Why Every Athlete Should Front Squat

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Why Every Athlete Should Front Squat

Strength enthusiasts, fitness enthusiasts, and athletes all want to accomplish improving their leg strength and their overall strength in all regards. For instance, people want their strength improved overall to have better posture which can lead to superior dynamic trunk control. We also want to train things that will transfer very well. Ideally, all of us are mobile through the lower back, have strong lower backs, and all of us have mobile ankles. This is where the movement of the front squat comes into play. 

Front Loaded

Because the front squat is front-loaded, it means it decreases the overall intensity by quite a bit, especially if the athlete has a monster back squat. The front squat makes it easier to recover.

Cardio Endurance

Being front-loaded also requires, at least ideally, a front rack with a clean grip. We want to see the bar resting just on the throat just behind the deltoids. The knees will travel forward as the butt travels back as if both are getting pulled by a rope at the same time. At the bottom of the squat, the ankles will be dorsiflexed, which will help the way the knees track. In addition, having an upright posture will lead to better functionality in the trunk and back. This will improve mobility with the upright posture and prevent any serious back problems from happening. Training proper mechanics in the front squat also helps with not getting folded when catching cleans.

Zombie Squat

This is one of the greatest variations of the front squat. The arms are held out like old school Frankenstein without having to front rack the bar like a clean. With the zombie squat, the whole goal is to have a 90-degree angle from the elbow to the torso from the arms. The zombie squat forces us to hold a stable posture because if we have any forward lean the bar will roll off the shoulders. The elbows have to stay up with greater stability throughout the squatting movement. 

Quads

Another aspect of the front squat is that it will train the quads a little more than the back squat. Think about where that plays with running speed. Needing to have a very explosive start or high rates of acceleration, that is where the front squat comes into play because it transfers well to quad strength. Quad strength is what we are using when starting or working through the drive phase when running.

What We Can Do

I front squatted every day for 2 straight years to get my front squat up and over 210 kilos. I’m also a longer-limbed athlete so my squat has always been crappy when doing full range of motion. But because the front squat doesn’t beat the body up as much as the back squat, I was able to do it every day. It was hard, but it paid off. It improved my deadlift and my ability to jump as well.


If front squatting every day for 2 years isn’t your thing, I recommend front squatting at least once a week for 4 to 6 sets for 2 to 4 reps to increase strength. I also recommend front squatting once a week just for posture and mobility. I will just use 70 kilos to feel stimulation in my knees and back for 4 or 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps just to feel good positions.

I have also seen tremendous carry-over from zombie squats being superset with ab-rollers and seeing it carry over well to the sports performance world for athletes who struggle with dynamic trunk control. We like to do 4 sets of 10 zombie squats and then 4 sets of 17 reps of ab wheels and kids get destroyed in their trunk. The athletes then have a better mind-muscle connection when doing their high-speed chaotic movements. 

Recap

The front squat brings the benefits of mobility, trunk stability, and a more upright posture. We also gain strength in the quads that transfers not only to weightlifting, and deadlifting but also to sports performance. Front squat for 2 straight years every day if you have the fortitude. If not, front squat at least once a week for 4 to 6 sets for up to five reps. And then once a week, do some hypertrophy work.


Whatever your decision, start to front squat. 

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Yo, It's Dane

Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

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