Front Squats For Improved Posture & Performance

This scares me to death… strength and sports coaches who load heavy weights onto the back of weak and muscularly imbalanced athletes.

Listen, if yourself or your athletes can not maintain a STRONG posture… which in my book is defined as:

“The capacity to maintain The Instantaneous Axis Of Rotation of all joints while static or during dynamic movement.”

Then you have no business adding external resistance (barbells or weights) to their body in a manner that facilitates the weakness or exposes it to injury.

Let me explain… if a kid has overdeveloped traps and weak scapular adductors (the muscles that hold the chest up and shoulder blades together) he will appear to have a “rounded” or “hunched” mid / back,  It may not be as obvious a deformation as the Hunchback of Notre Dame but it is a Red Flag none the less.

Now if you take that kid who can barely maintain thoracic extension (chest up, shoulders down posture) and load his spine with a 225 lb. barbell and expect him to squat… you’re gonna have one of several situations on your hands.

1. The barbell will crush him and toss him face first onto the floor with the barbell doping down on his neck!

2. He will squat the weight, but it will look more like a Good Morning bow than a squat… and his low back is going to be killing him!

3. He will simply not be able to attempt the lift…. EVER!  He will never get stronger with this weak link in his “kinetic chain.”

So, what the heck do you do?

Use what I call “Corrective Bodybuilding” to strengthen weaknesses while still taxing the nervous and endocrine system for increased strength and growth!

Check out one more of my “Corrective Bodybuilding” exercises below:

Check out… Football Strength System for more “Corrective Body Building Exercises”,  before the price goes up this month!

Comments 16

  1. I can honestly say that the front squat isn’t just for the athlete, but the general client as well. I have a few clients that either hunch the shoulders when they a)squat b)the bent over row c)deadlift to. So at times I ad the bar only to posture training, or have them lean on a wall with shoulders squarly on the wall, no sway in the lower spine, and tell them to force the back as much as possible onto the wall. OR, for my female clients, just to have the arms out in front of them can work the same because you see how badly the waist bend tends to be. Good work big man! Are you still doing strongman training (like I have to ask) and have you decided on your next competition?

  2. hey Elliot
    It’s me Zach Keys
    Just wanted a desciprion of all the exersises…
    A 12 year old kid like me needs.


  3. dude, love ur blog

    what do u think about front squats like bodybuilders do, arms crossed (old school arnold front squats)

    keep killing this blog, it’s my home away from home!


  4. Post

    @ Njama – YEA, im still competing… there is a local show in FEB and a PRO-AM in April (winner turns pro). I’m doing both, but not hitting hard right now.

    @ Zach – bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, burpees, chin ups and push ups are great for young athletes.

    @ Zach Even-Esh – thanks man! external rotation of the upper arm is associated with extention of the upper / mid back. so, when you use the “Clean” hold like drayton you force better posture. Arms crossed is good, but won’t produce the same “corrective” effect.

  5. Elliot, when you do the front squats, what do you think about where foot position position should be? I know most people are more comfortable with the feet out wide, but I feel it puts more work on the inner muscle(abbductor?) then on the quad. Do you switch foor position from maybe sumo to shoulder width, or do you feel it doesn’t make that much of a difference?

  6. can’t you do this exercise with your arms crossed? Then your left palm should be by the right shoulder and the right palm by the left shoulder

  7. Hey Elliott,
    What fantastic advice for young guys just starting out! So many of the teenagers and young men I see in my gym have absolutely no idea where to begin, so they follow the example of the “big” guys who usually do a much easier workout than what is going to help them grow! I am letting these kids know about your website, so that now we will see them grow!

  8. hello elliot thanks for this i actually have overdeveloped traps and weak scapular adductors and my back isnt to hunch back maybe like about 30% but now i do get why you believe front squats are better to improve posture then back squats, i have done front squats in the past i can feel them in my legs and upper body then i do with back squats

  9. Front squat is also a KILLER ab exercise. Superset it with dragon flags and if someone tries to punch you in the abs, they will break their hands.. I did this when i was a boxer.. Believe me, everyone just went straight for my face, cause pounding my midsection didn’t have an effect :D

    Once again Elliott, good to see someone who knows what the fuck he is talking about! ;D

  10. Post

    No, zerchers actually force the biceps to overwork and become tight which may further lead to kyphosis and forward head posture.

  11. Elliot when I put my back flat to the wall I can get my lower back close but not touching completely. I have had shoulder issues in the past but my doctor has cleared me to fully workout again. The MRI showed a downward slope of my acromion which they said could be causing a slight impingement of my supraspinatus? They also said their is a mild case of bursitis. I am only 23 years old do you see any way around this?….I have never had any problems squatting or deadlifting….(I usually stretch out my chest in the doorway like I saw you demonstrate in one of your videos before I squat.) I have always felt alot stronger and more explosive doing squats. My shoulder sometimes feels weak though when I am bench pressing and I think my right shoulder is stronger then my left. Any info is appreciated—Thanks , Ross

  12. What about depth of front squat? I know that I should do deep squats with barbell on my back. But shall I do deep front squats? Like full depth?

  13. Hey Elliot. It’s me Zach Keys again.
    I am 14 now(since yesterday) and i am a freshmen.
    As of this summer i am doin conditioning for highschool football.
    go drillers.
    but i fear i am underweight and have no room for muscle to coome in.
    i was wondering if you could tell me what foods i should be eating,
    and a dietary plan i should be on.

    oh and any extra home exercises would be great too(:

  14. I have problems with my left wrist (recurring tendonitis) which limits my flexibility, so I can’t do front squats with my wrist bent backwards… Is there any other option other than the crossed arms?

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