Today’s blog post is all about the front rack position, and 4 of our favorite drills that you can use to improve your front rack position for your front squats, cleans, and thrusters!
When we’re talking about a good front rack position, we need four key mobility requisites in order to get ourselves into a good position. We need adequate wrist extension, elbow flexion, shoulder flexion, and shoulder external rotation. If you’re really lacking in one of these motions, it can limit the quality of your front rack position, and you can have trouble doing exercises that require you to have a good front rack position.
So today I’m going to show you four drills that cover all four of those areas and will allow you to improve your front rack positioning for your training.
The first drill is a quadruped wrist extension mobilization. This will take care of the wrist extension component of the front rack position. To perform this mobilization, you’re going to get on all fours on your hands and knees with your fingers pointing in front of you, and you’re slowly going to rock your body over your fingers. You can either hold this position for a 30 second stretch, or you can rock back and forth to do mobilizations. It doesn’t matter which style you prefer to do, as both are very effective at improving wrist mobility.
The second drill that we’re going to do is a banded shoulder flexion mobilization, or as it is commonly called, a band tricep stretch. This drill will help take care of the shoulder flexion component of the front rack. To do this drill, you’re going to grab a thicker Rogue band, or other similar looped resistance band, place it around a squat rack low to the ground, and then you are going to take a couple steps away from the squat rack and turn around to face away from it. After this, you’re going to lift your elbow up while standing in place and not allowing your chest to really arch up towards the ceiling. Just like with the wrist extension mobilization, you can hold this for a 30 second long duration stretch, or you can move up and down with the elbow to do some end range mobilizations. Both will be very effective.
The third drill that we’re going to cover today is a shoulder PVC pipe external rotation stretch or mobilization. This drill will help shoulder flexion a little bit, but will mainly help with shoulder external rotation so that you can get your hands a little bit wider in your front rack. To do this drill, you’re just going to grab a PVC pipe, hold it in the hand that you want to perform the stretch/mobilization and raise that arm up, so that your shoulder is at a 90 degree angle with the PVC pipe resting along the outside edge of your forearm. And then all you’re going to do is use your other hand to grab the bottom portion of the PVC pipe, pull it towards and across the midline. From here, you can either hold it for a 30 seconds long duration stretch, or like the other drills, you can pull back and forth to do a little bit of end range oscillatory work.
The fourth and final drill that we’re going to go over today is a front rack support hold. In my opinion, this is the most important drill to perform, and the one that will give you the most bang for your buck. And that’s because it is the most specific to the front rack because it is the front rack! So for this drill, what I typically do is have people load a weight on the bar that’s a little bit heavier than the one rep max front squat. They go up and out of the rack, and then they hold the front rack position for about 10 seconds to start. I usually have my clients do four to five reps at first. And instead of adding weight to progress this drill, I typically have people add a time to the duration of the hold. So typically people will start at four to five reps of 10 seconds, and I will have people work up to 30 to 45 second holds at one time. This is because spending more time in that position is ultimately what’s going to help you improve the front rack the most, whereas adding extra weight won’t necessarily do that. That extra weight is there just to give you a counterpoint to get into a good front rack position and adding extra weight on top doesn’t really add any further benefit to that.