All points of performance, common faults, and movement corrections of The Air Squat also apply to the front squat. The only difference between the two is a loaded barbell in the front-rack position.
An excellent test of core strength, the front squat will tax just about every muscle in the body. Let’s dig into the set-up, execution, and finish of this foundational movement.
Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with the option of pointing your toes out slightly. Shifting the angle of your toes out will allow for the less flexible athlete to reach proper depth.
Your grip on the bar should be loose. So loose, many athletes prefer to only have two fingers on the bar; but don’t let this fool you. The fingers and wrist are doing little to no work. The barbell should be squarely on the shoulders, well above the collarbone. The legs lift the load, not the arms.
And finally, your hands should be outside the shoulders with the elbows high. The newer athlete will find this position difficult to get into–that is okay. Over time, your lats and shoulders will allow your triceps to get into this parallel position with the floor.
As far as the execution of the front squat goes, nothing changes from the air squat except for your elbow position.
You will notice with repetition that the barbell will slip off your shoulders when your elbows point to the ground (or you will experience a great deal of pain in your wrists). Keeping your elbows high will require tremendous core strength.
The rest of your front squat, however, looks identical to the air squat: Your hips descend down and back until they are below the knee crease, your lower-back curve is maintained, your heels remain in contact with the floor, and your knees stay in line with your toes.
As shown in the last frame of the picture above, the hips and knees should finish the squat at full extension (i.e. a normal, standing position).
P.S. If your wrists begin to hurt, work on your shoulder and lat mobility with this video or this video. If it persists, purchase one of these wrist wraps.
AMRAP 3 Minutes
20 Jumping Lunges
20 Alternating Leg V-Ups
Max Box/Chair Step Ups
*Images used from here.