Improve Your Front Rack Position

Emily Beers

Coach

Vancouver, Canada

Coaching

Does being in the front rack position cause you to make an ugly pain face?

 

Does it feel like one person is breaking your wrists, while another is aggressively pinching your shoulders when you're in the front rack? Does your back suddenly tighten up? You are not alone.

 

 

While there’s always the option to simply avoid the front rack position with a barbell (dumbbells can easily be substituted for pretty much any barbell movement) but you’re determined to keep on with those front squats, cleans, thrusters, and front rack lunges, you can help yourself out a lot by adding a few things to your warm-up.

 

Not only will taking the time to warm-up your front rack help open you up and mitigate the discomfort you feel, it will also go a long way in getting you into a better position during the movements themselves, which might even help you lift a few more pounds.

 

Below are five warm-up drills to help open your front rack position.

 

Fix Your Front Rack Drill #1: Prone Bench Stretch

On your knees facing the ground, place your elbows on a bench. Straighten out your arms with your palms to the sky. Then, keeping a neutral spine, push your face through your arms and toward the ground. From there, bend your elbows until your fingers touch your shoulders and then straighten your arms back out again, all the while keeping a neutral spine.

 

Spend one to two minutes on this stretch in your warm-up.

 

 

Fix Your Front Rack Drill #2: Wrist Extension Stretch

There are various ways to stretch your wrists, but a simple one is to kneel down and put your palms flat on the ground in front of you with your fingers facing your body and the outside of your wrists facing forward. Then, oscillate back and forth, stretching your wrists a little further each time.

Spend one minute on this stretch in warm-up.

 

 

Fix Your Front Rack Drill #3: Barbell Wrist Extension Stretch

Place the barbell on your back, and then drive one elbow at a time as high as you can. As you’re doing this, make sure you keep your ribcage down (avoid spinal extension) and your butt cheeks squeezed as hard as you can while focusing on tilting your pelvis up.

 

 

You’ll feel a deeper stretch if you keep the barbell in the palm of your hands, as opposed to rolling it into your fingertips like you do during a front squat.

 

Do 2 sets of 10 reps on each arm in your warm-up.

 

 

Fix Your Front Rack Drill #4: Lat Stretch

Though you might think it’s your wrists that are the problem, sometimes your lats are also playing a role in limiting your front rack position.

 

To stretch your lats, drop into a lunge next to a post and reach across your body with your outside arm and grab the post above your head. Place the other hand on the post just below. Then lean off the post and into your lat until you feel a deep, but not painful, stretch.

 

Spend one minute per lat in your warm-up.

 

 

Fix Your Front Rack Drill #5: Scapula Push-Ups

Scapular control is needed to develop a more stable rack position, and scapula push-ups are a good starting place for developing this control.

 

Assume the top of a push-up position and simply squeeze your shoulder blades together and then pull them apart, trying to get as much range of motion in your scapula as you can. If it’s too challenging on your toes, then drop to your knees instead.

 

Add 2 sets of 10 to your warm-up.

 

 

Put These Drills to Practice

Adding all of the above to your warm-up before a training session only adds 6 to 8 minutes to your day, and might just make all the difference in eliminating physical discomfort and improving your performance. Take the time.

 

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