In this blog, we will discuss 8 front squat alternative that will shape your body. let’s start with an introduction.
“What can I do instead of a front squat?” – Anonymous
Looking for front squat alternative may not be a new norm for you guys; it’s just so common nowadays! And the reason is straightforward you don’t have the ideal strength to do front squats properly without injuring or burning like hell yourself.
So, before you develop that power to do front squats, let’s learn about its alternatives first. Then, you can slowly graduate towards doing front squats after gaining the primary core strength.
More than enough exercises best mimic the front squats, not just in the form but in terms of using exact core muscles and pain points, a bit less than the original exercise. Thus, you’re at the right place, even if you wish to go for little variations in front squats. here is a skull crushers exercise that shape your biceps & triceps
What is a front squat?
To begin with, front squats are a suitable exercise for people with good upper body mobility and strength, but it may prove to be super painful for the opposites. Well, the front squat alternative are for them only. So, stay tuned to reveal the best mimics of front squats till the end!
Let’s first learn about the front squat first before anything else to make an informed decision! Almost similar to the back squat, there’s still a line of difference between the two, which we’ll discuss in detail below, except a bit of brief here.
You hold the barbell across the top of your chest and front of your shoulders in front squats, whereas it’s held at the behind of the neck in the back squats. Also, your quad muscles will be worked out more in front squats. And, front squat alternative will also demand a more significant load over your quad muscles.
Whenever working on front squats, you’re putting tons at the muscle group on the front of your upper legs, ensuring your primary muscle performs more difficult while keeping the upper body balanced. So, this is what a front squat looks like.
Overall, your upper body holds more force in front squats while working on the hamstrings, glutes, and hips. As you can see, this exercise also demands your wrist flexibility to hold the barbell against the top of your chest correctly. Below, we will discuss how to do front squats precisely so that you can easily contrast the front squat alternative accordingly. do you know that you can do 10 best gym exercises with a bosu ball
How to front squat?
As the barbell sits on the squat rack, stand there and check whether the bar is leveled in the middle of your chest. The next step is to hold this barbell which should be wider than the shoulder-width apart.
You may need to lower your body slightly in the semi-squat position to place the bars in front of your shoulders correctly. You need to get your elbows as much as you can manage while also holding the bar simultaneously.
It should look like you’re pointing the elbows towards the ceiling. It’s an ideal move or position because of two reasons. First of all will certainly assist you sustain your torso upright.. Secondly, it will adequately place the bar against the chest as needed.
Now, start driving to take the bar out of the squat rack. Step back slowly after you remove the bar from the squat rack. Keep shoulder feet width apart and slightly point your toes outwards. Also, keep your torso strong while also filling in your chest with a sigh of a deep breath.
After that, flex your limbs as well as lower your body right into a squat posture.. Ensure that your heels are down and the knees are width apart. Look for that your quads should be parallel to the floor. You may not be able to perform a proper front squat position if you lack ankle mobility.
You have to reduce your body until your limbs are parallel to the floor and stand up back. It’s the ideal position or form. However, we have some extra tips for you to improve this position as follows:
- Begin with the warm-up of the wrists to improve flexibility. It’s just because you need to develop the energy to lift the barbell from the squat shelf.
- You can also cross your arms while holding the barbell against the shoulders.
- It’s best if you keep your shoulders up high.
- You might be required to knock the weight plates lower before you get entirely relax.
- Focus on moving your elbows towards the ceiling to avoid dropping them while holding the barbell.
- Adjust by keeping both hands close or apart to keep the elbows in the top position.
Benefits Of Front Squats?
There are many benefits to this particular exercise if you perform it well. Thus, it’s also essential to consider the advantages before you look for the front squat alternative so that the mimics should also offer you the best merits.
You must understand that the exercise is done initially to improve your muscles’ performance and core strength and make your upper body more powerful. However, it’s also usual that you may find it challenging to do the exercise, especially when you have a weaker upper body or don’t have enough strength in your wrists or elbows.
So, muscle growth is the primary benefit you will gain after doing front squats regularly. It also increases the lower body’s muscle mass as you work on your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hips while doing front squats.
This is why people aiming for perfect glutes do this exercise regularly. The exercise is also meant to build up your spinal erectors. Spinal erectors are the muscles that help you keep your back straight and move it. This exercise will give you killer gams all around.
One research in the study Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined some biomechanical differences after doing both the front and back squats.
The study concluded that front squats are a better choice over back squats. It’s because more compressive force is used over the lumbar spine after doing back squats. Thus, the front squats were said to be an ideal choice for lifters with knee joint health issues or related meniscus tears.
Are there any risks to front squats?
We can’t say that front squats are associated with any risks so far. It’s just your incapability that you cannot do this exercise properly while taking specific necessary cautions. To better understand, here are some common mistakes you make while exercising front squats.
- You need to stop right there if you’re dropping your elbows. Keep your elbows up while pointing towards the ceiling to ensure that you are sitting on your hips properly.
- Your upper back can quickly round up due to resistance as you hold the barbell at the front of your chest. So, you must focus on keeping your spine straight for proper alignment.
- You need to stop following the same thinking of back squats while doing front squats. You must focus on dropping straight on your heels to resist falling forward.
The primary muscles in front squats are the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, abdominals, shoulders, lower back, and upper back.
8 front squat alternative you should try now!
We all love barbell front squats, and they are also beneficial, but they may not be the ideal exercise every time. Explore this list of the best eight front squat alternative if you also lack the potential to do this exercise.
Well, there could be several reasons you cannot do front squats, such as any previous shoulder or bone injury, lat stiffness, or thoracic spine. So, let’s learn front squat alternative with the same benefits below!
1 – Goblet squat
It could be a great alternative if you are not usually doing barbell front squats. It also involves less learning curve yet high benefits as the original front squat. This alternative to the front squat will help you keep your chest upward while placing a more significant load on the quads.
This alternative to the front squats can easily be performed by holding kettlebells in both your hands against the upper torso. Since the weight of the kettlebell is heavy, maintaining an upright torso is quite challenging.
It will also help you reinforce your good lifting form. You need to keep a neutral spine while keeping the shoulder blades together. Then, bend your knees and push your hips backward in a squat-down position.
Keep that tension in your legs and pause for almost a second while at the bottom squat position. Now, squeeze your hamstrings and glutes and stand back up by pushing your feet throughout. And make sure you are correctly aligned with your toes while in the squat position.
This is the ideal position to do as many sets as reps as you feel comfortable.
2 – Narrow stance leg press
You use more of your quads in a narrow stance leg press than the wide stance leg press. Also, it is one of the practical front squat alternative as it closely mimics the original exercise and isolates the quad muscles.
Begin with the decline leg press and find a comfortable level of foot placement. It doesn’t make any difference if your feet are low or high on the pads. Then, place your feet within the alignment of shoulder width and point your toes slightly outwards or forward.
Don’t round your back in the bottom position; perform this leg press via the complete range of motion. Also, make sure to perform this exercise with around 3-4 seconds of slower eccentric tempo.
3 – Dumbbell front squat
It’s an alternative to barbell front squat as well! It is also more comfortable than barbell front squats as it allows for more movement of the arms and wrists. However, this exercise is also prone to accidents because of the heavy weight load of dumbbells.
To perform this front squat alternative, take a dumbbell with an overhand grip in each hand. Pick these dumbbells up to the front delts with the elbows tucked and closed to the body. Stand still with your feet in the hip-width alignment and your spinal and core erectors braced.
The next step is to bend your knees while pushing your hips back to squat as deeply as possible. Keep your knees in alignment with the gaze and your toes straight ahead. Pause for about 2-3 seconds at the bottom, and then stand back up by pushing through the feet and squeezing your glutes.
Make sure to keep your chest up and back straight while you’re performing this exercise. Also, you can avoid discomfort by placing dumbbells across the fleshy portion of your delts.
4 – Cross grip front squat
This could be the perfect exercise if you cannot achieve a rack position and your limitation is through the tight lats. You can use cross grips if you’re building flexibility in your lats, as it’s sturdy and achievable.
You need weight plates, an overhand grip, and a barbell to perform this exercise. Elevate your upper arms, place the barbell through your chest, and ensure it’s parallel to the floor.
Now, you must bend your elbows and cross your hands in front of your chest. Position your right hand in the front of your left shoulder and vice-versa. Keep your core tight, chest up, and take yourself down slowly until your thighs are in a parallel position with your floor.
5 – Box pistol squat
You should start with this one if you’ve never tried pistol squats. With this exercise, you’re working on almost every muscle in your lower body. And, your quads will be highly activated as low as you go in the range of motion.
It also helps make your knees stronger, provided you’re performing the exercise in a better position. Start with setting up a bench or box behind you. Then, take one leg off the floor and keep it straight in front of you.
Now, bend another leg on the floor until your glutes touch the bench or box behind you. Don’t load the bench or box with your total weight; push through the floor to get back up.
6 – Double kettlebell front squats
Front squats with double kettlebells are another great alternative to barbell front squats. It allows for an easy and manageable grip compared to barbell front squats. Also, the benefits are the same as performing the original front squats.
It can be performed in a rack position without requiring too much of the mobile shoulders. It also allows you to brace the core and hold the weight of both dumbbells in a solid position.
Pick up the kettlebells up to your front chest while resting them on the outside of each forearm. Keep your elbows to the side and high in front of your chest in your most comfortable position.
Then, slowly lower yourself, get your thighs parallel to the floor, and keep the core tight. Sit for at least 3-4 seconds and drive straight with control. With double kettlebell front squats, you work on different muscles such as the core, quads, glutes, spinal erectors, and shoulders.
7 – Safety bar squat
This exercise needs a specialty bar that may not be available to you firsthand. The safety bar is a front squat alternative performed between a front squat and a high bar squat.
So, you can call it a high bar squat as the barbell rests on your upper traps, and weight is loaded over the back. Simultaneously, it is the best mimic of front squats because her elbows are forced to be forward and in an upwards direction.
To do this alternative to a front squat, start by placing the safety bar in a high-bar position on your back. Perform it in a regular squat stance while ensuring your upper back and core are engaged.
To keep your elbows in a forward position, pull the handles and maintain an elbow-up and chest-up position while you squat down.
8 – Assisted bodyweight squat
As the name suggests, you are assisted here to manage your body weight and maintain the best mimic of the front squat alternative. This front squat alternative is suggested to maintain an upright torso which is not even possible in the primary body weight squat exercises.
To do this exercise, you can grab a door frame, hold onto a counter, or find your suitable position that works best. Moreover, to sum up, you can wear a backpack or weighted vest to add more resistance.
So, we’re about to wrap up our list of the eight best recommendations on front squat alternative. We’ve also described the entire subject, from the definition of front squats to their benefits and the main difference between front squats and back squats.
Don’t forget to go through the related FAQs section below to clear more of your doubts on the subject. Also, follow the suggested tips for each exercise to avoid any injury or mishap!
Even though front squats are beneficial exercises that can be done with ease but still you may not have the potential to maintain a proper position for which alternatives to front squats are best to go with?
Some Useful FAQs
Q. Is front squatting necessary?
There is no point in necessity as it’s not a compulsion for anyone to do so! But yes, this exercise has various benefits ranging from working on different types of muscles to helping maintain an ideal exercise position.
And, if you cannot do front squats because you are not mobile or flexible enough, try out our eight recommended front squat alternative mentioned above.
Q. Are hack squats similar to front squats?
Yes, the hack squat is an alternative to the front squat. More force or weight is placed directly on the shoulders in hack squats, whereas the weight is placed on the front of the shoulders in front squats.
Q. What is a sissy squat?
If you’ve decided to build up quads anyhow, sissy squats are one of the best alternatives to front squats. This exercise helps strengthen your core and work on your hip flexors simultaneously.
Q. What is a respectable front squat?
A respectable front squat is nothing but an ideal exercise form mentioned by strength coach Charles Poliqun and conditioning expert Josh Henkins. Thus, the ideal form of weight should be equal to 85% approx. of what you can lift in the back squats.
Q. How much can the average man front squat?
A man lifter’s average front squat weight is 1RM or 232 lb.