Front Squats




Having Trouble Breathing and Bracing Your Core During Overhead Press?

If you have trouble getting a good core brace during the overhead (military) press, you're not alone. And also, you may find it difficult to breathe in general during higher rep pressing. The same general problem will probably also occur during the front squat. I have written a step by step training plan to help you learn how to breathe during front squats and the same principles apply for the overhead press. Having the elbows up and a bar in the clean position makes it difficult to get a deep breath. If you can learn to use diaphragmatic breathing1 and follow the other guidelines in the article, you should be well on your way to solving this problem.

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Difficulty Breathing During Front Squats: A Simple Training Drill to Solve the Problem

You may have noticed that it can be difficult to get a good deep breath in between reps of the front squat. Not everybody has this problem to the same extent, but most everybody would have noticed that the front squat makes breathing a bit restricted. The position of the elbows, combined with the heavy load on the shoulders, restricts the chest. It is easy to simulate this effect right now as you read this: simply raise your arms up over your head and try to take a deep breath into your upper chest. You should notice that the chest wall is restricted and it is close to impossible to take a full breath this way.

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Front Squat Myths and Misconceptions

The front squat exercise is beginning to get more and more love. It's really about time. True, the back squat is still called the King by many but the front squat is coming into its own. It's a daunting thing to master. Uncomfortable at first and just so downright weird for those used to the back squat. Heck, throw the overhead squat into the mix and it's like a whole new world.

The front squat is just as good as the back squat as a mass builder. In fact, though I cannot prove it, I tend to think it is better. Well, lest you shout sacrilege let me remind you that mass is not my "specialty."

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The Four Squat Workout

A little over a year ago, Eric introduced me to the concept of The Four Squat Workout. Sounds intriguing, right? He borrowed the idea from Jim Schmitz, former US Olympic Weightlifing coach.

It involved doing the Overhead Squat, Front Squats, Back Squat and a Half Squat all in one workout! Later, Joe Weir adopted the Anderson Half Squat in place of the regular half squat. A regular half squat with the bar in back can be used but the Anderson Half Squat is our favorite here at GUS.

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How to Perform the Front Squat Exercise (Barbell)

The barbell front squat is a squat carried out with the barbell positioned in the clean position, the bar resting on the lifters front deltoids. Front squats allow a more upright torso position than barbell back squats and are an excellent alternative or adjunct exercise. This article is meant to be basic technique instruction for the lift, followed by a discussion of the clean grip, which is the preferred grip for the front squat. Then follows many very useful tips and other information.

Although the clean grip is recommended this article assumes that the trainee is using the front squat as a stand-alone exercise and not as part of the development of the Clean or the Clean and Jerk. As such there will be no need to actually clean the bar to the shoulders.

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