As far as quad exercises go, the front squat is probably one of the most overlooked movements, just about anybody
who has trained for even a little while has heard about this exercise, but just about nobody does it. 1 suspect the
reason is a general lack of knowledge regarding the setup and how to control the bar. Let's bring an end to that
right now hope you won't mind the added beef!
The biggest hurdle is maintaining the bar position across your shoulders. By far the best way to overcome this is to incorporate the Olympic lifter's "rack" technique: Once you place the bar in the squat rack, grasp the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip and your palms facing away. Then position yourself under the bar so that it rests on your front delts and upper pecs.
That's the easy part, but to actually squat with some weight, you'll have to drive your elbows up toward the ceiling so your upper arms parallel the floor. You'll feel a stretch in your wrists because they have to bend hack quite a hit, and to get your elbows high, you'll end up holding the bar by only your fingers. Believe it or not, that's all you need. When you go through the actual squatting motion, the bar will stay in place as long as you keep your elbows high and your back straight.
This technique has a drawback, however. Your wrists may need quite a while to get used to this position, and the only way to do so is to stretch them out by practicing bar position. just make sure you don't overdo it; once or twice a week is enough. You can also try two variations of this technique.
The first variation is to position yourself under the bar so that it rests across your front delts. Then cross your arms over the bar, lightly grasping it with your hands.
Another alternative is to place wrist straps around the bar at slightly wider than shoulder width. Position yourself under the bar and hold onto the ends of the straps to keep the bar in place. Keeping the bar in position once you fatigue is very difficult for both alternatives. If the bar starts slipping, you'd better cut the set short and rack the bar.
Once you decide which rack technique to use, your points of performance include:
» Position the bar high across your shoulders and upper chest.
» Take a few steps out of the rack and stand with your feet wider than shoulder width and turned slightly out.
» Unlock your hips before you bend your knees by pushing your glutes backward just like you would to sit down.
» While keeping your back as upright as possible and your elbows high, bend your knees into a full squat position.
» Your shins should be upright throughout the movement; your knees should remain over the bridge of your feet.
» Once you reach the full squat position, explosively begin the ascent while focusing on driving your elbows high and keeping your hack straight.
» Start the descent by taking a deep breath; hold it until you pass the sticking point on the ascent.