Karen front squat

Who knew barbell front squats can be so fun?

One cool thing about picking up a new hobby is that you have so little prior exposure to it, so everything you do become new learnings and you can see almost immediate progress. So it is also for my experience in picking up barbell front squats.

The hardest part about front squats is holding the barbell in rack position because I’m not used to having my core stabilising the weight and my shoulders supporting the bar. It’s led to some new battle scars – red marks on my front delts (or maybe the lack thereof: The deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder, according to Wikipedia)

Bruised Front Delts from Front Squats

It seems a bit faint under this lighting. I swear I’m not exaggerating, there were red marks.

I find that I can stabilise the barbell better when I consciously think of keeping both abdominal and buttocks tight. It also seems to improve over time when I do a few more planks here and there. It comes down to familiarity for me. The more barbell exercises I do, the more familiar I get with the sensation of activating or tightening certain muscles which usually revolves around the upper back, abs and butt.

Karen front squat 130 lbs for 3 reps

The bruising of my front delts is another issue. It’s become a constant physical, if not mental, roadblock, because all I can think about is how much it bothers me when i have the barbell in rack position.
I think this video taken last weekend demonstrates that perfectly.

This is me doing 130 lbs front squats for 3 reps. (close to my body weight now that I probably weight more…) At first I counted up to 115, but forgot about the 2 x 5lbs and the 2 x 2.5lbs metal plates at the end. Part of me is also annoyed by how the barbell was hurting my shoulder. 

Midway through, I was definitely bothered by where the barbell is sitting and attempt adjusting it… So this is an example of what NOT to do when front squatting with a barbell :)

For all those that have liked, commented, messaged me on the deadlift post last week, I’m SO overwhelmed and grateful for your support and hope to not just share my journey with you, but also open up the floor for discussion! :)

Got some good tips or advice for front squatting? Please don’t hesitate to comment, I do check them quite often! :)

P.S. Sorry I couldn’t use another Lego picture. I’m afraid it’s beyond the Lego figurine’s range of motion, so couldn’t find a good one on the internet.

  • D

    Squats and deadlifts are amazing exercises for the body!

    Your wrists turned like that in the main photo scares me. Is that the proper way to hold the bar? I’m new to barbell lifting so maybe I’m just misguided.

  • Karen Chow

    Hi D! That’s a front rack position. I have to admit, at the beginning, turning my wrist like that didn’t feel too natural, but it’s also something you can gradually build towards and get more familiar with. This article: http://www.liftbigeatbig.com/2011/11/improving-front-rack-position.html explores further on why it’s a foundational technique and why some of us may feel that it’s hard to do due to upper body stiffness, partially because we’re hunched over our desks all day. Let me know how you’re progressing! :) Happy Friday!