How to Do Barbell Front Squats: Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Soniya
Barbell front squat helps in strengthening your lower body. (Image via Pexels / Anastasia Shuraeva)
Barbell front squat helps in strengthening your lower body. (Image via Pexels / Anastasia Shuraeva)

The barbell front squat is one of the most popular lower body strength exercises, especially among for ones looking to improve their strength and power. The exercise is also commonly used by Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters.

If you want to build a strong lower body, it's essential to incorporate compound exercises. The barbell front squat is one such exercise that can help you build strength in the quadriceps and hamstrings while also helping develop functional postural strength.


How to Do the Barbell Front Squat with Correct Form?

There are four basic steps in performing a barbell front squat with a rack: preparing the rack, unracking the bar, doing a front squat and re-racking the bar.

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Here's how you do the barbell front squat:

  • Stand tall, with your feet pointed out in a shoulder-width stance.
  • Place the barbell on top of your chest. To securely hold the bar with your fingers, use an overhand grip.
  • To support the weight of the bar, the triceps should remain parallel to the floor.
  • Inhale, and steadily lower your hips till your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your weight still.
  • After a brief pause at the bottom of the squat, drive your hips back to the starting position.
  • It's time to re-rack the bar after you've completed your barbell front squats.
  • Step forward till the J-hooks are parallel to your shoulders. Keep your elbows raised.
  • Puff up your chest with a big inhale, and drive the bar slightly up and into the J-hooks.
  • Take a step back from the bar.

Tips and Techniques for Barbell Front Squat

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Here's a few tips and techniques that you need to remember while doing this exercise:

  • Unlike a regular squat, where the torso leans slightly forward, the back stays almost entirely vertical as you descend.
  • Even though your glutes continue to fall below knee level, your hips should stay under the bar rather than floating behind it.
  • The ankles should flex more, and the knees should stretch further out in front.
  • In the upright position, keep the spine long and the back tall.
  • Your weight should be on the middle of your feet, while your heels stay on the ground. Avoid shifting your weight forward into the balls of your feet or back into your heels.
  • For safety reasons, proper grip and elbow placement are key. Allow at least 15 to 20 minutes to try out various positions and make adjustments, as needed.

Benefits

Some benefits of this exercise are as follows:

1) The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and hips are targeted in this exercise. It also engages the erector spinae, a group of muscles that run almost the entire length of the spine, and the rectus abdominus to a lesser extent.

2) The front barbell squat is more effective than the rear barbell squat for improving quad strength. The hamstrings are less involved when you keep your weight forward, so the quads have to work harder.

3) Squats, in general, help young adults gain strength and improve athletic performance. They've also been proven to aid elderly people who are striving to maintain their physical function and lung capacity.


Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are a few common mistakes to avoid while doing this exercise. They are as follows:

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1) Keeping your elbows down

Keeping your elbows elevated may be challenging if your wrists aren't flexible. Squatting with your elbows down, meanwhile, risks the bar going forward and off your chest, which can be dangerous.

2) Not using proper grip

Hand position is another important element to consider when it comes to barbell front squat. Experiment with various hand positions till you find the one that works best for you.

Use the grip that is most comfortable for you to keep your elbows up and your chest high. Eventually, it's far more important to maintain the barbell in place while squatting than it is to use the same grip as everyone else in the gym.

3) Incorrect Squat Form

The hips are merely lowered to roughly knee level in a typical squat, requiring less hip and ankle flexibility. The barbell front squat necessitates a significantly deeper squat than most people are used to. (Your butt is closer to your lower leg in the lowest position.)

4) Rushing the exercise

This is an exercise that should be done slowly and carefully. You're either going too fast or not applying enough weight if you're bouncing at the bottom of the motion. First, try slowing down. Increase the weight you're using if it feels too easy.


Takeaway

The barbell front squat should be in everyone's fitness regime, but it's an exercise that generally requires supervision to master proper form and execution.

This exercise is more challenging than a traditional back squat. To avoid any risks associated with the exercise, it's recommended that you practice it and build up your strength and coordination, not only to get better while performing the exercise, but also to perfect it. That'll ensure that when you start a programme using weight, you'll stay safe and improve your performance too.

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Edited by Bhargav