The Front Rack is a position often utilized in CrossFit and is definitely required if you have Weightlifting ambitions. If you are into barbell training the front rack is a fundamental shape, that when achieved, can be a building block to establish many quality barbell movements, including the Front Squat, Cleans, Presses, Push Presses and Jerks.
Before the boys discuss fixing your front rack they talk about the recent flooding in Columbia SC where Coach Joe lives.
The front rack discussion first begins with why and how folks experience poor positioning with this shape and why limited positioning with this shape can negatively affect your performance. In particular we see limitation in the ability of an athlete to get into an optimal front rack because of over development of upper body musculature, limited external rotation and flexion in the shoulder.
According to Dr. Danny, the two areas of focus should be the shoulder and the thoracic spine. If your T-Spine is so lacking in ROM and a safe front rack cannot be achieved, athletes should look to the goblet squat. To break up areas of restriction in the T-Spine it’s also a good to promote extension by laying on a lax ball and getting some downward pressure. Joe also mentions Donnie Thompson’s tempering to strengthen the back and a way to gain neutrality in the spine. Dr. Danny counters with a discussion about paying attention to the rib cage and diaphragm.
The conversation then moves to the shoulder. In order to have a quality front rack your shoulder needs to do two things, flexion (bringing your arm straight up in front of you) and externally rotation (turning your palm up). When your shoulders have both of these movements you can not only take a wider grip with the bar, but when you receive the bar in the clean you are able to carry the load throughout the shoulder and chest, not hold the bar in your hands.
The boys continue their discussion about grip width and why taking a wider grip is more optimal but why you may want hold off to save your elbows.
Danny and Joe then provide insight on how to achieve more external rotation pre workout. Danny believes the best mobility drills look like the exercise you are trying to achieve. Joe then discusses using PNF as a means to gain positioning pre workout.
The segment is concluded with a discussion addressing why self maintenance is so important. Being aware of your body's needs is cheaper, quicker, and you end up learning more about yourself through the struggle.
Joe then end the conversation explaining why he advises novice athletes to work their front racks with an open palm. In Joe’s mind the benefit is forcing the athlete to utilize their legs to move the bar overhead, not the hands.
Check out these videos of techniques discussed in the episode.
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Dr. Danny and Dr. Jackie's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.