MISFIT FRONT SQUAT TEMPLATE
Welcome to the Misfit Athletics Front Squat Template. For years we’ve fielded question after question on why we prioritize the back squat over the front squat in our strength cycles early in the offseason each year. The reasoning has always been simple, but the solution changes with this template. We still truly believe in the back squat as our primary engine for strength accumulation, but acquiring the skill and movement patterns to express that strength in the front squat itself is addressed in a very precise way in this template.
Full Dead Stop Pause Front Squat
This is exactly what it sounds like. Control your descent, completely stop momentum at the bottom, drive up through your whole foot to finish. The ultimate goal is form and the checklist is the same throughout the template and movements, full hand grip, elbows inside of hands, wind elbows IN, big toe and heel remain in contact throughout the entirety of the movement.
Thirty Second Front Squat
The goal here is a deep understanding of this movement. We’re slowing things down to get a really strong grip on what we’re trying to improve. Set up in front of a clock and take roughly 15 seconds to descend, pause, then another 15 seconds or so on the way up. As it’s the entire goal of this template we’ll say it again at the risk of being too repetitive: the checklist is the same throughout the template and movements, full hand grip, elbows inside of hands, wind elbows IN, big toe and heel remain in contact throughout the entirety of the movement.
Tempo Front Squats
The theme for this template should be forming in your mind by now. We’re aiming for mastery in this movement, and to master anything you need to have an intimate understanding of its nuance. The tempo squats are a way to mimic the control of the thirty seconds squats, but with some real weight on the bar. The rules are simple: control down, pause, control up. The checklist is still the same, full hand grip, elbows inside of hands, wind elbows IN, big toe and heal remain in contact throughout the entirety of the movement.
Bottom Position Bounces
Another huge step in mastering a movement that demands sound positioning is a strong marriage of mobility and stability. Get set up with the same checklist in mind, control your way down, and bounce without letting any of your points of performance change. We need this skill, but not at the cost of our form.
If positioning is the name of the game in the front squat, then we need a sound plan of attack on warming up the movement. Below are photos and explanations of what we’re looking for in your warm-up and “hold days”.
Perfect Position Empty Bar Front Squats:
If you’ve read everything up to this point you know the drill: full hand grip, elbows inside of hands, wind elbows IN, big toe and heal remain in contact throughout the entirety of the movement. With all of that in mind, it becomes about your ability to stabilize in the bottom and not lose any of these points.
Dorsiflexion and Plantar Flexion Mobility:
Ankle flexibility can make or break your front squat. It is expressed through dorsiflexion (top photo), but the concept of the inverse position (bottom photo) helping that can get lost on a lot of people. The goal in the dorsiflexion is feet together, heel and toe down, knees tracking over toes. Feel free to grab support if you need to. The plantarflexion (bottom photo) mobility is about opening the ankle, with the heels under the glutes.
Aside from the ankles, the hip flexors can be a huge determining factor in how upright your torso can remain throughout a front squat. Our go-to here is usually the couch stretch, which is a fan favorite in our community. Key points here are open ankle on the wall, knee and shin in full contact with the wall, and most importantly a straight line from your knee all the way through your hip and up to your shoulders. If you have to overextend to get tall, just stay lower and progress day by day.
Time to Get to Work
In one sitting this can seem like a lot to work on, but it’s spread out over the course of twenty sessions spanning five weeks in the template. Two days of the week are dedicated to moving weight, while the other day is dedicated to mobilizing, stabilizing, and eventually perfecting the movement. We are confident that a full adherence to this, coupled with your strength base from the blog will have you PRing your front squat in no time, and even more importantly crushing met-cons with any variation of this movement moving forward.