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Daniel Mesa

Barbell Front Squat: How To & Benefits

barbell front squat

Are you ready to take your lower body workout to the next level and build a strong, stable foundation? Find out how the Barbell Front Squat can change your body. It is a dynamic and effective exercise that focuses on your legs, glutes, and core, giving you the power to build a strong body. In this detailed guide, we’ll go deep into the world of Barbell Front Squats, giving you step-by-step instructions, expert tips, and a variety of other exercises to get you started on your fitness journey and keep you going.

How To Do The Barbell Front Squat

To learn the Barbell Front Squat, you have to pay close attention to every detail and use perfect form. Follow these exact steps to make the move perfectly and make the most of your progress:

Rack the Barbell

Start by putting the barbell at chest height on a squat rack. Set your hands a little farther apart than shoulder-width.

Grip the Barbell

Step under the barbell and pull it off the rack, balancing it on your fingertips and shoulders. You can make a shelf for the barbell to sit on by crossing your arms.

Place Your Feet

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart or a little further apart. For more support, the toes can point a little outward.

Engage Your Core

As you start the squat, brace your core and keep your chin up.


Lower your body by bending your hips and knees and keeping your back straight and chin up.

Full Squat

Go as low as you can while still keeping your form right. Your legs should be as close to the ground as possible.

Push Through the Heels

Drive through your heels to stand back up and get back to the starting position.

Our Tips For Barbell Front Squat Form

Tip 1: Maintain an Upright Torso

Maintaining an upright torso is a good aspect of a good Barbell Front Squat. Maintain a straight back and a high chest as you descend into the squat. Avoid rounding your back, which not only impairs your form but also places unneeded stress on your spine. By emphasizing an upright torso, you promote appropriate spinal alignment and uniformly distribute weight, resulting in a safer and more effective squatting motion.

Tip 2: Elbows High

When doing a front squat, you must raise your arms to keep the barbell from rolling forward. Lift your knees as you hold the barbell in the front rack position to make a stable shelf for the barbell to rest on. This change not only helps you stay stable but it also helps spread your weight more evenly between your upper and lower body. With your arms up, you can make a move with confidence and not worry about the barbell moving forward.

Tip 3: Control the Descent

A controlled descent is essential for improving muscle engagement during the Barbell Front Squat. Instead of racing through the lowering phase, concentrate on a slow and methodical drop. This regulated movement allows your muscles to operate through their whole range of motion while also ensuring you actively engage them throughout the exercise. 

Dropping fast into the squat might result in tension loss and diminished muscular activation. Controlling the descent maximizes squat efficacy and contributes to a more challenging workout.

Common Front Barbell Squat Mistakes To Avoid

Mistake 1: Rounding the Back

When doing the Barbell Front Squat, it’s important not to round your back. Make sure to keep your spine neutral throughout the movement so you don’t put too much stress on your lower back. Think of a straight line going from your head to your tailbone, and pay attention to keeping this line straight as you squat. This protects your back and gets the most out of your muscles for a safe and effective workout.

Mistake 2: Elbows Dropping

During the front squat, you should also avoid letting your arms drop. Keep your arms up and point toward the ground to keep your balance and keep the barbell from moving forward. This method helps you build a strong shelf for the barbell to rest on, so it stays in place as you move up and down. By learning this tip, you can improve your balance and better grip the movement.

Mistake 3: Knee Overextension

To avoid overextending your knees, you should try to control the depth of your squat. If you push your knees out too far, you can put too much stress on your knee joints and mess up your form. Instead, focus on a slow, controlled fall and try to keep your knees in line with your feet. By putting safety and the right range of motion first, you can get the most out of the front squat without hurting yourself.

Muscles Worked By Front Squats

bb front squat


The front squat puts a lot of stress on your quadriceps, which are the muscles on the front of your legs. As you go down into a squat, your quads tighten to straighten your knees, and they also help you get back to the starting position. Using front squats to work on your quads can help you build strong, well-defined leg muscles.


The front squat is mostly done by your quadriceps, but your hamstrings, which are at the back of your legs, are also very important. During both the down and up parts of the squat, they work together with the quads. This even use of the hamstrings helps the front and back of your legs grow in a way that works well together.


During front squats, the gluteal muscles, especially the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, work hard. As you stand up from a squat, your glutes tighten to pull your hips back. This gives you the force you need to lift your body weight. Having strong glutes not only makes your rear end look better but also makes your lower body stronger and improves your athletic ability.


For the front squat, you need to use your core a lot to keep your back straight and your chest up. Your deep core muscles, like the transverse abdominis and internal obliques, work to keep your lower back from rounding and keep you stable as you move. This core exercise helps you get stronger all around and helps your posture and spine stay healthy.

BB Front Squat Benefits

how to the barbell front squat

Benefit 1: Quadriceps Development

The Barbell Front Squat is one of the best leg exercises because it uniquely works the quads. As you lower your body into a squat, your quads work hard, which helps your muscles grow and get more defined. This not only makes your legs look better, but it also makes your lower body stronger, giving you more confidence to take on different physical tasks.

Benefit 2: Core Engagement

Functional exercise is built around a strong and stable core. During the Barbell Front Squat, your core muscles are used to keep your back straight and your body stable. This activity not only strengthens your core muscles, like the rectus abdominis and obliques, but also improves your balance and makes you less likely to get hurt. With regular practice, you’ll develop a strong core that helps you during workouts and in everyday life.

Benefit 3: Functional Strength

The beauty of the Barbell Front Squat is that it can be used in real life. This exercise trains your body for everyday tasks like picking up things, climbing stairs, or even just getting out of a chair. It does this by simulating the motions of these actions. Front squats help you build functional strength, which makes it easier and more confident for you to move around. This improves your quality of life and general physical ability.

Alternatives To Barbell Front Squat

Exercise Option 1: Goblet Squat

The Goblet Squat is a great option, especially for people who are just starting out and want to learn how to squat properly. In this exercise, you hold a dumbbell or bar close to your chest. This helps you stand up straighter and gets your core muscles working.

The weight in the front acts as a counterweight, so you can focus on keeping your balance and steadiness throughout the movement. Goblet squats are a great way to build a strong link between your mind and your muscles while also making your legs and core stronger. As you get better at the move, you can gradually add more weight to give yourself more of a challenge.

Exercise Option 2: Dumbbell Front Squat

The Dumbbell Front Squat is a dynamic version that is similar to the barbell front squat in how it works but poses a different challenge. Instead of a barbell, you hold dumbbells at shoulder height, which makes your core and upper body work harder to keep you stable. By using multiple muscle groups to keep your form, this exercise improves your balance and agility. 

You can also fix any muscle imbalances between your left and right sides by doing dumbbell front squats. Dumbbells give you the freedom to move in a way that fits your body and comfort level. This makes them a good alternative to the standard barbell front squat.

Exercise Option 3: Hack Squat

The Hack Squat is a good option that is better for your body because the barbell is behind you. This version gives your lower back more support, making it a good choice for people who have problems with their lower back or who want a change of pace. When you do a hack squat, your quads and hips are the main muscles you work with, and they work together to push the weight up. 

Compared to the standard front squat, this exercise lets you focus more on leg strength and development while keeping your torso more upright. The hack squat is a unique way to work your lower body and gives your muscles and general strength a different boost.

Bottom Line On Barbell Front Squats

Adding Barbell Front Squats to your workout routine could change your lower body strength, core stability, general fitness, and posture in a big way. This exercise has a lot of different ways to help you shape your legs and improve your general physical strength. By putting correct technique, gradual improvement, and unwavering commitment at the top of your list, you’ll see amazing changes that go beyond the gym and give you the energy and confidence to overcome everyday challenges.


Are Barbell Front Squats suitable for beginners?

Front squats can be challenging, especially for beginners. It’s essential to start with proper form and manageable weight. 

Can I perform Barbell Front Squats with wrist discomfort?

If you experience wrist discomfort during front squats, you can try using straps to hold the barbell or opt for alternative variations that place less strain on the wrists, such as the goblet squat.

What’s the difference between Barbell Front Squats and Back Squats?

While both squats engage similar muscle groups, the front squat places more emphasis on the quadriceps and core due to the barbell’s positioning.

How often should I include Barbell Front Squats in my workout routine?

The frequency of front squats depends on your fitness goals, overall routine, and recovery ability. Starting with 2-3 sessions per week and gradually increasing can be effective, but individual needs may vary.

Can I use a lifting belt during Barbell Front Squats?

Lifting belts can provide additional support and stability, especially when lifting heavy weights. However, it’s essential not to rely solely on the belt and prioritize proper form and core engagement.


  1. Gullett, J. C., Tillman, M. D., Gutierrez, G. M., & Chow, J. W. (2009). A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 23(1), 284–292.
  1. Bautista, D., Durke, D., Cotter, J. A., Escobar, K. A., & Schick, E. E. (2020). A Comparison of Muscle Activation Among the Front Squat, Overhead Squat, Back Extension and Plank. International journal of exercise science, 13(1), 714–722.