Checklist To a Good Front Rack Position
Having a good front rack position is key for any athlete to safely and effectively complete a front squat or Olympic weightlifting movement. The set up is just as important as the lift itself! Proper form and technique on your front rack position will have you working more efficiently and effectively! Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your front rack position.
- First thing we need to do getting into a front rack position is simple. Grab the bar. Width should be at least slightly outside the shoulders. Wider front racks can be advantageous for certain lifters but does require more shoulder external rotation and forearm pronation.
- Ideally hands are grasped fully around the bar, but still loose so that the bar weight is resting on the shoulders. If this is not attainable, as many fingers around the bar as possible to ensure a stable position without further compensation.
Bar Placement On Shoulders:
- The bar should lie on the front of the shoulders, resting close to the throat, but not too far that you can’t breathe. The bar should be able to rest on the shoulders with no hand involvement (zombie squat). If the bar is too far forwards, it will tend to roll forwards and place excessive demand on the back extensors/wrists to maintain an upright position.
Thoracic Spine Extension:
- The thoracic spine (mid-back) should be upright/straight to best allow the shoulders to get into proper position for the barbell to rest on. A mid-back that is too rounded forwards will decrease the ROM of the shoulders with the barbell over-resting on the wrists/hands and tendency to roll forwards.
- The shoulder blades should be protracted meaning they should wrap around the ribcage slightly as opposed to being pulled back. Doing so allows the shoulder blades to be stable and creates more room for the bar to sit on the front of the shoulders. Second, it is generally a natural reflex to slightly elevate the shoulder blades to support the weight of the bar. This is important to decrease the pressure on the carotid artery which, if happens, will quickly make you faint. Not ideal being under a barbell.
Avoid Lumbar Hyperextension:
- Over-extending your low back is a common compensation for rounded forward shoulders or lack of thoracic spine extension. Doing so balances the system, but does nothing to enhance performance and active stability. We want a neutral lumbar spine (slight extension) braced with active stability using the entire core. If you are feeling your low back light up every time you get into a front rack, this could be the culprit.
Download our Fix Your Front Rack Checklist today!
At Kinetic Sports Medicine and Performance we help both competitive athletes and recreational athletes participate in their sports and activity without pain! If you are a weightlifter or fitness athlete that is dealing with pain or injury, contact us today to set up a free consultation!