Hands-Free Front Squat

Posted on by Ben Bruno

I have received several questions about front squatting in the past week that have led me to start writing an article about ways to improve it, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to finishing that so in the meantime I wanted to share something quick that I think can really help you. I picked this technique up from Mike Boyle when I started working at MBSC, and it’s been great. It’s a hands-free front squat, and it is one of the better drills I’ve found for teaching people to do the exercise correctly. The main complaint with front squats is usually not even about the squatting part but rather discomfort that comes from holding the bar. The key is getting the bar in the right groove in your deltoids so your wrists and hands don’t have to do much work. Sounds easy, but it’s hard for a lot of people to grasp.

The hands-free front squats makes it easy to find that sweet spot because otherwise you’ll dump the bar. It also teaches you really quickly to keep your elbows high. I think it’s a great way to teach the front squat starting out, and it’s also a great little drill for more advanced lifters to use from time to time to ingrain good technique. A lot of times I’ll do my first few warm ups sets hands-free just to set the tone.

I’ve actually seen video of people using crazy amounts of weight using this method, and while I don’t recommend doing that, it gives credence to the idea that the hands shouldn’t be doing much work.

So if you’ve been struggling with the front squat, this might be a place to start. (Hopefully) sometime soon I’ll have a more complete article for you.

If you haven’t checked out yesterday’s For Your Viewing Pleasure, give it a look.

Have a good day!


  • Ross

    Great stuff! I know you mentioned history of back pain. Is the front squat a safer option compared to the back squat if you have a history of low back pain?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=107171 Ben Bruno

      Ross- Front squats will generally be easier on the back, but they can still be stressful so you’ll have to take it case by base. The more upright nature of the squat, combined with less weight, makes it more back-friendly.

  • http://twitter.com/kennedyk24 Kyle Kennedy, CSCS

    hey ben! Great video. I’m a really big fan of front squats and prefer people to master them before the backsquat. My brother and I made a video of front squat progressions and I think you should do the same! I think mastering the front squat will help with a lot of people and their lack of depth. Check out our video and article if you want!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=107171 Ben Bruno

      Kyle- Thanks. I actually just wrote an article about front squatting, so that should be out in a few weeks most likely. I’ll be curious what you think.