation, attach the resistance band to a racked bar and stand on it until it is taut, keeping the two loops on the bar somewhat wider than shoulder-width apart.
Then, as usual, complete your front squat, being careful not to lose form owing to the increased resistance in the second half of the exercise.
Start with a kettlebell or dumbbell and work your way up if you're not comfortable about taking on a loaded barbell in a front squat. Hold the weight against your chest with your arms bent and your hands above your elbows (as if holding a goblet in two hands).
Squat until your elbows are in contact with the insides of your knees, then push yourself up to standing. This exercise will help you get used to squatting with a weight in front of your body while also serving as a great leg strengthener.
The front squat is one of the best exercises you can add to your workout routine as it is essentially a full-body workout. Hardly any other exercise is able to target as many muscle groups as this one.
It is guaranteed to make you look at feeling stronger, with you being able to see results after just a few workouts.
RECOMMENDED GYM ACCESSORIES