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Old 01-10-2009, 01:03 AM   #1
William Reese
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Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

So I've seen the videos with people doing front squats with their hands up around the collar bone and the weight in their hands and the elbows pointing straight out.

Does anyone else have problems achieving this form? Is it something that can worked on and conditioned to do?

I try to use that form but I physically can't achieve this form. I have short 18inchish arms. Is it possible physiologically I can't achieve this form?

My wrists begin to hurt and I can't get my elbows to up that high and point straight out.

Another question... Is the hack squat method just as effective for the front squat or does it change the mechanics of what crossfit tries to achieve with front squats? I usually just rest the bar on the front part of my shoulders crossing my arms in front resting the weight on my front shoulders.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:29 AM   #2
Joe Proulx
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

I asked a very similar question yesterday (about three posts down). There are some suggestions in there for improving form. Good luck!
32/M/6'1"/185lbs - CrossFitting on and off since January 2009
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:23 AM   #3
Lou Cabales
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)


sure you can do the the many versions of the front squat. but ultimately you'll want to get it right. you'll need skill in other cf exercises.

i've been cross arm front squatting to do the exercise, and greasing the groove with the suggested stretches. i keep waiting for someone to come up with the magic stretch that will fix this frustrating issue.

here a few not as common suggestion to work up to clean catch, front squat position.

have work out partner push up on elbows in front squat position.

have partner push up on elbows at different depths of front squat position.

high bar squats

3 finger hold

tape wrists for extra support
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:10 AM   #4
Jason Sutfin
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

I have very poor wrist (and probably elbow) flexibility, too.

This morning, I did a couple sets of front squats and had to grip the bar very wide to get the bar to rest just a little on my shoulders. There was a lot of stress on my wrists. That really limited the weight I could do.

Then I tried resting the bar on my shoulders and crossing my arms to hold the allowed me to do a lot more weight very comfortably. I could feel the work in my legs on those sets, as opposed to my arms, in the other sets.

I think that's the way I'll continue to do heavier weight on front squats (crossed arms) and keep working with lighter weights and other stretching exercises to get my wrists more flexible.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:34 AM   #5
Kevin Daigle
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

I've had issues with the catch position as well, and up until now have been crossing my arms to do front squats.

However, I recently started doing some of the stretches, and it's drastically improved my wrist/shoulder flexibility in that position. I'm going to try to do the front squat WOD tomorrow, using the catch position and see how much better it feels. I do the stretches about 3 times a week.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:43 PM   #6
Thomas Bailly
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

I tend to work lower weight front squats with elbows out, higher weights with cross arm,if not my wrists suffer...but slowly gaining flexibilty.
I was noticing this after doing some thrusters the other day since the weight ends up more"in hands" than "on deltoids/upper chest" in order to push the weight over head.
Such is Xfit...weakness always shows through...
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:50 PM   #7
Paul Sousa
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

First time I tried to do the front squats in the catch position it hurt quite a bit, but I sucked it up and dealt with it and tried some of the recommended stretches and six months later I have no issue with it. I think tightness in my shoulders was keeping me from getting my elbows high enough. I do a small set of dislocates almost every warmup and that was a huge help. I think the other thing is really letting the bar off of your fingers. I think the natural inclination is to try and keep the bar in your hand, but even if you keep it between the two knuckles on your finger it will cause a ton of unneeded stress. Let the bar get all the way to your fingertips.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

Notice Sage in the videos allows it to rest on her fingertips.

I heard trying to extend the arms before pulling the elbows up and hands under helps.

We used to train by stretching with a bar on a squat rack and holding and forcing that position.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:13 PM   #9
Kirez Reynolds
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

I'm going to make a modest argument for not using the technical rack position.

Like most people, I couldn't rack a barbell when I started. I simply used static stretches to fix it: I'd load about 135 lbs on the barbell on a squat rack, and get in the rack position under it, and force my elbows forward and up as far as I could. Hold for 30-60 seconds, shake it off, wait a minute, repeat. I did that twice each day for about 4 days, and achieved a rack position.

If I don't practice it for quite a while, I have to retrain it, but it comes back quicker.

* * *
A while back, a workout called "death by bodyweight front squats" went around, put out by (I think) the Manchester affiliate that makes the 'Painstorm' workouts, then to the affiliate blog, and it circulated among a bunch of us who read each other's WOLOGs.

I did well on this workout, and lost my 11th round because I couldn't keep the bar in the rack position. If I'd been able to hold it I think I'd have gone a couple more rounds -- or if I'd been able to grab it off the floor and power clean it back into position and continue.

* * *
Yesterday (Front Squats 5 x 5) I remembered how I'd failed on that previous FS workout, and instead of rack position (intense pain), I kept a full grip on the bar but shoved it all the way back and drove my elbows up as high as possible. In my front squat work sets, I would have dropped the bar a few times if I hadn't had this grip. I was able to jam upward with my full grip and hold the bar in position, when otherwise I would have dumped it forward.

I do not know enough about front squats, and there could be important details I'm not seeing (for example: my dropping the bar could indicate a failure of core position or squat form that should not be allowed). But for my experience, it seems to me that deviating from the rack position (technically needed for Oly lifting, is it absolutely necessary when using front squats for the purposes of general fitness and strength & conditioning?) and using the full grip enabled me to complete very difficult sets, with a much higher work performance than I would have achieved otherwise.

I'll attach a photo --- better yet, a link to several photos and videos of my front squat work sets.

Here's the series w/ 4 videos, WFSAFE:

Don't mind the amount of weight I'm lifting, that's just a function of the CrossFit Affliction t-shirt I'm wearing. I can't be in Fort Lauderdale, so I wear my crossfit affliction t-shirt and take my frustration out on the barbell.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:12 PM   #10
Donald Lee
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Re: Front Squats Form ( hands and wrists)

If you don't care to do cleans, there's no need for the front squat rack position.

I have found that chalk helps me with not losing the bar forward.
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