The front squat is a great variation for clients who want to change things up in their training routine. The front squat is particularly important for those who perform olympic weightlifting, as it is a prerequisite that we use to ensure clients can get into correct positions. However, the front squat can be challenging for those who have had previous upper body injuries, or just have limitations from a mobility standpoint to get into the full front rack position. In this article, we’re going to discuss how to best improve your ability to get into a proper front rack position to improve your ability to efficiently perform the front squat!
Improving Joint By Joint Tolerance
When looking at the front rack position, you can break down each joint to see if that is the main limiting factor as to why they can’t get into certain positions. The front rack position requires adequate wrist extension, elbow bending, shoulder blade movement, and upper back mobility to get into proper position. Here’s some basic mobility drills we’ll give clients if they struggle with certain limitations based on the region of the body.
The ability to extend the wrist is a point of contention for a lot of people who struggle with the front rack position. Not only does wrist extension help, but working on wrist extension in multiple planes can be beneficial. Try this wrist circle exercise to help get those wrists moving!
Elbow & Shoulder Blades
This exercise kills two birds with one stone addressing both elbow bending and also the ability for the shoulder blade to be able to move around the ribcage adequately. Being able to get these areas moving will be able to create that shelf-like position properly when in a front rack position.
In order for you to maintain an upright torso as you go into a front squat, your upper back becomes a key area to really try and focus on. Unfortunately we have a tendency to favor flexed positions throughout the day which makes it challenging to get the upper back to extend into good positions. Try this thoracic extension over foam roller exercise to get that upper back moving!
Integrating All The Movements
After doing all the individual drills for each body part, this is another great exercise to help incorporate all the movements that are involved with getting into the front squat position. Utilize a band to your advantage and get that wrist and elbow moving as best as possible with this movement!
At the end of the day, spending more time in a front rack position can go a long way in helping you improve your tolerance to that position. We can do all the correctives, mobility drills, etc, but ultimately the best way to get better at something is to spend more time doing that activity! While this provides a lot of straight forward solutions, don’t forget that joints and tissue adapt to the position you want to put them in, if you spend more time being in that position!