The front rack position is a position used frequently in weightlifting. It is a position that many struggle with. In fact, in most athletes, the front rack position is more of a struggle than the lift itself!!! This leads to poor form and therefore injury.
So.. how should the front rack position look?
Let’s quickly run through what your ideal front rack position looks like.
The front rack position is attained by optimal length and mobility of a number of structures. This includes; wrist extension, elbow flexion, shoulder flexion and external rotation and thoracic extension. See it’s not that easy!
So, here is what it looks like, generally speaking:
- All fingers under the bar and your thumb gripping the opposite side
- Bar rests across the upper pecs, front delts and palm of the hand
- Keep the chest lifted without flaring the ribcage
- Elbows are high (approximately shoulder height) and driving forward
How to improve your front rack position
To hold the barbell properly and perform your lifts correctly, you will need to work on a few things in terms of strength and mobility. These exercises will help you build strength and reduce the chance of injury while weightlifting.
Try these if you need help improving your front rack mobility.
1: Wrist Walks
Place your hands flat on the wall, fingers pointing to the ceiling and your elbows straight. Then walk your hands down the wall aiming for the lowest point. You must complete this without your palm coming off the wall. Once you cannot walk your hands down any further without significantly increasing your palms, flip your hands so your fingers are facing down. Slowly walk your hands back upwards as far as you can. Repeat for 2 minutes
2: Wrist mobilisation
You have two options here:
- Hand on the table facing your other hand. Use opposite hand to grab around the wrist crease, this hand now does not move. Pull your first hand away from the table and slowly make your shoulder travel across your fingers as far as you can. Hold each stretch for 7-10 seconds and repeat both sides
- Banded wrist extension: wrap a band around the rig. Pop the band around the crease in your wrist and crawl away from the rig. When there is a good amount of tension, slowly push your shoulder over your fingers as far as you are comfortable. Hold for 5-10 seconds repeating 10 times and repeat both sides
3: Finger lifts
While on your hands and knees, keep the heel of your hand on the floor. Lift your fingers up off the ground. Hold for 3 seconds, repeat 10 times on each side
4: Thoracic extension over roller
Start with the roller at shoulder height across your back, keeping your bottom on the ground lean backwards over the roller keeping your elbows as close together as possible. Hold this position for three breaths and return to the start position. Repeat three times at this level. Roll the roller down by a few centimetres and repeat. Continue this until you reach the lowest part of your ribs.
5: External rotation stretch in front rack position
Stand holing a stick and move your arm into front rack position with the stick behind your shoulder. Gently rotate the arm out using the bottom hand to assist the motion. Once a stretch or limitation is felt, hold 3-5 seconds. No pain shoulder be felt in this stretch
6: Lat and Teres Major Stretch
Set up a box and kneel in front of it. Hold your stick in your hands and put your elbows on the box. As you feel comfortable, push your armpits to the floor while trying to pull the stick as close to your shoulder blades as you can. Hold this for 3-5 minutes. As you feel comfortable push into the stretch more.
These exercises address the common areas of restriction we see in clinic. You might or might not find you don’t need to work on all of these exercises.
Let us know how you go!
If you need any more help make sure you book your appointment HERE or give us a call on (02) 4880 1622.
Written by Anouska Symons (Senior Physiotherapist & Women’s Health Physiotherapist)