Barbell front squat

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Quadriceps (Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Medialis, Rectus Femoris)
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, Soleus
  • Dynamic stabilizers (not highlighted): Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Note: Hands must be placed on top of bar.

Starting position

  1. Load a barbell on a rack at upper-chest height.
  2. Step under the barbell so that it rests on the front of your shoulders, cross your arms and place your hands on top of the barbell.
  3. Dismount the barbell and step backward carefully. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and pointing slightly outward.


  1. Inhale as you squat down by pushing your butt backward and bending your knees forward. Keep your torso upright, and descend at least until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Exhale as you push your body back up to the starting position, driving with your heels and keeping your torso upright.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your back straight, torso upright, head facing forward, and feet flat.
  • Keep your knees and feet pointing in the same direction.
  • Practice proper form with an unloaded barbell.
  • Start light and add weight gradually, allowing your legs and lower back time to adapt.
  • If lifting heavy, have a spotter ready, or use a squat rack or power rack.
  • The barbell squat and the barbell front squat work the same target and synergistic muscles. However, the barbell front squat recruits more stabilizer muscles, including various back muscles, your shoulders, and your chest. What’s more, although both exercises’ stabilizers include your abs and lower back, the barbell squat puts more emphasis on your lower back.
  • The barbell front squat is more advanced than the barbell squat; however, it is not as effective at building mass because it doesn’t permit as much weight to be lifted. Therefore, the barbell front squat should ideally be used as an auxiliary exercise to improve your barbell squat.

Barbell front squat video


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