Yes, the mother of all exercises is the squat, there is no denying it. Actually, if you were stuck on an island and could do only one exercise, squats would be it. It’s a full bodybuilder and if you manipulate the reps, rest period and bar placement, you can generate impressive results. Which leads me to his close cousin, the front squat.
Performance-wise, throughout the years, I’ve slowly changed my views on squats and front squats became my go-to exercise, especially for performance. Although more difficult technically, since it recruits a little more the posterior chain due to the forward shift of the center of gravity, I find it more useful for sport-specific purposes, particularly in hockey, football, and MMA.
One of my favorite variations is the front barbell split squats. It recruits a higher percentage of the posterior chain as in glutes, low back, QL, and scapular chain. All imperatives to sports performance.
Here are a few tips for proper bar placement.
1. Most have a hard time placing the bar in the crease of the shoulders since it seems to fall right on the neck and feels like someone is choking you. Well, sorry to say that, but you’ll have to get used to it.
2. Your elbows should be pointing forward, parallel (if not higher) to the floor.
3. Wrist flexibility is often an issue. As you get better at it, wrist flexibility will follow. If pain persists, use straps which will allow you to keep the bar on the shoulders without having to sacrifice your wrists every time.