As we all know, Barbell squatting is one of the best if not the best exercises there is. Squatting is something everyone should do. Both back and front squatting are both exceptional exercises, and everyone will benefit from doing both (let’s not have a back vs front squat debate now).
Back squatting is simple enough with a rack and a barbell, the bars easy to lock and stays pretty solid on your back throughout every set.
Effective front squatting is difficult. You have the option of the clean grip, folded arm grip or using straps. I have tried all of them, and for me, they all sucked, ok on lightweights, but as soon as the weight gets heavy, the bar quickly falls out of position prematurely ending the set.
So what about if you want to get stronger on the front squat? All the grips are ineffective for most. The clean grip kills your wrists, the bar always rolls off your delts with the folded arm grip, and the straps didn’t work.
Here is what does work for Front Squatting the Robert Baraban Front Squat Harness (click for prices & availability)
Types Of Front Squat Harness
The front squat harness is available in two kinds.
- Standard Front Squat Harness
- Front Squat Zercher Harness
The harness is made from solid flat iron with thick foam on the underside. The harness is adjustable widen it to fit thicker people and shorten it to fit thinner people.
The standard Harnesses are available in one size while the front squat Zercher harnesses are available in medium and large sizes. The medium size is for people up to 100kg, and the large sizes are for people over 100kg.
The standard front squat harness has single pins and fits chest sizes up to 47 inches and takes loads of up to 200 kg. A 200kg front squat for reps is an incredibly good lift for most people.
The front squat Zercher harness has 3 sets of pins, 2 for front squatting and one for Zercher squats. This harness will take loads of up to 500kg robust enough to serve elite level strongmen.
Available in silver or black.
Advantages Of The Front Squat Harness
The Front Squat harness instantly worked for me locking the bar in position and staying there throughout the set. No more wrist injuries, no more bar rolling off the delts the harness has allowed me to make rapid increases in the front squat, which has transferred into a better back squat also.
The harness is also incredibly safe if you fail at the bottom it’s easy to flip the harness forward and dump the bar on the power rack pins.
Once you get used to getting under the bar wearing the harness unracking the weight is incredibly easy and safe also.
The pins are rubberised to prevent the steel from scratching the bar.
Disadvantages Of The Front Squat Harness
The front squat harness will knock the wind out of you slightly. The standard harness is not as bad as the Zercher harness as it’s smaller and doesn’t push into your stomach.
Due to the nature of the exercise the bar rests on a narrow base, so needs careful setting up for the levelling of the bar and may feel uneven at times. This is not a design fault; it’s just the way front squatting is performed.
The shape makes for awkward storage, can’t be hung anywhere, I leave mine in the corner on the gym floor.
What Front Squat Harness To Buy?
I went for the standard Front Squat Harness a 200kg capacity is large enough for me, and if I outgrow it, I’ll buy the larger front squat Zercher harness. I didn’t need the Zercher feature as holding the bar in your elbows is never a problem anyway. There were none available in the UK at the time I ordered from Austria and received the harness in under a week.
The standard harness is ideal for lifters below 100kg. It’s only supposed to go up to a 47-inch chest. I weigh 95 kilos and have a 48.5-inch chest and while the harness feels snug it still works well and I feel it will fit bigger chests as well.
If you’re below 100kg buy the standard harness or the medium zercher harness. Above 100kg the standard harness or medium zercher will work for you if your chest is below 50inches otherwise buy the large zercher front squat harness.
A solid piece of equipment that’ll last you a long time.