Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings, Hip Flexors, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Front Squat Overview

The front squat is a variation of the squat and an exercise used to build the muscles of the legs. In particular, the front squat will place a lot of emphasis on the quads.

The squat movement pattern is a foundational movement and should be performed by most capable individuals throughout their lives. So, it is important to find a variation that is comfortable for you to perform, and continuously work on it.

You can include the front squat in your leg workouts or full body workouts.

Front Squat Instructions

  1. Position the safety stops at roughly waist height and then place the bar just underneath shoulder height.
  2. Position the hands just outside of shoulder width, step underneath the bar, and allow it to sit on the shoulders while driving the elbows high in front of the body.
  3. Take a breath and unrack the bar by pushing your hips forward and extending your knees.
  4. Take 2-3 steps back and position your feet just inside of shoulder width.
  5. Sit directly between your legs by simultaneously bending your knees and pushing your hips back.
  6. Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, begin to reverse the movement.
  7. Keep your abs braced and drive your feet through the floor.
  8. Finish the lift by exhaling as you fully extend the hips and knees.

Front Squat Tips

  1. Toe angle is highly individual - experiment to see what feels best for you.
  2. You can use either 2 or 3 fingers when front squatting in the front rack position as it will take some stress off the wrist.
  3. In order to keep the torso upright, focus on driving the elbows up out of the hole.
  4. If you can’t get into a front rack position to front squat, then use the cross arm grip.
  5. Drive through the whole foot - you want 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
  6. Some forward translation of the knees over the toes is alright provided that the knees don’t deviate excessively inward or outward. Those with longer femurs will have to allow their knees to come farther forward if they want to remain upright.
  7. Neck position is highly individual as well - some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking straight ahead. Experiment with each and see which one works best for your anatomy.
  8. Don’t push the knees out excessively but ensure they track roughly over or slightly outside the 2nd toe.
Posted on: Sat, 01/21/2023 - 17:42

Is it suppose to rest on shoulder and collar bone? Its pretty painfull as i dont have boulders on my shoulder haha.

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Posted on: Wed, 01/25/2023 - 08:45

It should be on the front delts. You may need to use a towel or bar pad to provide comfort until you get that beef on the shoulders. You could also do goblet squats to challenge yourself with weight as an alternative or addition to this.

Posted on: Fri, 04/06/2018 - 20:00


Posted on: Tue, 04/09/2013 - 09:27

If you can't front squat, or if it hurts, you will most lekely have rounded shoulders, anterior pelvic tilt, a hunch forward posture, winged scapulas and knee pain. Any or all of them.

This is perfect for fixing all those little muscle inbalances, developing all those muscles which are weak in 70% of the population, and directly correlates to back pain, knee pain, and bad posture.

The grip used in the video can feel uncomfortable. Try the the olympic style grip, safer and easier.
Most beginners however doesn't have the appropriate amount of wrist flexibility to use the Olympic grip, in that case go on "TestosteroneNation"s youtube channel and look up their Front Squat video.

You'll get used to the deltoid pain. If its really bad, put a towel under the bar on your deltoids.

Posted on: Mon, 02/25/2013 - 23:52

Since I only have dumbbells at home & no barbells what's the alternative exercise for the Front Squad.

Posted on: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 14:42

What's the difference between this and the regular squat. Having the bar on my chest and delts puts extra strain on my lower back. I'm probably doing it wrong, but I don't experience this when the bar is behind my neck. Any suggestions?

Posted on: Sun, 01/22/2017 - 01:35

A front squat will focus more as an isolated movement using your quads more. Where as a back squat will target your quads and hamstrings. If you're having lower back pain try lowering the weight and use a lifting belt. Also, I would have a friend watch you squat to ensure your not rounding out your back, if you can't get a friend I would record yourself. I hope this helps you out.

Posted on: Sat, 10/27/2012 - 19:29

huge mistake on the front squat!! Locking the knees at the top of the movement!!!
never lock your joints in any work out!!

Posted on: Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:27

Incredibly uncomfortable exercise. So much that it makes the rest of my form suffer. Maybe this is good for folks rock hard shoulders and chest to support the bar. My delts are a little on the soft side, so I always get nasty bruises between my bicep and delts when when maxing out. Should the bar rest higher?

Posted on: Tue, 01/03/2023 - 21:46

You can do this exercise holding a barbell bar. ( much ) lighter
That s how I started .....
It is hard to do. Because. You can,t cheat. Doing it that way!!!

Posted on: Wed, 09/05/2012 - 18:04

my abs are sore from this am i doing it wrong?

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Posted on: Thu, 09/06/2012 - 09:57

No. This exercise is hard on the core.

Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2012 - 08:10

I do this on the Power Burn Muscle 4 day split and I'm not getting to a point where the bar is getting heavy for my shoulders and can hurt. What do you suggest I do to counter this or is there another compound move I can use instead? Thanks

Posted on: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 10:27

DO slower reps go down further and maybe try adding more weight. If you use rubber weights you should do 7-8 rep weight to failure ( keep repping until you cant go anymore ).

Posted on: Sat, 03/16/2013 - 11:34

silly this is not for your shoulders muscle and strength, look at the picture.squat is for thigh muscles.