How To Front Squat

Learning how to front squat is probably a very sensible move if you want to increase your vertical jump. You see the front squat is one of the very best strength exercises for athletes wanting to learn how to jump higher. It has a number of benefits over the traditional back squat (better quad involvement, easier on the lower back being the main ones) and in theory isn't that hard to perform.

Basically you un-rack the barbell with it positioned across your shoulders, then while maintaining an upright position, you squat down until your thighs are just past parallel, before extending the knees and hips back into the beginning position.

how to front squatFront Squats = Awesome vertical jump strength exercise

Why Don't More Athletes Front Squat?

Unfortunately many athletes miss out on the benefits this great exercise provides because even though it all sounds quite simple, in practice it can often be uncomfortable to perform if you are unfamiliar with the lift.

The reasons for this are that compared to the back squat, the front squat shoulders the load (pun intended) across a much smaller surface area. This means that on each of the parts of the shoulder where the bar is resting, it is carrying a higher portion of the weight. As well as that, many athletes, myself included, have wrist and back flexibility constraints, that can make this exercise difficult to perform when compared to the back squat variants.

However, just as there is more than one way to skin a cat (Apparently. I have never actually tried skinning a cat), there is also more than one way to front squat. In the video below I demonstrate for different ways to execute front squat, each with its own set of pros and cons, but all highly effective.

The Crossed Arm Method

big heavy front squatCrossed Arm Front Squat: 130kg! He doesn't look too troubled by this.


  • Requires no equipment
  • Overcomes flexibility and mobility issues


  • Barbell can still be uncomfortable on the shoulders (especially for athletes without much deltoid muscle mass)

Lifting Straps Method

front squat with strapsFront Squat With Lifting Straps: Take A Load Off


  • Lifting straps are cheap
  • Overcomes flexibility and mobility issues


  • Barbell can still be uncomfortable on the shoulders when the loads get heavy
  • Feels less secure than other methods (although in reality, it isn't)

Get Strength Front Squat Harness Method

Getstrength Front Squat Front Squat Harness: Now We Can Really Lift Some Heavy Loads


  • By far the most comfortable way to front squat
  • Allows the use of substantially heavier loads
  • Overcomes flexibility and mobility issues


  • The front squat harness costs around NZD $200

If you are interested in buying the front squat harness, and it truly is a great piece of training equipment, then you can order them directly from and they do at least offer free shipping worldwide.


If you aren't using the front squat in your vertical jump program because you don't like doing them, then maybe it is time to give the front squat another look. They are a great vertical jump exercise and as I have just shown there are plenty of options available to you if are prepared to experiment a little.

NOTE: It is also worth noting too that I have focused on ways to shorten the learning curve of front squats in this article. If you are planning on doing some Olympic lifting as part of your program, which does require you to learn the front squat position in order to finish the various cleans etc, there is no reason why you can't take the time to work on the things that are holding you back. It might take a bit longer but it will be time well spent.

Related Articles

Vertical Jump Training - The quickest way to increase your vertical jump.

Strength Training Part 1 - Getting strong is vital for jumping high. Part 1 of our 2 part look at strength training covers the various theories behind strength training.

Squats and Deadlifts
- Squats and deadlifts are the big two strength building exercises for increasing your vertical jump. Check out our introductory look at these great exercises.

How Strong is Strong Enough? - How strong do you need to be when training to jump high? Find out in this article.


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