Featured Exercise: Frankenstein Squat

Jul 24, 2019

The Frankenstein squat is a hidden gem of an exercise I wish more people knew about.

I love this squat variation as it ingrains the right movement patterns with minimal to no compensation.

The nature of this exercise ‘forces’ the lifter into the best position needed to get the job done, while also activating the anterior core musculature – muscles which play a huge role in the execution of the front squat.

Having the bar in the correct position is key for success in this lift. You should be able to place the bar above your chest, as it meets your shoulders, in a way that neither chokes you nor places the bar too far down your arms

Once in that position, and assuming you meet the required mobility and stability demands of the movement, you should be able to lower into a squat with a straight, vertical bar path.

Easier said than done, of course. A simple cue I use with clients is to squeeze both hands into tight fists (this is actually a cue I use in many other exercises as well): the tension generated by the fists irradiate to other areas of the body, mainly the trunk, which needs as much tension as it can generate to maintain proper posture.

If you’re hesitant, try this out in a squat rack with the safety pins set to just past your bottom position in the squat.

This lift is best performed as a primer for heavy front squats, or as a low-intensity supplementary lift for practicing correct squatting technique.


  • Unrack the bar as you normally would for a front squat, with the barbell sitting across your deltoids.
  • Once in position, let go of the bar by stretching your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Squeeze both hands into tight fists. Brace and try to create and maintain as much pressure through your midsection as possible.
  • Initiate the movement by breaking at both the hips and the knees. Lower into the bottom position in a slow and controlled fashion.
  • Squat back up and repeat for 6-10 reps.

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About The Author

Barbara M.

Barbara is a strength coach for females looking to get stronger, both online and in person at Barbell Strength. Her primary focus is to help clients increase general strength and improve body composition through coaching that meets each client where they’re at. Click here to find out more about working with Barbara.