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Increase Front Squat | Top Compound Movements

May 20, 2019

Zercher Squat vs Front Squat - Front SquatA lot of people want to know how they can increase front squat capabilities.

Let’s face it, the front squat can be a hard movement to learn.

But, with proper programming, and a lot of insight, you can increase front squat strength, depth, and skill.

So, today, let’s discuss how to do just that.

First, we will talk about why the front squat is a great exercise.

Then, we will explain how it can affect muscles differently.

Following that, we will expand on how the front squat can be performed and properly programmed.

The goal here is to get an overarching idea of why you would utilize the front squat over standard back squat.

Also, we need to go over the risks and dangers for some, as well as the benefits for others.

No exercise will be a one-size-fits-all for everyone, so let’s get that understood now.

If you’ve ever wanted to utilize the front squat or want to increase front squat numbers, then you’ve come to the right spot.


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Why is it Such a Great Exercise?

The front squat is like taking the gold standard of compound movements and making it the platinum standard.

It is different, but similar in value, and can take a bit more effort to achieve.

One of the biggest benefits of front squatting is the quad activation.

Due to this, you may need to practice your balance and bar placement.

However, once you are successfully putting the front squat into rotation, you’ll notice how it targets your body differently when compared to back squat.

In opposition to high glute activation with the back squat, you are mainly focusing on the quads and upper back.

As I said, this will take time to get used to and you need to be patient when balancing during the squat.

Many people have gone to do a front squat and have spilled over forwards due to poor placement, weak quads, and also overloading the bar.

These “risks” for a beginner can eventually become a real factor in muscle gain and strength.

Related: Best Back Support Belt for Lifting


How to Increase Front Squat Stability

Front SquatFor stability, it is best to work on the mind-muscle connection.

Slowly and surely, you should gain the confidence to understand your body’s strengths and limitations.

This goes all the way down to strengthening the feet and calves.

Also, this just goes to illustrate why you should avoid cushioned, unbalanced shoes and soles for squats.

For one, your feet will have no concept of the ground and stability.

Secondly, you will have tons of rotation within your shoes, which will cause you to sway.

The rocking back, forth, and side-to-side is often due to instability, which is often caused by weak feet and poor footwear.

In my opinion, your goal should be to start here first.

Then, go about planting your feet correctly and getting your squat position aligned.

Having access to a mirror (or recording of yourself) is super beneficial for this part.

Once your position is in alignment, practice the squat with your hands folded in front of you.

Then, practice the squat with an empty barbell.

Soon, these warm-ups will help bridge the mind-muscle connection and assist in strengthening stability.

Once that falls into place, your front squat will not falter or sway due to the issues mentioned above.

However, if you aren’t strong enough, you may still experience issues when increasing weight.


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How to Increase Front Squat Strength

Once you’ve got your form and stability down, it’s time to focus on strength.

As you may know, consistent, low-rep/high-volume training can help with this.

This will obviously vary from person to person.

However, a rep range of 4-10 is reasonable and can often build strength.

This will depend on the volume being used and what percentage of your overall max it correlates to.

You can also gain front squat strength from general leg and back training.

The main thing to remember is to not overwork or burn out on supplemental exercises.

Related: Zercher Squat vs Front Squat: Finding Your Perfect Squat


How to Increase Front Squat Benefits

To get the full potential out of your front squats, you must be sure you are performing them correctly.

Next, make sure you are lifting safely and controlled.

I would suggest using a weightlifting belt to support your back and add extra stability during the squat.

Furthermore, the use of a spotter during the front squat is highly beneficial.

With the back squat, you can usually jump forward out of the squat if it gets too heavy.

For the front squat, there is always a chance of forward collapse and the weight landing on your feet if you tilt sideways.

Having someone there to either spot from behind or two spotters on the sides of the barbell is useful.

This support system will allow you to focus your mind on the workout and build that mind-muscle connection.

Also, please remember to properly rest, hydrate, and consume your daily macros.

With compound exercises utilized at the highest level, you’ll need to have all your ducks in a row.

Once you start slacking in one aspect of your diet or fitness, you may see some decline in your benefits.


Final Thoughts

If you are proficient in back squat, now is the time to give the front squat a chance.

Trust me, you can really see some overall improvements when utilizing it.

Just be sure to follow a slow, strict training routine when you start out.

Once you have reached a comfortable level with the exercise, learn to get stronger.

At the point you are doing high volume, you can then fully relish in the front squat benefits.

These benefits will cross-over to your other workouts and strength/muscle building.


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