Doing Front Squats can be a problem with a Barbell or a pair of Kettlebells. Coaching must almost be individual since the most detailed explanation can fall short when it comes to individual limb length, height, and flexibility. I remember when years ago Arnold would criss cross his arms to hold the weight. This seemed to be a Gold’s Gym sort of style. Steve Michalik on the East Coast would simply hold both hands near his throat to stabilize the bar in the rack. Weight lifters use shoes with heels to help their base during competitive lifting. Gym rats use boards under their heels. Pavel Tsatsouline gives extensive instruction in his DVD’s on proper squat form, movement, and the drills necessary to expedite this process. Dan John has an excellent suggestion of learning the Front Squat through doing Tabata Thrusters. This would be timed intervals doing a Front Squat with an overhead Push Press. Pavel actually used this idea in the Enter the Kettlebell supplements. He uses the “Long Push Press”, which involves a squat, flowing into an overweight press. The Front Squat forces rigidity in the torso and therefore enhances the pressing process by increasing body tension, abdominal stability, and irradiation.

Amongst my training group we have had great luck with Single Indian Club Thrusters. This exercise has the unique ability to lock down the torso, clean up the squatting form, and help shoulder girdle strength. It is a different groove from the KB press, but the muscle building effects are rather pronounced. The oddly weighted Indian Club, when it is heavy enough, requires a tightly controlled path that will immediately teach a pure, textbook-like squatting style. The press requires shoulders to sink in their sockets and stay tightly packed. You must use your lats to amazing degree, and the constant fear of losing the Indian Club keeps you vigilant. Many of the steps needed to teach Kettlebell squatting may possibly be skipped if the trainee is allowed to experiment with Indian Club Thrusters and/or Front Squats.

Several suggestions are appropriate here. One, start light, Indian Clubs are awkward.
Two, Maintain good posture, good base, and press with the lats, keeping the shoulders packed tight with latissimus strength.

The Tabata Cycle is but one repetition scheme. Indian Clubs are not Barbells and the heavy squat stimulus is not like Front Squatting 315lbs. If your skills are high, your strength is good, and fortitude are great, …try using TWO Indian Clubs during your squatting and Thruster workouts.

When you go back to other forms of Squatting you will feel all those good habits transfer from this simple little exercise.

–Tom Furman

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