In today's blog post, I am going my personal checklist for what I like to see when evaluating an individual's front squat technique. We will start from the ankle and work our way up. So here we go:
The foot and arch of the foot should remain in a neutral position. I have flat feet, so for me, I need to actively and consciously supinate my ankle in order to create a stable arch and base of support. Toes should be facing forward and slightly outward. Lastly, the whole foot should remain flat on the ground throughout the whole range of motion.
In the frontal plane, we want to avoid any valgus or varus stress at the knee. With regards to knee flexion, if you can maintain a neutral pelvis, spine, and ankle, then utilize the full amount of knee flexion that you have available, and that you are comfortable with. With front squats, I tend lower myself until my thighs are parallel to the ground, or 90 degrees of knee flexion.
It is my belief that a position of slight external rotation and abduction create a more stable position for the most of us. Typically, as we go into more adduction in our starting position (feet relatively close together), it is harder to maintain a neutral spine and pelvis. Excessive internal rotation puts us at greater risk for hip injuries.
Spine & Pelvis
There should be no rounding of the spine. This includes the lumbar and thoracic spine segments. The pelvis should not rotate or tilt as we lower into our squat position.
Shoulders are and remained flexed at 90 degrees of flexion so the upper arms are parallel with the ground.
I like to use the parallel-arm position rather than the crossed-arm position. When using the parallel-arm position, you must have a significant amount of elbow flexion. Tight triceps tend to limit the amount of elbow flexion that one can achieve when utilizing the parallel-arm position.
Wrists and fingers
Similar to the elbow, the wrist, and fingers, need a significant amount of flexion. If you experience tightness, or struggle to get into the parallel-arm position, a technique I found useful is performing a median nerve glide.
Check out the videos below on my front squat technique and the methods I mentioned to improve your parallel arm position: