Check Out That Rack!

Easy, perverts. I'm talking about front squats here. I doubt I'm going out on a limb when I say that a lot of you probably have a poor rack position. It's a very common problem for CrossFitters, especially those of us that come from the Globo Gym arena with limited flexibility from hours upon hours of bench pressing. But this isn't a problem without a solution, unlike the problem that is Lindsey Lohan, for which there is no solution whatsoever. If we work to improve our rack position, we will not only be able to front squat more comfortably, but we'll be able to lift more weight, clean more safely, and do thrusters far more efficiently. So let's get started...

This is my friend Jess and she is a yoga instructor. It's likely that not a whole lot of you can hold a PVC pipe with your arms completely parallel to the ground like this. You probably need 45lbs or more just to get that bar resting on your shoulders. Jess demonstrates incredible flexibility here. Below I'm going to describe some techniques and stretches you can do to improve your own rack position.

1) Foam Roll your thoracic spine, especially before sets of front squats, cleans, thrusters, push presses, jerks, and so on. For more, read this post from Kelly Starrett. To effectively foam roll your T-spine, you can use the basic method or you can perform thoracic extensions:

You know what would work best? Doing both!

2) Stretch your triceps, lats, and chest. Many people assume a poor rack position is an effect of poor wrist flexibility. While tight wrists play a role, there are other contributing factors to consider. Now, refer to this other post from Kelly Starrett. He's much smarter than me.

3) Stretch you hip flexors and hamstrings. All. Day. Long. The majority of us sit at desk jobs for 8+ hours a day. And it sucks. Our hips and hamstrings are constantly closed and dying to be stretched out and opened up. Stretching these muscles groups will improve all aspects of CrossFit, from force production to range of motion to good ol' flexibility. For effective ways to stretch all of the above-mentioned muscle groups, refer to stretches listed in this article by Mike Robertson.

4) Subscribe to the CrossFit Journal and watch/read anything and everything with Kelly Starrett. Like this third article I will link to. Can anyone guess if I'm a K-Starr fan?

5) The most important point that I hope everyone already knows is this: during a front squat, the bars rests on your shoulders - not in your hands! Please refer to the below picture...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Quint! That was a helpful and timely post for me. A DC gym should sponsor a mobility seminar, with either Starrett or someone quite like him.