Time to get our heavy, strength work in for this evolution. This rep scheme will work on muscular endurance, as well and strength. At the end portion, you are working endurance under load via fatigue and weight. I have had great results with this rep ladder and my 1 RM has increased steadily since I started working it a few months back.
A few tips on the movement for those of you not totally dialed in on it. The front squat is going to involve a bit different body positioning. The bar should be resting squarely across the upper delts and across the front of the collar bones. You should be able to hold the bar in this position, the front rack, pretty securely. If you were to let go of the bar and just extend your arms in front of you, the bar should remain in the depression created by the back portion of the frontal head of the delts and the clavicle. This is great to see where bar position is and how vertical your body is, but don’t try and squat like this – It would end rather disastrously. Keep the head neutral and look straight ahead.
The front rack position should be high and tight. The arms are bent back at the elbows and the fingers are holding onto the bar. There is no need to have a death grip or full grip on the bar. Many times when I front squat, I am loosley holding on or just using a few fingers to keep the bar in it’s position on top of the chest. Shoulder flexibility is key here since the elbows need to come up high. Point them straight ahead at the wall the entire time you are moving through the ROM. Don’t do the arms crossed the top of the bar or any other arm position of major goofiness as it is not functional and it tends to be unstable. If your arms are crossed or you have one of those stupid harness things going on, it makes things very hard for you if you have to bail out. Trying to save a failing lift is bad mojo.
Due to the bar’s placement on the front of your torso, your body position will be more upright. This is due to the fact the bars starting position is closer to the mid foot and needs to stay there as best as possible. Any forward lean will result in a dump, so keep the mid line TIGHT and elbows up. This will keep the bar over the centerline of the body and traveling straight up and down. Before you begin your descent, concentrate on a big chest. Take in a breath, lift the chest, lock the back and begin a nice vertical descent. If you go soft and loose in the shoulders, you will round over at the top of the back, and consequently through the lower back. Under heavy weights this becomes an issue, so think big chest and lock it all in tight. Again, go DEEP – ass to grass if you can, below parallel at the very least if you are capable. A slightly elevated heel will help the upright posture a bit too, hence the raised solid heel in Oly lifting shoes. A 2.5 Lb plate under the heel will suffice.
This movement will accentuate the quads and glutes due to the bar’s forward placement on the body. The way the biomechanics of the body work in this position shifts the load to being more quad dominant than the back squat. This is also why you won’t be front squatting as much as you would in a back squat. Still, this is a powerful movement and we can’t negelect it since many of our other movements and the Oly lifts are based on this position. 3-2-1.. GO!