The front rack position is crucial for proper form and mobility, as well as safety and easier attempts, at the front squat, clean, and thrusters. This position though takes time and focused energy to build. Several muscles groups are involved and require attention to be trained into submission.
I have noticed recently throughout the box that a number of our athletes struggle with getting their elbows high enough, and the barbell to rest on their torso. Good on you if you feel strong enough to hold that barbell with your hands and arms under tension long enough to perform a front squat, but imagine how much more weight you could manage if your torso supported the weight and your arms were not struggling.
To achieve a great front rack position, you need a few muscles to be limber enough to get there: lats, triceps, and back of the deltoid.
Now a few stretches to loosen up those muscles.
Grab a light band – at Nika, that would be the red band. Step into the band, securing it under your foot. Using a couple fingers (same hand as foot), hook into the band, dip down, and move your hand and arm into the front rack position. Now stand to full height, allowing your elbow to raise up in the air as the band pulls your hand down to your shoulder. You should feel some tricep pull, maybe a little lat if you’re tight enough there. Hold for a minute on each side.
You can also go to the rig, stand about a foot or two away, raise your elbow into the same position, and lean against the rig. Maintain a tight core to support your midline in this position, and you should get more stretch in the lat and a little in the tricep.
Set a barbell up on the rig at height for you, walk under as if you were to lift it, but don’t. Get both hands into front rack position, loosen one grip/position while pushing the opposite elbow up as high as possible. Relax that arm and push the other elbow up. Rotate between stretching each side for a few minutes.
You may have seen another athlete twist their arm and a PVC into an odd spider web of sorts – this is another great opportunity to improve your front rack position. Ask a coach to demo how.
If you have wrist pain in the front rack, there are more than likely two causes. One, your body is not used to being in this position, but with time and practice, it will adjust. Two, your elbows are not high enough to release the weight from straining against your wrists. Improve your mobility, and the pain should go away.
In health, Coach Diane