Have you or your lifting partner ever complained of wrist pain in the front rack position? If you’re not sure what the front rack position is, this is it:
Wrist pain is inherently common in this position and with lifts that require you to be in this position. These such lifts are made up of the front squat, thruster, cleans, strict/push press, jerks. As you see there are a lot of movements in CrossFit, Olympic lifting, and traditional weight lifting that require this position on a barbell. Unfortunately, when you’re in pain you do not want to be in this position, and if you are in this position during pain then you are typically compensating due to the pain.
One reason that a lot of people struggle with improving this position is due to spending too much time on the wrists and less time on midline…..
When establishing proper mobility in extremity joints (ankle, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle) it is FIRST vital that you initially have stability established in your midline. Think of it in regard to a tree (yes I am watching the trees as I write up this article), when you see a tree blowing in the wind you ONLY see the branches and leaves blowing. You do not see the trunk of the tree blowing back and forth in the wind. The reason is that the trunk is stable. It is locked into the ground and it is strong and sturdy, thus allowing proper positioning on the earth, therefore allowing the leaves and branches to blow on a stable trunk. If the trunk was NOT stable then the entire tree would blow over in the wind and the branches and leaves would no longer have mobility, they would be still on the ground just like the trunk. The human body is the same way. If we are stable in our midline then we are able to have more mobility in our extremities. Stability does not mean strength, this means motor control and the ability to contract your core musculature (abs, obliques, low back, hip flexor, posterior hip musculature) while still moving your upper and lower extremities. If you are unable to properly brace and stabilize at your core when doing an overhead lift or a hold in the front rack, then you will end up compensating with your core movement (excess and aberrant movement) and then your extremities will act to take up the lack of stability by providing stability themselves (a strategy that they are not designed to provide). This is why you will see someone struggling with the front rack position with their elbows down by their side instead of up towards a 90 degree position creating a shelf with your deltoids and shoulders…typically (not always) the reason is due to their poor core control and excess thoracic movement in the wrong direction. Here the shoulders are acting to provide STABILITY rather than being there to create the proper mobility needed for the front rack position.
This principle applies to many other lifts, but I hope that this helps you understand another reason that BOTH stability and mobility are important when it comes to being healthy and fit.
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