Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength

HELPING YOU GET STRONGER SINCE 2004

Holding the Bar in the Front Squat
Posted By Scott Bird
Front Squat

 

Front Squat.

If the latest Mike Boyle article on T-Nation has you considering the Front Squat, you may be mindful of just how awkward it can be to hold the bar. Like Zercher Squats, they’re often overlooked simply due to the difficulty.


There are several ways to hold the bar for the Front Squat. If one method doesn’t feel right, or your current flexibility or injury precludes it, try one of the others. It really is a great exercise.




Clean position

Front Squat

 

Front Squat.

This is generally considered the optimum position – if you have the option, do it this way.
Think of it simply as the top of a Hang Clean (a reverse barbell curl if you like). It will get a lot easier with practice.


Arms crossed

Dave Draper

 

Dave Draper.

Another common method is to cross the arms over the bar, holding the left side with the right hand and vice versa. If the abovementioned Clean method is out of the question for you, try this.
Note that the hands are only helping to stop the bar rolling about, rather than trying to support it.


Hands Clasped

Holger Kutroff

 

Holger Kutroff.

Whilst frowned upon by many purists, this technique is still used occasionally. Clasp your hands together and use them to push the bar onto your chest/front delts.


Log bar

Log Bar

 

Log Bar.

A much less common version (but intriguing nonetheless) is the Log Bar Front Squat. As you can see, a log bar prompts a vertical grip, which takes a similar amount of flexibility as the Clean grip.


Straps

Front Squat using straps

 

Front Squat using straps.

I noticed this yesterday in Mike Boyle’s article Strong Athlete, Zero Injuries. It’s an excellent idea, and well worth considering if you lack the flexibility required for the Clean.
JV Askem had a similar idea many years ago with two pairs of pliers.


Stingray

Stingray

 

Stingray.

The Stringray device is designed to counter the basic deficiencies of the crossed arms approach. The two pads help keep the bar aligned and stable, allowing the widest possible grip to be used. The Stingray also lifts the bar slightly, keeping the weight over the front delts whilst keeping it away from your throat.
If the Clean position is out due to lack of flexibility, the Stingray is well worth considering.


Front Squat Harness

Front Squat Harness

 

Front Squat Harness.

The Front Squat Harness performs a similar role to the Stingray (making the Front Squat a little more comfortable); although in a very different way. Here the bar is held – again with reasonable stability – slightly further forward, and is held using a narrow hammer grip.
If it looks like a serious, large, strong device; it is. The original version was tested to over 600 lb, the current model exceeds that by a good margin.


Double kettlebells

Lauren Brooks

 

Lauren Brooks.

Got two kettlebells? Try this. Remember to Clean them one at a time.


Goblet

Goblet Squat

 

Goblet Squat.

The Goblet Squat is often considered a separate exercise, however I’ve included it here for completeness. It can be performed either using a dumbbell as shown, or by grabbing a kettlebell ‘by the horns‘.


Hands free

Hands Free

 

Hands Free.

If none of the different holds shown above appeal, there’s always the ‘hands free‘ method (thanks Kris for the video). Unconventional to say the least.

Incidentally, if this has got you thinking about grabbing one for yourself, swing by the SttB Strength Store. Massive range.

What's This?

Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

images of strength

Strong.

Want to see (and learn) more Feats of Strength like this? Dive in.

Ever Tried Kettlebells?

If you’ve seen people using them but never taken the plunge yourself, here are the ones I use personally. You can also pick up a book/DVD/course if you want to learn how to put them to work.

Just Joined Us? Try These.

There are some incredible writers on the team here. To give you an idea, check these out :

If you enjoyed these, check out the complete ‘Best Of Straight to the Bar‘ list. Fantastic.

Logan's 'Quarantine Sale' Courses

As much as I love training with free weights (and the occasional machine, for specific things) I'm partial to the occasional dose of bodyweight goodness. Particularly when travelling.

If you're keen to dive into this training approach even deeper, you may wish to check out Logan's 'Quarantine Sale' Courses.

Various courses looking at the world of bodyweight training from many angles, perfect for when you're housebound for a little while.

Wherever You Are, We Are.

In addition to the main site, you can share your strength-training passion with a like-minded community on :

Wherever you like to hang out, get your regular dose of strength. Straight to the Bar.