Proper front rack setup is very important for so many of the things we do in CrossFit. Front squats, thrusters, jerks and presses all require slightly different variations of a solid front rack.
Unfortunately, mobility issues make achieving a good front rack a challenge for a lot of athletes. Today I want to discuss some things you can do to improve your front rack mobility and setup.
First of all, let’s define what makes a great front rack: barbell resting across the tops of our front shoulders; a full five-finger grip on the barbell with our hands outside the shoulders and our elbows between our shoulders and our hands; elbows raised enough so that our triceps are perpendicular to the ground.
The ability to maintain each of these front rack points of performance requires adequate wrist, lat, and triceps mobility. I often hear people complain of wrist pain in the front rack. The answer to these complaints is almost never wrist wraps. 99% of the time the cause of wrist pain in the front rack is inadequate flexibility of the lats.
Make it a habit to spend some time each day working on lat mobility. Banded lat stretches, lat foam rolling, bench thoracic spine stretches, heavy front rack holds, and lat eccentrics are just a few of the things you can do that will help your front rack. The key is to make these exercises a regular part of your day. Mobility is like compound interest. Even a little bit at a time will eventually add up.
*image credit @beyondthewhiteboard
Now let’s talk about elbow position in the front rack. Imagine a clock circling your body from the middle of your chest to the top of your head. Where we want our elbows to point on that clock face depends on the lift we’re performing. For presses we want them pointing at 5 o’clock, for jerks we want 4 o’clock, and for front squats we want 3 o’clock.
If you’d like some more detailed instruction about how to improve your front rack, let one of your coaches know.
In the meantime, remember these tips the next time you have to use your front rack and see if they help!