Front Squats


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

Here is a Simple Training Drill to Solve Breathing Problems During the Front Squat

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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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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