A front rack position—in which you rest a bar on your fingertips with your elbows pointed forward— is necessary for moves like hang cleans and front squats. It also reinforces proper posture, since you’re forced to stay upright, says Tim Robinson, C.S.C.S., head strength coach at Illinois College. Most lack the wrist and shoulder mobility to properly pull it off, though, which leads to lackluster form. Below, we fix your front rack.

The Problem

The mere thought of having your elbows up and extending your wrists back leaves you anxious and dreading the pain associated with it, leading you to say, “Screw front squats, I’ll just hop on the leg press instead.” That’s an issue, since front squats are generally safer compared with the spine-compressing, back-loaded version.

The Cause

Simply put: You lack the shoulder and wrist mobility and make no effort to fix it. As a result, you skip over all front-rack-related moves, and your body never gets used to the position. (And inactivity is never the answer.)


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The Fix

Ease into the position by slowly practicing it—rush into it and your body won’t allow it. Then nail the proper shoulder and wrist positioning with the stretches at right. Soon you’ll have a picture-perfect front rack position.

Fix Your Form

Bench Thoracic Extension:

  • Get on your knees and place your elbows on a bench.
  • Push your chest toward the floor as far as you can in a pain-free range of motion and exhale.
  • Relax back to the starting position and repeat 10 times.

Floor Wrist Flexion and Extension:

  • Get on your knees and press your palms into the floor.
  • Flip your hands around so the backs of your hands are now on the floor.
  • Slowly rock back and forth to increase the stretch.
  • Perform two sets of 10 reps.