How To Improve Your Front Rack Position

The front rack position is incredibly important for many foundational movement patterns, exercises, lifts, and sports activities. When individuals have shoulder pain with overhead pressing, front squatting, or because of this position it is typically overlooked and underrated because it seems like it should be pretty simple.

The challenge with this position is that there are multiple areas of the body that can cause dysfunction, limitation, and shoulder pain with the front rack position. One typically will experience shoulder pain in the front or “top” of the shoulder but the real problem could be the upper back, the lat muscle, lack of shoulder rotation, lack of elbow and/or wrist mobility.

One common finding that we see with many of the individuals we work with involved with CrossFit or lifting in general is a lack of shoulder rotation specific to the front rack position. This limitation can specifically lead to altered positioning and increased stress and pain in the shoulder with pressing and the front rack hold.

The type of rotation that the shoulder requires is a combined movement of shoulder external rotation and flexion. Lack of ability to get into this position will alter your performance with the front rack, front squats, pressing, etc. It also can cause compensations into the low back, hips, knees, and neck. Thus, a simple dysfunction or limitation can wreak havoc on other parts of the body when performing this position for reps, heavy load, or when under fatigue.

Wondering how your positioning holds up here and if you’re likely to have shoulder pain with CrossFit and other activities? This self assessment below is a great place to start to determine your ability to get into this key position…

Not being able to get into this position or having pain with this test would indicate that you may have a difficult time getting the position that you need to hold a barbell the traditional way across your shoulders in the front rack position. But it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck like this forever…

Here is a simple mobility drill you can start to work on to improve said position and use as a warm up before those workouts where the front rack position will be heavily required.

Now that you understand the importance of shoulder mobility for this commonly used position, hopefully you can move forward with confidence that you either have the appropriate prerequisites to continue to master the lifts and movements from here or you now know how to improve upon any limitations you have.

Of course, it doesn’t just end with mobility. If you find that you have adequate mobility but you still are not feeling confident in this position or you still have shoulder pain with lifting from here, then it would be important to next check your stability.

Stability of the shoulder blades and the shoulder complex will help you to appropriately move weight from this position without over-stressing or compensating anywhere that would lead to shoulder pain with CrossFit down the road.

If you should have more questions, concerns, or limitations about any shoulder mobility issues or difficulty with certain movements and lifts then you may be an excellent candidate for our free discovery session. This is a consult of which we can answer any questions you have about your frustrations and begin to get to the root cause of why you may be struggling more than you’d like.

You can apply for a free discovery session here…