(Front squat, Press, Cleans, Thrusters…and more)
The Front Rack position, for many, can be a challenge and can be associated with a number of different areas in the upper body that may be tight. To have a good Front Rack position you need to be mobile through the shoulder joint, lats (those guys again!) and mid back.
A good Front rack position:
– High elbows: arms should be horizontal with your elbows pointing directly forwards without having to arch the back to achieve this
– Bar should be able to rest on the shelf of your shoulders created the muscles on the front of the shoulders (deltoids)
– Hands just outside shoulder width with a lose grip but all 4 fingers under the bar
A good Front Rack position is important because….
– The chest stays high and tension through the body makes squatting and pressing easier and more efficient
– It prevents putting unnecessary pressure through the wrists
– Elbows high ensures there is no contact is made with the knees which is vital to avoid injury
If you find the Front Rack position challenging or would simply like to improve it try following these 4 stretches – hold each one for a minute and repeat twice through.
Kneeling or standing, rest your elbows on a box, bend the elbows and allow your hands to meet and rest at the base of your neck. Relax the head and allow it to fall through the gap. Pushing your chest down towards the floor will increase the stretch. You should feel this through the chest and into the armpit and lats.
Stand on a band, loop your had though the band, turn your arm over and raise the elbow. Standing upright, keeping the core tight and squeezing the glutes, allow the arm to relax and the band to pull the arm back. Try to avoid resisting the pull of the band or twisting away from it. Do this for 1 minute on each side in each round. You should feel this through the back of your arm.
Take a bar and rest it on your back. Keeping a firm grip with one hand and a loose grip with the other, drive the elbow of the hand with lose grip forward and up. You can either hold each side for 1 minute or you can switch from one arm to the other every few seconds. Regardless of which option you choose, aim to get the elbows a little higher with each change or as the minute ticks by. You should feel this through the wrists, forearm, back of your arm and into your lats.
Kneeling down with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders, rotate the hands out and round until your fingers are pointing towards your knees. Keeping the palms flat, lean back and sit on to your heels. You should feel this through your wrists and possibly into the thumb.
Performing this mobility routine, especially before any movements requiring the Front Rack position, will pay off! It will take you a maximum of 12 minutes to do it properly and if you can dedicate a little time 3-4 times a week you will see significant improvements in your mobility in a few short weeks.