3 min read

How to Rack the Barbell for a Front Squat

Properly racking the barbell ensures safe and effective form
How to Rack the Barbell for a Front Squat
A common form mistake when it comes to barbell front squatting is positioning the barbell too far forward or letting your elbows droop. Both of these mistakes can mean you'll lose the barbell when descending in the squat or it can mean the weight of the barbell will bring you too far forward not allowing you to anchor your heels to the ground to execute a proper (and safe) rep.
Since many in our community seemed to have questions about what to do when it comes to safely racking their barbell for the front squat (especially if you don't have a rack), we consulted Tempo's Head of Exercise Science, Dr. Joel French for some tips for when you want to tackle some front squats during your home workout.

Choose the Right Grip

If you’re not using a rack, make sure you have proper clean form so you can safely get the barbell from the ground to your shoulders.
Once you get the bar up, you can have either a clean grip or a cross grip on the bar.
For the clean grip, aim to have your hands a little wider than shoulder width and keep your elbows high and triceps parallel to the floor. This will keep the bar stable across your shoulders and clavicles and use them as a shelf. If the bar begins to slide forward or downward, lift your elbows.
For the cross grip, cross your hands on the barbell so that your arms create an ‘X’ on top of the bar, in front of your neck. Again, keep your elbows high to keep the bar stable across your shoulders and clavicles. As with the clean grip, if the bar begins to slide forward or downward, elevate your elbows. Please note that Coach Melissa is doing a side lunge above using the cross grip.
The front squat can really test your shoulder, lat, and wrist mobility. While you work on developing that mobility, the cross grip may be the best choice to ensure a more stable lifting position.

If you’re still working on being strong enough to clean the bar, consider getting a rack.

Why Front Squats Matter

Besides being an exercise that recruits and strengthens your legs, including your quads and glutes, front squats are also great for improving your posture and mobility.
The front squat forces you to engage your core and upper back to ensure that the barbell remains in a stable and safe position for the entire lift. Strengthening the core and back can help make sure you're sitting up straight with impeccable posture even without a heavy barbell in your hands.

Front squats also force you to test your mobility in several joints — as mentioned your wrists and shoulders will be engaged throughout the entire lift, and at the bottom of a front squat, your ankles and hips will also be employed. Doing a proper front squat can help improve strength and mobility at the same time (and help identify any areas of your body lacking mobility and flexibility).

Why do these benefits matter? Stronger legs will literally carry you through daily life, whether it's walking uphill or picking up something heavy. More mobile hips and ankles mean a lower risk of injury if you happen to trip while walking up that hill or fall while carrying that something heavy.


5.25.21 Weightlifting and marathon training

5 Tips for Weight Lifting While Marathon Training

Knowing how to balance strength training with marathon running training can be difficult. Proper balance can improve performance and reduce risk of injury.


Why You Should Always Cool Down After a Workout

Properly cooling down your body after a heart-pumping workout is crucial to your muscle recovery. Read more to discover the benefits of a proper cool-down.


Maximize Muscle Growth with Hypertrophy Training

Building muscle will not always make you bulky! Muscle weighs more than fat because it’s denser. As you add muscle, you might weigh more, but your body will be trimmer and tighter.


A Beginner’s Guide to Building Strength

Strength training is the next step toward hitting your goal.

ROM excerpt

The 5 Main Types of Weight Training

Here are five places to start your strength training programming.

09.15.21 New Coach Jonathan Excerpt Image

Meet Jonathan Ibrahim, Tempo’s Newest Coach

Introducing a new member of the Tempo coaching team. A former high school teacher, certified personal trainer, and physique competitor, Coach Jonathan Ibrahim will be responsible for further elevating strength training on Tempo.

Your-Spin-Bike Hero

Cardio for Weight Loss: Why it Isn’t Enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking with your stationary bike. However, there is more that you can do to better serve your body.

9.28.21 - Why Walking Can Be Best Cardio

Why Walking Can Be One of the Best Cardio Workouts

Often overlooked, there's a lot to love about low-impact cardio like walking. Learn why every step you take can get you closer to your fitness goals.

03.23.21 cardio with low impact

How to Make Cardio Low Impact

We’ve often seen in our community, members discussing pre-existing conditions and injuries that prevent them from doing certain exercises or completing specific classes. With that, we also commonly see an associated guilt because of this. While it can be an understandably frustrating experience, is it worth risking injury and mental burnout by prescribing to fitness with an “all or nothing” philosophy?