How many fingers should be on the bar when you front squat? The answer depends largely on your flexibility. When new members start front squatting I assess their mobility restrictions and often tell them to use a two finger grip when front squatting. This allows elbows to be in good position and to get the bar on their shoulders instead of in their hands. However, I also tell new members, while I tell you this is correct today I reserve the right to tell you something different in 30, 60, or 90 days. This is because learning with two fingers may be the easiest but it doesn’t mean it’s the best way to hold a bar when front squatting.
As seen in the pictures above of world class weightlifters, Mattie Rogers and Dmitry Klokov, actually having a four finger grip is something you should aim for. This is because you want to activate your thoracic spine musculature when front squatting as much as possible. You don’t often miss a front squat because the weight is too heavy for your legs to squat. If we put the same weight on your back, squatting it would be no problem. The issue is losing your posture and leaning forward; the bar moves too far forward of your center of mass and you miss the lift. Activation of your thoracic spine musculature helps to maintain your upright posture.
If you have been a two finger gripper for a long time I can promise you this change will feel odd. However, if you have the flexibility to grip the bar across your calluses for the entire movement I highly recommend making the change to improve your front squat long term. If your flexibility limits you to two fingers that is okay but please realize you should be improving your mobility and striving to improve your grip.
Watch the following video from former Olympic gold medalist, Aleskey Torokhtiy, for a brief discussion and demo of the front squat. Make sure to turn the subtitles on!