To today's main course, talking about some squats baby. Below we have a few different grips for the front squat. As you read through about them I will talk about which ones I like and what I like or don't like them and at the same time everyone can be jealous of my great workout faces. Hey at least I don't look like this guy.
First thing is about squats in general, learn to LOVE them. Squats work, among other things, your legs which have a tendency to have more muscle. Also this is especially for all you ladies, they work the booty too, so if you want a booty, get some squats into your workouts. I like both of the 2 more popular variations of squats, front and back, today we'll just focus on the front style. I'm not really going to get into how deep to go or how many failing squats I see on a regular basis because that will pretty much just turn into a book. I can save that for publishing and making me oodles of money...I can dream at least.
Pretty much any version of the front squat is going to promote leg strength, more in the quads than hamstrings, but those will still get their work in too don't you worry. They also will make you engage your core because that is the main thing that is going to keep you upright and not going kerplunk-fail. The most basic of these being the Goblet squat right into the full Clean-racked technique will get your core engaged. These techniques can be used for most quad dominant exercises as well, again another story for another time.
Start with the bad first, well at the very least not the best. I have pictured the cross armed technique for the front squat. "Put the hooks in" then resting the arms on the shoulders and triceps. This is probably the easiest of the techniques to start with using a bar, or at least what many people start with, I'll even admit I've used with with clients from time to time, trying to get around that as much as possible, I'm simply not a huge fan of it. It let's you perform a front squat but does not do as much for you as the other 2 will. It does force you to stay tall because otherwise you will be holding the bar with your elbows, and unless you are going for Zercher squats you probably don't want that. Moral of this little blurb is if you can manage one of the other techniques, which most should be able to, then go with that.
This one here is one I would use to help with those that have poor shoulder and wrist mobility. I will avoid using straps in my own training like the black plague, but it happens now and again. This gets those that are in Tinman mobility barrel use to the idea of trying to get their hands under the bar as much as possible, I use to be in that barrel, it's not the end of the world. Obviously they can't if they are resorting to using the straps. The idea is to try to work the hands as close to the bar on the straps as possible, I've obviously exaggerated the idea here, I've yet to come across anyone that needs to have their hands this far out on the straps, but the idea is there, that being to promote mobility in the wrist and shoulders.
This is the ideal technique for a front squat, it forces you to keep your chest up and not end up facing the ground and helps with mobility. The reason for this is 2 fold, 1 this will eventually turn into the racked position at the end of a clean (you should end up doing a front squat with a clean), 2 is if you can't get at least 2 fingers under that bar, you probably need all the mobility work you can get. As I mentioned I use to have some pretty piss-poor mobility so this frequented my training programs. Even if you can just get one finger each on under the bar and keep your elbows high, work with that at a lighter weight.
Hope this helped someone out there, and it's a good day for all. Thanks to THUD my photographer for working with me on the fly. Those in the north stay warm and everbody go out and get after it!