On June 27, 2022, Olympic weightlifter Kate Vibert (formerly Katherine Nye) recorded a 162-kilogram (356-pound) front squat during a training session. According to the Team USA athlete — who most recently competed at 76 kilograms — the front squat rep is a new personal record (PR) by two kilograms (4.4 pounds). Vibert wore a lifting belt and knee wraps while capturing this strength feat.
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Vibert’s display of her front squat prowess comes on the heels of another staggering squat, albeit of a different variation. In late April 2022, the American weightlifter scored a 186-kilogram (410-pound) back squat for another PR.
As a weightlifter, Vibert doesn’t have to specifically focus on the front squat (which generally isn’t a part of formal strength sports competitions) or the back squat. As a result, that might make her display of leg power even more noteworthy.
In her Instagram post, Vibert referenced her coach Spencer Arnold after capturing the new top front squat.
“… Always ask for forgiveness and not permission,” Vibert wrote. “I apologize [Spencer Arnold], but ya girl made it happen, so you can’t be too mad.”
Arnold officially began working as Vibert’s coach in March 2021. Several months later, in her first-ever Olympics, Arnold helped Vibert capture a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Front Squat Olympic Connection
While the front squat isn’t a competition lift in weightlifting, it has direct carry over to the snatch and clean & jerk (the two competition lifts). Not only does a quality front squat help with the eventual lockout of the clean movement in the clean & jerk, but it can also help stabilize the back muscles and improve posture when pulling from the floor.
Vibert won’t have to deploy an official front squat in any of her competitions, but it makes sense that she finds time to train it, given its potential translation to her primary movements. A robust front squat could assist Vibert as she continues to push for new heights during her professional career.
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Much of Vibert’s current training is part of her ongoing preparation for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. As the International Olympic Committee (IOC) moves to reorganize its weight classes for that competition — in turn dissolving the 76-kilogram division — Vibert has stated she will compete at her past category of 71 kilograms moving forward.
The American athlete has plenty of time to prepare for her next Olympics as the Paris edition is still roughly two years away. In all its forms, her squat training might be a part of another outstanding achievement in the future.
Featured image: @katevibert on Instagram