The 3 Front Squat Grips You Can Use

The entrance squat is a improbable train to construct power and mass in your decrease physique, significantly your quads, in addition to core power…BUT, it isn’t a simple train to grasp. The predominant cause individuals have hassle with the entrance squat is that with the bar in entrance of you, it’s awkward to grip and hold in place as you squat, particularly when coping with heavier masses. Other points with the entrance squat is maintaining your torso upright, however actually this comes right down to core power. 

In this text, we need to concentrate on the other ways that you may grip the bar when doing entrance squats. Which grip you select actually comes right down to your limitations (i.e. wrist and shoulder mobility) in addition to the place you might be in your health journey (i.e. newbie, intermediate, or superior). However, there may be one grip that we must always all attempt to attain with good kind, and we’ll clarify the right way to get there. At the top, we will even present some good options to the entrance squat.

Before we get into the various kinds of grips, let’s have a fast Front Squat 101 lesson so you recognize what a entrance squat is precisely, the muscle groups labored and advantages.

What are Front Squats?

Front squats are usually carried out with a barbell within the entrance rack place, that means that the barbell is resting on the entrance aspect of the shoulders and alongside the collar bone space, whereas the elbows are elevated and fingers beneath the barbell pushing into your shoulders to take care of the bars place. 

The entrance squat is a stellar train to strengthen the decrease physique and core. However, most discover it to be a clumsy motion at first. This is due to the bars place on the entrance aspect of the physique and the higher demand on the core to take care of an upright place. With that, most individuals will use a considerably lighter weight load when beginning out evaluating to their barbell again squat. 

Another large difficulty with the entrance squat is poor wrist and shoulder mobility. Lots of people have hassle maintaining their elbows as much as parallel with the ground, which is necessary for sustaining the barbells place. Wrist ache is widespread too resulting from a scarcity of wrist mobility, because the wrist might be bent backwards within the entrance racked place.

For reference, the entrance racked place that we simply went over can be referred to as a clear place. This is the place used throughout the clear train in Olympic lifting, which is likely one of the two Olympic lifts. 

All in all, the entrance rack (aka clear) place takes time to study and be comfy with, which is why there are completely different grip options with a view to entrance squat.

The three predominant grips are:

Rack Position (aka Clean)
Cross-Grip (arms crossed)
Strap or Towel Hold (utilizing straps or towel to help your grip)

No matter which grip you employ to begin, the last word objective is to have the ability to do the rack place grip, because the others are merely workarounds. 

front squat hand position

Muscles Worked in a Front Squat

A squat, whatever the variation, is a compound motion, which implies it really works a number of completely different muscle teams and acts on a number of joints at one time. A significant participant in a entrance squat with reference to muscle groups labored are the quads, however what different muscle groups are additionally contributing? Let’s have a look…

Primary muscle groups: In a squat, the glutes, quads, and hamstrings are all onerous at work as they energy hip and knee flexion and extension. These muscle groups are the powerhouse behind a powerful and useful squatting sample.

Secondary muscle groups: Although possibly not mentioned as typically, these secondary squatting muscle groups are simply as necessary as the first ones! Muscle teams like your gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis anterior all have an effect in your ankle mobility and vary of movement, whereas the rectus abdominis and erector spinae assist to take care of the correct posture throughout a entrance squat (which ought to have your torso in an upright place). The entrance squat additionally recruits the lats, trapezius, deltoids, pecs, and serratus anterior to assist stabilize your higher physique all through the motion.

cross arm front squat

Benefits of Front Squats

Front squats are an exquisite train to include right into a lifting routine. Not solely do they construct muscle, power, endurance and energy all through the decrease physique, however in addition they support in strengthening the core and subsequent stabilizers.

Here are among the predominant advantages of entrance squats:

Core Strength: Front squats enhance total coordination, stability, and stability. The core has to work extra time in a entrance squat – not solely to assist hold your torso upright throughout the period of the motion, however to have the ability to maintain the barbell in your entrance rack with out it falling off or rolling ahead.
Easy to Bail: If the entrance squat is a brand new train for you, one other neglected profit is that you may escape from beneath of the bar reasonably rapidly. With different actions it may be more difficult in the event you get “stuck”, the place as with the entrance squat you possibly can simply drop the bar on the ground in entrance of you if you’re unable to finish a repetition.
Easier on the Low Back: As in comparison with a again squat, some think about a entrance squat to be extra pleasant by way of presumably straining the decrease again. Your torso is definitely extra upright in a entrance squat than in a again squat, so it may possibly take among the focus off of the decrease again – despite the fact that your core continues to be firing immensely with a view to preserve correct kind and method. So, whereas the entrance squat could also be more durable to study, total it’s usually thought of the safer possibility when in comparison with the again squat. 
Quad-Centric: The entrance squat is a good way to focus on your quads. With again squats, you get a extra well-rounded activation of the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, whereas entrance squats place higher emphasis on the quads because of the bars positioning and your torso being extra upright, permitting for a higher vary of movement on the knees, which the quads act on.
Olympic Lifting & Crossfit: If you might be moving into Olympic lifting and Crossfit, the entrance squat is a necessary motion to study. It is so typically utilized in Crossfit and it’s the predominant a part of one of many two Olympic lifts utilized in competitors. 

types of front squat grips

3 Types of Front Squat Grips

You may not assume that the grip you employ in a entrance squat is relative – nevertheless, it’s crucial to seek out one which works for you, your mobility, and your programming with a view to transfer accurately in a entrance squat!

Aside from being within the correct place mechanically for the entrance squat, there are other ways that you may get your grip across the barbell with a view to carry out a entrance squat accurately.

The entrance rack place, which is the correct method to entrance squat and is critical for a number of completely different workouts (akin to any clear variation), will be tough to get into and preserve when squatting, to not point out, is uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are strategies to study and grasp the entrance rack place. 

But, for instance you need to do a entrance squat whereas studying the entrance rack grip. That’s the place the opposite grip choices for the entrance squat come into play.

Essentially, you need to first nail down the motion sample and proper type of the entrance squat, which implies you should utilize a grip that works for you, after which when you do this (or within the meantime), you can begin engaged on reaching the entrance rack grip (assuming you might be utilizing one other grip to begin). 

As talked about earlier within the article, the three grips for a entrance squat are:

Front Rack Position
Strap or Towel Hold

We will no cowl every of the grips…

1. Front Rack (aka Clean Grip)


With the entrance rack grip, the barbell is resting above your collarbone and on the entrance aspect of your shoulders, whereas the shoulders are flexed and the elbows excessive (so your triceps are parallel with the ground). All of that is performed whereas the higher physique is tall, and the decrease physique descends right into a squat – for sure, it may be a tough motion!

Also know because the clear grip, that is the normal method to maintain onto the barbell on your entrance squats. While this grip will really feel probably the most safe, which implies you should utilize heavier masses (finally), it does have its disadvantages – particularly with regards to mobility throughout the wrist. It’s onerous to bend your wrist again whereas maintaining your fingers on the barbell!

Set Up: 

To get into the entrance rack place on your entrance squats, you possibly can both take away the barbell from a squat rack or clear it from the ground. If you might be newer to the entrance rack place, take it from a rack reasonably than cleansing it.
Once you’ve a maintain of the bar, you need it to take a seat throughout the shoulders with palms shoulder-width aside. Palms might be dealing with upward towards the ceiling, and fingers might be beneath the barbell (in opposition to your shoulders).
You may really feel as if the barbell is urgent in opposition to your neck, but it surely doesn’t have to roll that far again in your shoulders – simply sufficient in order that your elbows can keep raised to shoulder peak. Your triceps must be parallel with the ground in your entrance rack place, which aids in maintaining the barbell within the rack place because it creates a shelf on the shoulders. You may even elevate your shoulders a bit of bit to get the bar off your collarbone and keep away from urgent too onerous into your neck, which can make it extra comfy. 
There is not any want for a whole grip on the barbell with a entrance squat, that means your palms wrapped across the barbell such as you would a bent over row. Instead, your fingers act to stabilize the barbell whereas your elbows (together with an upright torso) support in maintaining the barbell in your shoulders. Essentially, with out your elbows raised, the entrance rack place will not work. Your higher again would spherical ahead as your squat down and the bar will possible roll ahead off your shoulders. 

The entrance rack place will be tough to get into, particularly in the event you’re uncomfortable with loosening your grip on the barbell as soon as weight is added or in case your elbows don’t presently go very excessive resulting from a scarcity of mobility. Regardless, you need to be assured in holding the load in that entrance rack with out dropping your core engagement or the excessive elbow place! A good, full grip on the barbell can truly trigger the elbows to drop down as you squat, so a considerably open grip on the bar throughout your entrance squats and nailing the cues for the motion are important (driving the elbows up, maintaining gaze ahead, have interaction the lats, and so forth.).


Never go right into a entrance rack place chilly. Always heat up your wrist, elbows and shoulders.
Work on shoulder and wrist mobility! This is important for mastering the entrance rack place. 
Practice your entrance rack place with an empty barbell, or perhaps a PVC pipe, to begin. Work on doing entrance squats with a correct entrance rack place all through the complete set earlier than including any important weight (this is applicable to those that are already sturdy too! It’s a mobility factor, not power).

Front Rack Grip Practice: Don’t be shocked when you’ve got hassle with the entrance rack place, it is extraordinarily widespread. Funnily sufficient, the very best mobility drill for the entrance rack is the entrance rack place itself! Start with the empty bar after which add some mild weight plates to it and simply concentrate on standing with the bar within the entrance rack place and maintaining your full fingers on the bar together with your elbows up. You may even work on the grip and elbow peak whereas the barbell continues to be racked within the squat rack, then finally with the barbell unracked. Overall, this will provide you with a sustainable positional tolerance and mobility. That mentioned, there are additionally some entrance rack mobility drills that you are able to do. Another factor try to be doing is engaged on higher again power! That might be your weak hyperlink by way of maintaining your torso upright when squatting. This turns into much less of a difficulty nevertheless in the event you hold your elbows up excessive when in your entrance rack place. 

2. Crossed Arm Grip


The cross-grip entrance squat (aka crossed arm grip or bodybuilder grip) positions the barbell in the identical actual spot alongside your shoulders. However, your arms will cross on the entrance of your physique as you place your palms on the bar at the alternative shoulder. 

The cross-grip will simply can help you hold your elbows up, which ensures your torso can stay upright. There must be no mobility points right here. Nearly all inexperienced persons can do that grip, pending no current shoulder joint points.

The draw back to the cross-grip is the bar will really feel much less steady, and thus, your potential for heavier masses goes away. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless a viable possibility when beginning out.

Set up:

The setup is sort of equivalent to the normal grip – With the barbell racked within the squat rack, place the bar alongside the entrance of your shoulders and cross your arms with palms dealing with down towards the bottom; your palms ought to go close to the alternative shoulders, urgent down on the barbell to carry it in place.
From right here, unrack the barbell and take a step or two again and reassess your grip and barbell place. Make positive it feels as steady as potential. 
Mobility is vital with the crossed arm grip as effectively – you’ll want to carry your elbows and arms up excessive with a view to hold the barbell within the entrance rack place and your torso upright.


The greatest difficulty with the crossed arm grip is the higher again tending to spherical – so on this case, actually take into consideration retracting the shoulder blades and sustaining excessive elbows whereas maintaining your core engaged and gaze ahead is essential.
Practice your entrance squats with an empty barbell earlier than including weight.

3. Strap Grip (or Towel Grip)


Using a strap or towel to carry the barbell is an efficient possibility for many who desire a very steady grip for entrance squats however have restricted wrist mobility. This is a standard possibility for individuals who care much less about studying the entrance rack place and extra about getting the advantages of the entrance squat itself with heavier masses.

Basically your arm place would be the similar as a rack place, however your palms might be holding onto the straps reasonably than the bar, which eliminates each shoulder and wrist mobility points. You merely want much less vary of movement to maintain your elbows up this manner.

Set Up:

The arrange is comparable with the entrance rack place arrange, besides you need to wrap your straps or towel across the barbell earlier than starting. You wont ever be cleansing the barbell from the ground with this grip various, which must be fairly apparent. So, it begins with the barbell racked in a squat rack.
If utilizing straps, the flat finish of the strap ought to thread by way of the loop. Regardless of utilizing a towel or straps, make sure that it’s tightly secured to the barbell earlier than starting, palms positioned about shoulder-width aside.
Once connected, grip the straps by bringing your palms underneath the barbell and again up – elbows ought to nonetheless be reaching towards the ceiling.
From right here, you’d proceed to place your self as obligatory with a view to full your entrance squats.


Do not wrap the towel or strap round your fingers or palms – if that you must drop the barbell or are within the midst of a rep failure, you want to have the ability to drop the barbell safely.

Focus on maintaining your elbows at shoulder peak and never rounding your higher again.

Front Squat Straps on Amazon (affiliate hyperlink*)

Front Squat Equipment Variations

If you continue to need to make the most of entrance squats in your lifting program (however possibly don’t have a barbell useful), there are different items of health gear you should utilize as a substitute! Granted, the motion itself will look a bit completely different with the removing of a barbell, however you possibly can nonetheless strengthen the quads and glutes and enhance core stability tenfold with different implements.

Dumbbells: Front squats with the dumbbells will be performed in two methods, goblet squat (one dumbbell held at your entrance and middle close to your chest) or two dumbbells (held up on the entrance of your shoulders in a kind of entrance rack place). The latter is the toughest variation of the dumbbell squat, however each are nice dumbbell workouts for the quads.

front squat alternatives

Kettlebells: Another superior gear variation, kettlebells can be utilized in the identical manner as dumbbells – goblet or entrance rack. However, because of the design of the kettlebell, it ought to truly be a bit of extra comfy to take care of a entrance rack place. 

front squat variations

Sandbags: If you might be wanting some added resistance to your entrance squats however don’t have entry to conventional fitness center gear, a sandbag works simply as effectively! Most sandbags have handles, and these can be utilized to scrub your sandbag up into your entrance rack. Elbows would nonetheless keep excessive, and the entrance squat can be carried out as said above. Then if you end up completed, drop the bag again to the ground.

Good Front Squat Alternatives

If you might be engaged on wrist and shoulder mobility (or possibly simply need one other various to entrance squats all collectively), there are many workouts to select from! These actions will nonetheless goal leg power in addition to core stability, and will be labored into programming in a number of other ways.

The following workouts had been chosen as entrance squat options primarily based on the next components: 

Involve a squatting motion sample
Leg train that is additionally good for core power

What this implies is, they will change the entrance squat in your programming (we starred** the very best choices in our opinion).

Narrow Stance Leg Press*
Hack Squats (barbell or hack squat machine*
Zercher Squat***
Dumbbell Goblet Squat
Front Rack Kettlebell Squat**
Safety Squat Bar Squat**
Belt Squat*
High Bar Back Squat*
Smith Machine Chair Squat
Sissy Squats*
Landmine Squats*
Heel Elevated Squats

Related: Best Squat Variations



The entrance squat is a superb compound motion for nearly any lifting program – and nailing the correct grip is vital. Practice makes excellent with reference to what grip you need to use on the barbell…and mobility and suppleness work, significantly within the wrists and higher physique, may must be added to your routine with a view to show you how to actually nail the entrance rack grip that’s wanted so as so that you can obtain your targets. Regardless of whether or not you employ a entrance rack grip, cross arm grip, or straps, keep in mind that the mechanics of the entrance squat itself keep the identical!

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