Strength Training for MTB and Moto – Front Squats
We explore the front squat options for all abilities. A movement that’ll build strength for mtb and moto.
Squats, and especially the often overlooked front squat are looked at as something you’d only do on #legday, but under load they also help build core stability and strength. Even the best MTB and Moto riders benefit from this as part of their strength training.
Looking at a typical front squat, the basis of the movement is to load the weight on your shoulders to translate the weight through to the drivers – your legs, not through the arms in front of the body which can happen with poor form.
To initiate a front squat, start by taking it from the rack onto the shoulders with your elbows high. Having a high elbow promotes the bar sitting on your shoulder muscles and not the collar bones and also ensures that your upper mid back (thoracic spine) position is good as well as keeping your chest is high when at the bottom of the squat. As with most squatting positions, you feet should sit about shoulder width apart with your toes slightly turned out. This means that when you squat there’s space inside your hips and you knees will track safely over your toes, and your lower back curve will be maintained, simple huh?
So what do you do if your wrist, elbow or shoulder mobility hinders you from the full position? We know and understand that a lot of riders have issues with mobility, especially the wrists, so in our latest video we look at options for you to use this very effective strength training movement for MTB and Moto riders to benefit from whilst out on the bike.
Our first recommended option would be to cross your arms over your the bar and hook your thumbs underneath the bar. This’ll take the pressure off your forearms and wrists but it keeps the bar in optimum position whilst performing the squat. The drawback with this movement is that it does make it slightly harder to balance the bar side to side. This is because your grip on it is narrower and once the weight starts climbing it can be a little harder to drop the bar out of position on a failed rep.
Our second option is the banded position. This puts you into a traditional front squat position but again, with reduced load on the forearms and wrists. It’s great as it means that you can learn decent mechanics for the position with optimal load on the bar whilst using your upper mid back for to assist in keeping the elbows high and driving out the bottom of the squat.
Maintaining a straight and raised torso makes a huge difference to this movement, as does ankle mobility, if you missed our feature on ankle mobility, check it out here: https://fit4racing.com/the-zone/downtime-podcast-feature/
At the bottom of the squat, ankle mobility makes a huge difference to the centre of gravity of the bar as it allows you do get deeper in the squat with your knee over your foot, and it also allows you to keep a neutral centre of gravity. If you struggle with the range of ankle mobility and your squat becomes more of a hinge you’ll feel the weight pull you forward and it’ll be a lot, lot harder to stand the weight up as well as increasing the tension on your wrists and forearms.
We always recommend that you go to a depth that allows you to maintain lower back form, don’t force depth and compromise your body position.
It’s also a great squat if you’re training on your own due to the bar being easier to bail out the front of the lift. Whereas a backsquat can leave you trapped at the bottom if you don’t know how to bail it out, especially if you don’t have a power rack or someone to help unload it.
So that’s it for now! If you have any questions use the contact form and we’ll get back to you. Our training programs are proven to build strength for MTB and Moto riders and you can be a part of our community and online training platform by signing up today.
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