Front Squat: Mobility and Stability

Jun 18, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

ONSIDE ACADEMY / Cat Wood MPT, CSCS

Front Squat: Favorite exercises for thoracic mobility and stability

This month at OnSide, the programming heavily favors the front squat.  The front squat is a nemesis for many, as it requires good mobility (in several areas) and there are fewer ways to cheat than with it’s sister the back squat. 

Mobility requirements for the front squat include at the wrists, shoulders, thoracic spine, hips and ankles.  In this post we are focusing on the thoracic spine.

what are we looking at?

If there is not adequate thoracic mobility, it will be challenging to get into a good high elbows position even under light loads, and even more difficult to maintain that position in the descent. 

If thoracic strength/ endurance is lacking, you’ll typically see a rounding of the upper spine and a drop of the elbows at some point during the descent, along with a reversal on the ascent of the movement. 

This video highlights those faults:

Mobility

These two exercises work primarily on thoracic extension mobility. These would ideally be done prior to your workout, as well as a regular part of your mobility routine. 8-15 reps of each.

Thoracic extension with foam roller:

Prayer stretch with dowel:

ACTIVAtion

The next two exercises are great for activation of the muscles in the thoracic spine, primarily the middle and lower traps.  I would recommend performing at least one of these prior to your front squat warm up, 8-15 reps each. 

*These are also great for activation before overhead exercises such as the front squat/ snatch.

Prone Y’s

This should be felt between and at the lower points of the shoulder blades, not in the upper traps!

Prone Overhead Presses



Strength / Endurance

If you find you’re having issues maintaining an upright spine/ high elbows at stages during the front squat, your thoracic spine strength/endurance may need some extra work:

KB Front Rack Iso Hold

You want a weight that you can maintain for 10 seconds, but would be hard to maintain for 30 (ideally). Aim for 3 sets, 1 minute between sets.

KB Single Arm Front Rack Lunge

This exercise really targets the muscles in the scapular/ thoracic region. Aim to get your forearms to 90* with the external rotation component. 8-12 x 3

Banded High-Pull + External Rotation

This exercise really targets the muscles in the scapular/ thoracic region. Aim to get your forearms to 90* with the external rotation component. 8-12 x 3

To Finish up…

This is just a snapshot of what exercises can be performed to help with the front squat. If you’re interested in improving your front squat, please reach out via email (catwoodphysio@gmail.com) or DM me on social media!

Interested in a meet and greet? Book an Appointment today!

OnSide Performance Centre

114 Chain Lake Dr. Suite 5

Halifax, NS B3S 1B1

info@onsideperformance.ca

902 404 5647