Smith Front Squat (Clean Grip)

Smith Front Squat (Clean Grip)

The Smith front squat with a clean grip is a compound exercise that primarily targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It is a variation of the traditional front squat, but utilizing the Smith machine provides added stability and control. To perform this exercise, you would start by standing inside the Smith machine with the bar positioned at shoulder height. Step forward and position yourself under the bar, ensuring that it rests on the front of your shoulders, just in front of your neck. Your elbows should be parallel to the floor, and your hands gripping the bar with an overhand grip, similar to the clean grip used in Olympic weightlifting. Maintain a firm grip on the bar and begin the movement by bending your hips and knees, as if sitting back into a chair. Keep your chest up, core engaged, and your knees tracking in line with your toes. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or as far as you can comfortably go while maintaining proper form. Once you reach the bottom position, pause for a moment and then drive through your heels to push the weight back up. Exhale as you extend your hips and knees, returning to the starting position. The Smith front squat with a clean grip is a challenging exercise that can help you build strength and size in your lower body while improving your overall lower body stability. Adding this exercise to your workout routine can contribute to increased muscle development and functional fitness. Remember to always start with lighter weights and gradually progress as you become more comfortable with the movement.


  • Begin by adjusting the height of the Smith machine bar to your shoulder level.
  • Stand in front of the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Position your body under the bar, so it rests on your anterior deltoids (shoulders) and upper chest.
  • Grasp the bar with a clean grip: thumbs should be hooked around the bar, and fingers should be placed over it.
  • Unrack the bar by straightening your legs and lifting it off the rack. Take a step back and position your feet hip-width apart.
  • Brace your core, engage your glutes, and keep your chest up throughout the exercise.
  • Begin the squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back to lower your body down. Aim to go as low as your flexibility allows, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Maintain control and stability throughout the movement.
  • Once you've reached the desired depth, push through your heels and extend your knees and hips to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.

Tips & Tricks

  • Ensure proper form by keeping your back straight and core engaged throughout the entire exercise.
  • Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the load as your form and strength improve.
  • Pay attention to your breathing. Inhale as you lower the barbell and exhale as you push it back up.
  • Warm up your hips and ankles before starting the exercise to improve flexibility.
  • Maintain a controlled and slow tempo during the movement to maximize muscle activation.
  • Avoid locking out your knees at the top of the movement to keep tension on the muscles.
  • Incorporate variations of the front squat, such as paused reps or single-leg variations, to challenge your muscles in different ways.
  • Include mobility exercises for your wrists and shoulders to improve your grip and barbell position.
  • Fuel your body with adequate protein and carbohydrates to support muscle growth and recovery.
  • Listen to your body and take necessary rest days to prevent overtraining and reduce the risk of injury.


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