We receive many questions on which front squat position is optimal and/or what the differences are, between olympic and crossed grip.
The front rack position, as shown in the picture on the left, is a secure way to stabilize the barbell during the front squat. This method is ideal for those participating in weightlifting as an optimal front rack position is necessary for the clean and jerk. The shoulder external rotation in this position helps to facilitate thoracic extension and posterior tipping of the scapula, creating a stable platform for the bar to rest. However, the upper extremity mobility requirements can make the front rack position difficult or uncomfortable for some individuals to perform.
The crossed-arm grip (shown, right) is an alternative way to perform the front squat. It requires less wrist, finger, and neural mobility than the front rack position. This may be a safe, more comfortable alternative for those who have difficulty or cannot assume the front rack position. Be mindful – The shoulder positioning in this movement (elevation with internal rotation) may be provocative for those with shoulder pathology.
It’s important to note one fundamental form component: both styles require the ELBOWS to stay UP in order to efficiently complete the lift!