Winter is in full swing here…but let’s throw it back to Halloween with Frankenstein today!
THE MOVE: Frankenstein Squat
MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Squat: quads, glutes, hamstrings, core.
WHY DO IT: Have you ever had trouble with the front-rack position in front squats or reverse lunges? In a previous Move of the Week, we showed you what that looked like:
Like a new pair of shoes, the front-rack position takes a little time to get used to. A lot of people have trouble finding out exactly where the bar should rest on their shoulders, and also have trouble with the fact that this position actually brings the bar against the front of the neck. In reality, the right position for the front-rack is also the position in which you don’t need your hands to support the bar. The Frankenstein Squat does exactly that–it takes your hands out of the equation.
Dan shows you what that right position looks like in the second half of the video. Ideally, the bar rests in the crevice created by your deltoid (the muscle in the front of your shoulder) and your clavicle (collarbone) when you raise your arms out in front of you. The Frankenstein Squat is a great teaching tool for the front squat, as you must keep your torso up and squat with proper form in order to keep the bar on top of you shoulders. Once proficient, you’ll have a much easier time keeping the weight off your wrists once you progress to front squats.
Without your hands supporting the bar though, you must squat in a controlled manner throughout the set. The torso must stay up, and you can’t shoot the hips up faster than your shoulders or else you’ll lose the bar. The Frankenstein Squat effectively forces you to slow down and do it right.
Finally, once you’re comfortable with the front-rack position, you can still load up the Frankenstein Squat to keep your front squat mechanics sharp and honest.
HOW TO DO IT: Place a barbell in a squat rack at a height just below your shoulders. Approach the bar with your arms straight out in front of you. Get directly under the bar and set it up on top of your shoulders and close to your neck, as Dan does in the video. Unrack the bar, walk out, set your feet about shoulder-width apart, and squat.
The mechanics of the squat are important here, and perhaps the most important cue to keep in mind here is to keep your arms up at all times. Also, instead of pushing your hips back, you want to squat between your legs. This means your knees and ankles should bend forward a little more than in a powerlifting squat, for example. By doing these things, you’ll be able to keep your torso upright and the bar on your shoulders.
I like to use the Frankenstein Squat primarily for solidifying squatting technique, so higher reps is the way to go here. I’d recommend this in the middle of a workout for 3 sets of 8-10 reps. If you’re looking to own the front-rack position, let Frankenstein help you. Let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !
by Jeremy Lau
Jeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.
Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and received his Master’s in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.
As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.