Front Squat Techniques

by Dr. Mel Siff

Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 11:10:05 EST
Subject: Front Squat Variations

There are several ways of executing a front squat. Some lifters can go "rock bottom", even with a narrow foot spacing, while others have to use a wider foot spacing and go to a less deep position, as illustrated by the athletes on this web page:

What they are doing is a very sound strategy for anyone who lacks the flexibility in the joints of the lower extremities to sink rock bottom. They employ a wider foot spacing and rotate the knees outwards. You may notice that it is very common to find lifters who do not support the load of the bar directly on the wrist, but open their hands and just allow the finger tips to keep the bar held in position on the front of the shoulders.

Others cannot even manage to keep their elbows up high without hurting their wrists (especially football linemen who have traumatised their wrists through years of 'hitting'), so they use the typical bodybuilding crossed arm style illustrated here: t.html

Far too many athletes do not know about that 'trick' of keeping the hands open and placing the load on the upper shoulders/chest, so that automatically use the crossed arm approach or use 'Sting Ray' attachments, believing themselves incapable of doing the lift in a more 'strict' fashion. If only someone would teach them a few more tricks from the world of serious lifting - life would be a lot more productive and safer!

Other lifters, like my old lifting friend, the hugely muscular and very agile Serge Reding, could assume a very low bottom position, as illustrated in the fourth photograph down on this page:

If you study a few more pictures in that Serge Reding gallery, you will understand why all of us who knew him were always awed by his huge muscularity. What's more, that structure was matched by phenomenal action. He was the first man ever to snatch more than 400lbs and I saw him do rock bottom rapid squats in our university gym in South Africa during the early 1970s for 5 reps with 400kg (880lbs) with no wraps, suit or belt. Talk about speed squats! Even Alexeyev used to state that Reding was the strongest man in the world at the time - of course, Alexeyev used to boast that he had a more focused mind, so that he almost always defeated Reding in most competitions.

Dr Mel C Siff
Denver, USA