This weeks blog post focuses on performing the Front Squat.  The idea of this came after some coaching that I received this week from Strength and Conditioning Coaches Todd Carlon & Martyn Girvan of Elite Sports Performance.  The Front Squat is certainly an exercise that I have not performed regularly and have decided it is time that I start to master this and have a better appreciation of how to 1.  Perform it correctly and 2.  Improve my ability to coach this to clients.

Front Squat Advantages (sourced from Elitefts, Click here to read the article)

  • Front squats are more quad dominant, bodybuilders like this that are paranoid about getting their butts too big.
  • Front squats are easier on your back because your torso is more erect and obviously less weight is being handled.
  • If you go forward on a front squat you lose the weight, so it ‘s impossible to lean forward too excessively.
  • Front squats are also a good tool to teach someone to back squat with an erect torso.
  • Front squats offer great transference to jerks, push presses and Olympic lifts. More core stabilization is required.

Common Problems With The Front Squat

  • Inability to maintain correct arm positioning (elbows up)
  • Lack of range of motion through the wrist, elbow and shoulder
  • Poor bar positioning
  • Excessive thoracic spine rounding
  • Poor squat patterning

The big lesson that I took from the coaching lesson this week was that I clearly lacked the adequate range of motion through the wrist, elbow and shoulder when put into the bar rack position.  Whilst individually I have adequate range of motion in each of these areas, when put in the bar rack position, there is a lot of fascial tightness that prevents me from maintaining a comfortable and appropriate bar position.

Whilst I have not had any further assessment beyond this and assessing it myself, I know that I clearly have a range of motion limitation as well as lack of conditioning in being able to maintain good bar positioning.  The other issue identified with my front squat this week was the excessive thoracic spine rounding and lack of both thoracic spine extension and back strength to maintain an upright posture.

This weeks take away for me with regards to the front squat is to:

  1. Work on improving mobility through these areas by carrying out more powerband stretching, thoracic foam rolling, practicing racking and fascial stretching in the functional rack position, improve upper back strength, practice the squat movement.
  2. Build strength into these positions.
  3. Integrate this into the front squat and practice, practice practice.

Rather than not front squat at all.  I have added a number of videos below that should give you some further insight into common technical issues with the front squat and how to go about improving any lack of mobility or strength issues.  This is something that I will be personally working on over the next month or two.  These videos have been sourced from an array professionals via YouTube and include:  Poliquin Performance, Kelly Starrett and others.  Check these out below.

Front Squat Education Videos

Poliquin Performance gives some great tips on improving the front squat.  Check out his YouTube clip below.

Kelly Starrett  of Mobility Wod talks about how to solving front rack problems.

Kelly Starrett of Mobility Wod demonstrates a great shoulder mobility exercise.

Check out the YouTube clip that demonstrates the correct bar and elbow position.

In this video from Youtube, the presenter demonstrates 3 different hand hold positions

This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams. Heath is the director of Principle Four Osteopathy and Corporate Work Health Australia. Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 leading Osteopathic clinics. The clinic is located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD at 29 Somerset Place (near the corner of Little Bourke & Elizabeth St). Appointments can be made by calling 03 9670 9290 or booking online @ www.principlefourosteopathy.com.

Corporate Work Health Australia is a nationwide Occupational Health & Safety Company that provides ergonomic and manual handling consulting, risk assessments and training. All of our trainers and assessors are registered osteopaths and physiotherapists. To find out more about our services, please go to www.corporateworkhealth.com.

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