Front and Center

Monday 070625
Front Squat 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps
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[T]he front squat, high-bar back squat, and low-bar back squat are all done with different back angles. Each causes the skeleton to move in a different way between the top and the bottom of the movement. This is because the bar position on the trunk varies relative to the hip and knee. . . . A front squat places the bar at roughly the same level as a high-bar squat, but across the depth of the chest on the anterior deltoids, requiring the back angle to be so steep as to approach vertical.
A near-vertical back will result in a knee position much forward of that in a low-bar back squat; the high-bar squat is intermediate between the two. A knees-forward back-vertical position at the bottom produces a more acute knee angle, an already shortened hamstring, and a more extended hip. The front squat is therefore a much more quad- and glute-dominant movement than the low-bar back squat, since these are the muscles that remain in a position to contribute to the lift. This is also what’s wrong with knees too far forward in the back squat: it is undesirable not because having the knees too far forward will destroy them but because of the detrimental effect it has on hip extension.
The vertical back position of the front squat seems like it would result in a more direct compressional load on the spine than the back squat’s inclined angle would produce. This is partially true. The lower back is in a nearly vertical position, but the upper back has a much tougher job because the load it is holding up is farther away from the spine. The bar in a back squat, low-bar or Olympic, sits directly on top of the muscles that are holding it directly over the mid-foot. The front squat places the bar all the way across the depth of the chest, which in a bigger guy might be 12 inches away from where it would be sitting in a back squat. This is a much longer lever arm than no inches at all and presents a mechanical challenge to the muscles that maintain thoracic extension (it is very common to get pretty sore between and just below the shoulder blades when first starting the exercise). So while the lower back is vertically compressed, unless you are flexible enough to be capable of actually leaning back a little with the bar on your anterior delts, your thoracic erector muscles have a lot of work to do. This results in a gradual shift from compression to torque from low back to upper back, so things are not as simple as they may seem. The load on the lumbar spine in the front squat is friendlier (partly because it will be lighter) as long as the upper erectors are able to maintain position, and for this reason many people find it easier on the low back to front squat. And anything that gets too heavy gets dropped automatically before death can occur.

–Mark Rippetoe, “Popular Biomechanics,” CrossFit Journal, Issue 65


  • Allison

    Forget CrossFit, I think I’ve found my NEW workout–BodyFuzion!
    Yay pink dumbbells!

  • sarena

    Finally as rx’d!!
    Yeah Keith, Kevin and Denise
    Keeping the elbows up is the key!

  • Kevin

    WU then 7 x 1 @ 205 failed on 6th set

  • Ewen

    Would have loved to do some heavy lifting for the first time in a while, but I’m short on time. See y’all in 3 weeks, I’m off to the motherland!
    I see burpees -and hopefully ring workouts- in my near future…

  • Brett_nyc

    FS @ my Big Box Gym
    max is around 265lbs…groin has been kind of sore the past few weeks,
    practiced TGU, 25lbs, 50lbs, 60lbs, 2 sets singles each side

  • Kevin

    Have a great trip Ewen. Pardon my ignorance but where exactly is the motherland for you?

  • Ewen

    (good job on the FS btw)
    I’ll be spending some time here:
    and here:

  • Ewen

    (possible double-post because of spam filters, sorry)
    Thanks Kevin (nive FS numbers, btw, Sarena and Brett too). , , and will give you an idea.

  • Moon

    “And anything that gets too heavy gets dropped automatically before death can occur.”
    I think I am comforted by this.

  • Michael

    “And anything that gets too heavy gets dropped automatically before death can occur.”
    Ok, now I see what I’ve been doing wrong :|

  • juan g

    box lunch today.
    got up to 175, up from 145 last time we did front squats.
    -Allison was putting her girl to work today.
    way to tough it out, good job.

  • A2

    Wow thats a big jump Juan. Good job!

  • Allison

    105 (thought it was 125, didn’t realize til keith pointed out that i wasn’t using the 45-pound bar–math is hard!), 135 (failed), 125, 125, 125, 125, 135 (failed)
    not so bad considering i’m still recovering from an annoying cold. thanks, sarah, for all your moral support!

  • Dan O

    Hey, I had a comment I posted for Juan I think, about bag and training gloves that I think went into moderator hell due to the number of links in the post. Can someone pour some Drain-O down the pipes?

  • michelle

    guys check out i got some cheezy postcard in the mail. that is what happens from too much internet shopping. anyway- who wants to go do a cf workout outdoors right next to their “bootcamp republic” ?? :)

  • michael

    i actually had signed up for this when i first started cf. i quit after the first class becuase it wasnt challenging enough. they said ‘stick around this is the hardest workout in they city’. i didn’t disabuse them of the notion but perhaps Michelle hasa an idea there; say oh i dunno, fight gone bad right near them? ;)

  • michelle

    Michael-so glad to know i wasn’t the only one on their random mailing list!:0
    the people on the postacrd looked like they were working “hard” but not one of them looked like they were in remotely any kind of good shape. Sort of like the cf “before ” picture.

  • Avery

    This same boot camp program came up today with a co-worker! I pointed out that she could do Crossfit for about two months, 7 days a week, and get better results for the same price. But I think people like the idea of “Boot Camp” as though it is hardcore or something.
    Well I suppose it is…any workout that necessitates wearing bike gloves to prevent your palms from getting scraped while doing INTENSE exercises like pushups OUTDOORS must surely get you in AWESOME shape.

  • michelle

    love it! they must have done their mass mailings on friday. the bike glove thing is hilarious!

  • Justin

    Well, good night back at the box…
    225, 225, 245 the hardway (dumb-ass me forgot to take the 10 lb plate off when switching to the 15 so in effect I did 245, with 235 on the bar and an extra 10 on the left side. Sad part was I didnt even realize it), 235, 235, 225, 225. The 235′s were ugly so dropped back down to 225 for my last 2 sets.
    Because bootcamp is for pussies.

  • juan gonzalez

    ‘civilian’ bootcamp, for sure.

  • Allison

    Hey Dan O, I salvaged your comment from the spam purgatory it was in. It now appears under the ABrakadABra post from the other day. But I’ll also re-post it here, as it’s useful info for those of us doing Fight Club:
    As promised earlier:
    These are decent training gloves –
    A bit more money for training gloves –
    Good bag gloves –
    Run of the mill bag gloves (these are just fine for lots of pad work)
    If you want punching mitts (These last forever)-
    Thai pads –
    If you’re going to get just one thing, get a pair of training or bag gloves.

  • Allison

    “bootcamp” my ass. anything that promises to “trim” and “tone” you is bullshit; i’m surprised they even dared to use the word “strengthen”. they also say their bootcamp is NOT intimidating. and that’s a selling point? i remember my first day of CrossFit and it WAS intimidating. i still get intimidated! that’s kinda the whole POINT.
    i definitely think we should go work out next to them and then leave a trail of keychains back to the box.

  • michelle

    as well as a trail of kettlebells,
    and if we work out “right” -
    a trail of puke. :)

  • juan gonzalez

    so the harbinger gloves are no good for sparing?

  • Tyler Durden

    Didn’t I post a whole bunch of links to fightgear last week?
    LOL! A trail of keychains. I was thinking we should just go ahead and offer a bootcamp class so I can have an excuse to yell at people. Wait, um… nevermind. :)

  • A2

    HAHHA A trail of keychains! Let’s show em how it’s done.

  • A2

    Could not be a worse WOD for me. I’m just starting to feel better from the last one which kicked my butt and made me sick!
    I can’t believe this.
    Bernarda wanted to go to the Box tomorrow but I don’t think that’s going to happen now. She’s so excited.
    If there isn’t an alternative I’ll see you all on Wednesday.
    P.S. I just got hit in the face with a pie. Key Lime.

  • Dan O

    Allison: Thanks for the re-post.
    A2: Are you sure you aren’t confusing running with malaria?
    Topped at 235 for the front squat. Historians will want to know.

  • Jed


  • Hari

    135, 145, 155, 165, 175, 175, 175

  • Backlinks

    You made some Good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree.

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