How To Fix Wrist Pain During Front Squats

The front squat is a powerful lower body exercise also known as the little brother of the regular barbell back squat. It requires the lifter to place the barbell on top of his front shoulders, squat down and go back up. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? When you try front squats for the first time the first thing that you are going to notice is that the movement requires tremendous wrist flexibility. For that reason many people experience wrist pain during front squats. In this article we will present you a few solutions to this problem.

1.Use the cross grip when you front squat.

If you use the so-called cross grip for your front squats, the stress on the wrist will be eliminated completely since the hands are no longer in a vulnerable position. All weight is supported by the torso.

The disadvantages of this grip is that it provides less control than the regular (clean grip). Some people just don’t feel as secure when using the cross grip. However, with time and after a certain period of adjustment you will get used to it. If you don’t plan on doing weightlifting movements such as power cleans, full cleans, clean & press…etc. you will be fine without the clean grip.


the legendary Dave Draper performing front squats with the clean grip.

the legendary Dave Draper performing front squats with the clean grip.

2.Use straps to reduce wrist stress.

Believe it or not but straps can be put to a very good use during front squats. If you wrap a pair of straps around the bar when you front squat, you can use them as handles. Observe the pictures below for further clarification.

image credit: http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/

image credit: http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/

image credit: http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/

image credit: http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/

Note: The images above are from the article:
Straps For Higher Rep Front Squats – Doug Nassif

This method offers more bar stability compared to the regular cross-over style and is particularly good if you want to do front squats for high reps.

3.Improve your wrist flexibility and mobility.

You can perform different mobility and flexibility exercises in order to make your wrists more flexible so that you can assume proper position during front squats. For ideas consult the video by John Cortese below.

4.Use elastic wrapping to protect your wrists.

Even if you do everything correctly during front squats, it’s still pretty easy to strain your wrists. This is why quite often people will use wrists wrapping during front squats even if everything is just fine. Make sure that your wrist wraps do not restrict the blood flow of the joints.

5.Use the front squat harness

The front squat is a great device that will allow you to front squat safely without much stress on your wrist, arms and shoulders. You can even use it for Zercher squats.

Louie Simmons from WB using the front squat harness image via: www.drdarden.com

Louie Simmons using the front squat harness
image via: www.drdarden.com

Additional keypoints

1.If you want to be a weightlifter, you must be able to perform front squats with the regular clean grip. The reason for that is that the recovery during a clean is technically a front squat.

2.Perform front squats for less reps per set (up to 3 or 5) unless you’re using straps. The reason for that is that your form during front squats is actually quite “fragile” and one little slip can take you out of the groove.

Recommended article for detailed explanation on proper front squat execution: How To Front Squat With Proper Form
References:
visited on April 21, 2014;
www.davedraper.com;
www.rookiejournal.com/how-to-front-squat-with-proper-form.html;
ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/11/straps-for-higher-rep-front-squats-doug.html;

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