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I wanted to try using front squats in my workouts. They always seemed technically tough to me and a bit intimidating, does anyone have good tips on how to perform them properly?

For front squats, I want to use the clean type grip and wanted to know about a good stretching exercise for my wrists.

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The Front Squat is an amazing exercise that I like to do regularly. It's a bit difficult to do at first, but if you start low enough and work your way up, it's actually not that hard. I started at about 50% of my back squat and worked up to ~75%.

As for technique, I'll try to give you some cues I've learned over time, which have helped me a lot.

It's still a squat...
While you're placing the weight in another position, your back and legs should about do the same thing as with a back squat.

  • Knees should still be above your feet, but not over them.
  • The weight should still be above your mid-foot.
  • You should still go below parallel.
  • Your back should still be straight (although more upright).

...but it's also different
Since the front squat uses places the bar in a completely new position, you might want to look out for what your upper body does.

  • The weight is resting on your front deltoids, not your chest, your arms or your collarbones. This can hurt at first, depending on how puffy your deltoids are. If you're strangling yourself, you went too far.
  • Keep your back upright and straight (again). This prevents dropping the weight and nasty back injuries.
  • Keep your elbows up. This is even more important to not fall over. Keep them as high as possible and don't let them sag once you get tired. This is by far the one thing that helped me most, as you'll almost automatically hold your whole body in the right position once the elbows are up.

As for grip:
The bad news is, I'm not sure what stretches would be advisable to get to clean grip, but there're already some question on that topic on this site (I think someone recommended aikido strechtes, go look it up).

The good news, however, is that you can use a 'clean grip' even if you're not flexible enough. For this, one uses straps, like in this video (at the start, but the rest is good, too). Like Thibs says in the video, straps can also be used instead of a 'real' clean grip to prevent elbow strain, but that's personal preference.

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I will add some cues to Larissa's.

  • When you are in the hole (the bottom position of the squat) don't strain your neck by looking up and leading with the head when rising to the standing position. Lead with your chest, not your head. This will help you maintain your upright position and mitigate the tendency of your butt rising faster than you chest when moving heavy weights.
  • Point your toes out, up to 30 degress. Knees track over toes. "Shove your knees out" on the descent, as Mark Rippetoe says. Depending on your individual anthropometry, your knees may well be past your toes in the bottom position.

In terms of stretching, I always found simply doing the movements helps to create the necessary mobility. If you don't quite have the wrist flexibility yet to support bigger weights for your work sets, warm up with the clean grip, then use the straps for your work sets. Kelly Starrett has a ton of mobility drills, here is one specific to the front rack.

This is a good video for learning form: http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/video/platform_the_front_squat

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Brandon Smitley of EliteFTS has put out a great series on the front squat.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

He covers everthing from technique and the kind of shoes to wear to how to incorporate it into your program. I would try and summarize the information, but it wouldn't do it justice. Go check it out!

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