Move of the Week: Front Squat + Push Press

Today’s MoTW features something a little different, as well as a short lesson on combos and complexes. Enjoy!

THE MOVE: Front Squat + Push Press

MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Squat, vertical push: quads, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders.

WHY DO IT: Somewhere along the way, someone came up with the great idea of combining exercises to create one multi-movement, multi-joint exercise to keep things interesting. Whether you are pressed for time or simply looking for a new challenge, combos and complexes are the way to go.

Today’s Move of the Week features a combo movement, in which you perform one rep of each individual exercise to make up one total rep. As you can see above in the video, the Front Squat + Push Press combines two exercises that flow right into each other, and you perform one of each to make up one total rep of this combo. This move can easily be made into a complex too; in the fitness realm, it is generally understood that a complex differs in that I can prescribe multiple reps of each exercise and call this a set. More on this in the next section, HOW TO DO IT.

What you get with a Move like the Front Squat + Push Press is a demanding exercise from both a technical and strength standpoint that can also save you some time in the gym. Just keep in mind that like the barbell reverse lunge, a Move like today’s isn’t for the faint of heart! Depending on the type of person you are, you would either love this exercise, or hate to love it. In fact, a progression of this Move is the thruster, in which there is no pause between the squat and press. It is a fantastic exercise for those who are ready for it.

HOW TO DO IT: In our semi-private SureFit program, we are currently using the Front Squat + Push Press as a combo. You can see Ross doing 2 reps of this combo above. As this exercise combines two demanding exercises, we like to use this combo in the beginning of the workout. I’d recommend 4-5 sets of 6 (1+1) reps. The (1+1) notation indicates that you’ll be doing one rep each of the front squat and push press in order to count as one full rep.

In this same vein, you can easily turn this Move into a complex. For example, instead of 6 (1+1) reps, we could do 6 squats and then 6 presses, or (6+6) reps. Or let’s say you wanted to work on your push press more than your squat. Something like (3+6) reps would work, too. The possibilities are endless.

Set up with your shoulders underneath a racked barbell, with your elbows up and your fingers cradling the barbell outside shoulder-width. The barbell should be set across the “shelf” on your shoulders. Unrack the barbell and walk out of the rack. Set up in a straight, tall start position with your feet in your squat stance, inhale to set your core tight, and perform a squat by spreading the floor and sitting between your feet. Drive up into a standing position, reset, and pause to prepare for the push press. Dip down by bending the knees, and use your legs to drive the bar up off your shoulders and into an overhead position with the arms locked out and in line with your head. This leg drive should power the bar past the first half phase of the press, while your upper body finishes the lift. Catch the bar on your shoulders and reset as necessary for the next rep.

If you are looking for a new challenge, this Move of the Week can help! Let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !

by Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau Halevy Life Staff CoachJeremy Lau is a Staff Coach at Halevy Life.

Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. 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.