Front Rack Position Anatomy is a technique of holding the bar while preparing to do a front squat, lunge or overhead press. It allows to place the bar in a favourable position.
Not having the proper Front Rack form, prevents many lifters from reaching their true potential. Years ago, coaches drilled the techniques with naked bar or a stick, for many sessions. There was a belief that eventually proper technique will be established.
Next generation of coaches added basic stretching techniques. Sometime later, massage and release came into play. The last two modalities helped, some but not all athletes. The reason why basic stretches did not work is because most are taken from other disciplines such as yoga. However the Front Rack Position in lifting is very specific and need direct work to master it.
Before that, the correct knowledge about the muscles involved in the execution of Front Rack is important. So, let’s start with the anatomy behind Front Rack.
It is a part of rotator cuff muscles that along with stabilizing the shoulder joint, also performs the function of internal rotation of the humerus. But, during the Front Rack Position, the arms have to be externally rotated so Subscapularis will be lengthened.
Middle Deltoid (Posterior Fibers):
The posterior fibers of middle Deltoid act to extend the arm at shoulder joint. Thus, these fibers will be stretched.
Trapezius is a multifunctional muscle that can retract, rotate, elevate as well as depress scapula. Scapula usually protracts during the Front Rack, so it will be lengthened.
Triceps (Short head):
The short head of Triceps assist in extending the forearm at elbow joint. It will also be lengthened when the arms will be in Front Rack Position.
Flexors of Wrist and Fingers:
The wrists and fingers of both hands will be in extended position while in the Front Rack. The muscles that flex these joint will be stretched.
It is obvious that Supinator will be stretched as the arms are in pronated position during the execution of the Front Rack.
Muscles Partially Lengthening
Anterior Deltoid performs two functions. First, flexion of the arm at shoulder joint and second, internal rotation of the arm. It will be stretched by lateral rotation and shortened by flexion of the arm during the Front Rack.
It extends the arm at shoulder joint and this is why it is lengthening here. But it will be shortened by it being a lateral rotator.
Teres Minor will also be contracting as well as lengthening due to it being a lateral rotator and extensor of the arm.
Also lengthens partially as it is involved in lateral rotation and horizontal extension (the opposite of what is happening here) of the shoulder.
Pectoralis Major (sternal and clavicular):
It is involved in flexion of the arm at the shoulder joint, thus shortens. In addition, it is also involved in medial rotation of the arm and that’s why, partially lengthens.
Extends the arm, medially rotates it, as well as adducts it. And during Front Rack, lengthens partially.
Triceps (long head):
Triceps perform elbow extension thus is lengthening and also performs shoulder extension, and hence shortening too during the Front Rack.
Teres Major performs the extension and medial rotation of the arm and is a partially lengthening muscle here.
Rhomboids rotate the scapula downwards, hence shortening and also retracts the scapula and hence stretching here.
Pectoralis Minor draws the scapula downwards and medially, thus assisting during the Front Rack.
It flexes the arm at the shoulder joint hence contributing in the Front Rack Position.
Serratus Anterior protracts the scapula, an important movement during the Front Rack Position.
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Also flexes the arm anteriorly and so, is contracting here.
Laterally rotates the arm and for this reason, contracting here.
Infraspinatus, just like Teres Minor, is also a lateral rotator of the arm. That is why, it also shortens.
Triceps Front Rack Position Anatomy:
Triceps will contract to avoid excessive flexion of the forearm.
Pronator Teres Front Rack Position Anatomy:
It is a prime pronator of the arm. Pronation is a very crucial movement for the Front Rack Position. Thus, it is contracting.
Pronator Quadratus Front Rack Position Anatomy:
Also protracts the arm, along with Pronator Teres.