The Barbell Front Squat

Last updated: February 3, 2021

By Joe Holder

Learn how to vary your squats to work your quads and core.

With the weight racked on your shoulders, this squat variation gets deeper into the quads than the glutes and requires a super-strong core to keep the barbell—and your chest—from dumping forward. Learn how to do it with Nike Master Trainer Joe Holder’s tips.

  1. Stand in front of a barbell that’s racked at chest height.
  2. If you’re a beginner or have limited shoulder mobility, do a cross-grip rack (extend your arms forward underneath the bar so it rests on your shoulders then cross your arms over the bar, bringing palms to rest on the bar on opposite shoulders). If you have greater mobility, do a traditional grip (rest the bar on your shoulders then bend your arms, driving elbows forward and up as you lightly grab the bottom of the bar with your fingers just outside of your shoulders).
  3. Lift the bar off the rack and step back, planting your feet hip-width apart (step them wider if you have tight hips), to start.
  4. Drive your elbows forward and up, brace your core, keep your chest lifted, and press your feet firmly into the floor as you squat until your thighs are below parallel.
  5. Push through your feet to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  6. Repeat.
Good Form: The Perfect Barbell Front Squat

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