The first time I saw someone [front squat](https://bretcontreras.com/how-to-front-squat/), I thought they were trying to strangle themselves with a barbell, while breaking both wrists.
The front squat can be an excellent tool for building muscle and strength, if you’re doing it correctly. In this video, you’re going to learn how to front squat with great technique.
Before we look at *how* to front squat, let’s talk about *why* you should learn the movement.
### Why Front Squat?
**1. It Gives You a Mental Break from Back Squatting**
If you’re bored with back squats and want to try something different, front squats are an excellent alternative. You’ll get most of the same benefits of back squatting, but it’s different enough to keep you [interested in your workout](https://evidencemag.com/exercise-motivation).
**2. It Hits Slightly Different Muscle Groups**
The front squat tends to put more stress on your quads and upper back, and less on your [lower back](https://www.theptdc.com/2014/05/still-have-back-pain/) and hamstrings. If you want to increase your quad [size](https://evidencemag.com/how-to-build-muscle-podcast/) and strength, front squats might help.
You can also generally go deeper on front squats, which might help you become more mobile.
**3. It Might Be Easier, or Harder**
Depending on your biomechanics, front squats might be easier, or harder, than back squats. If back squats feel awkward, these might feel more natural. If back squats feel easy for you, front squats might be a new challenge.
**4. It’s Fun.**
I’ve never gotten tired of back squats, but front squats looked fun, and that’s why I decided to learn them. I bet you’ll like them too.
But, since I’m a newbie to front squatting, I decided to ask someone who knows what they’re doing to teach you all. I went to New York City to shoot some video with Liz Messina at [Mark Fisher Fitness](https://markfisherfitness.com/). Here’s how to front squat correctly:
### How to Front Squat with Proper Technique
1. Rack the bar at about the same height you use for back squats, or around the same height as the middle of your chest.
2. Walk toward the bar and place your hands just outside of shoulder width.
3. Step under the bar and rest it on top of your shoulders. It should lightly touch your neck without actually putting much weight on it. At first it might feel like it’s strangling you, but you’ll get used to it.
4. Use your hands to help stabilize the bar. They shouldn’t be supporting much weight — just keeping the bar on your shoulders.
5. Lift the bar off the rack, and take one step backward.
6. Place your feet just outside of shoulder width, with your toes pointing out to the sides. There’s no perfect foot position, so do what feels natural.
7. Sit down between your knees, and let your knees travel outward in the same direction as your toes. Think about showing the front of your chest to the wall in front of you.
8. Drop as low as you can while maintaining a mostly upright back, and then return to the top. Make sure you keep your elbows up, or the bar will start to roll off your shoulders.
9. It’s fine if you can’t go all the way to the bottom, or “ass to grass,” at first. With practice, you’ll probably get there. In the mean time, try to get below paralell.
Here’s a shorter side video of Liz performing the entire movement:
– If your wrists hurt, try widening your grip a few centimeters. As you become more flexible, bring your hands closer. You can also try a [cross-arm grip](https://bretcontreras.com/how-to-front-squat/), like this:
– If you still can’t drop your butt all the way to the bottom, that’s okay. Some people may not be able to based on their biomechanics. Drop as low as you can while maintaining a neutral spine (not too arched in either direction).
– If your knees tend to cave inward, think about [splitting the floor apart](https://syattfitness.com/athletic-performance/9-little-known-tips-improve-squat-part-1/) with your feet.
*How do these feel for you? Do you have any questions on how to front squat? Let me know in the comments below.*
P.S. If you’re in New York City, you should check out [Mark Fisher Fitness](https://markfisherfitness.com/). It’s hard to find a gym that has unicorns tripping on acid painted on the walls, and everyone there is both extremely capable and kind. You’ll love it.
> Did you enjoy this article? [Click here to check out my book, *Flexible Dieting](https://evidencemag.com/flexible-dieting-book)*. Want an even more in-depth education on how to lose weight, build muscle, and get stronger and healthier? [Join Evidence Mag Elite](https://evidencemag.com/elite) and get member’s-only reports and interviews.