CALL US TODAY (608) 218-4215

Wrists & Shoulders in Front Rack

Hey, it’s Jennifer. Today I want to talk about wrist pain in the front rack position.

A lot of people tell me that they don’t like doing front squats or other movements where you’re in front rack position, because it bothers their wrists. So, I want to talk about why, in a lot of cases, the issue is actually the shoulder. If you can clear up some shoulder mobility issues, and then your wrists will feel better in the front rack position.

In your front rack, you should have your hands slightly outside your elbows (front view). Then from the side, you want your arms up as high as you can get them. So you should kind of feel like you’re choking yourself. It’s extra hard if you don’t actually have a weighted barbell, so with this light dowel, it’s going to be hard for me to really show you. If your arms can’t get up high enough, and those elbows drop down, your wrist gets bent at an extreme angle. With some load on there, that’s really going to be uncomfortable.

So if this is a mobility restriction, there’s a couple things that you can do.


  1. Work on your lats. You can take a ball on the wall to the lat area and kind of roll up and down or do the same thing on the foam roller. I like using a dowel, putting one hand over the other and bending forward to open up that area. You can swing to the side, get a nice stretch in there. Those are all nice things to do before you do something working in a front rack position.
  2. You can also work on a lat lengthener exercise. Take two weights or a barbell and lie on the end of a surface. Start with your arms up and knees bent and slowly lower your arms overhead. Feel how you have to work a little bit but also getting some length in that lat area. Then, bend your arms to get back to the starting position. I would start with two sets of 7-10 reps. I find that for most people, five pounds is great. This isn’t something where you need to get super heavy; we’re just working on the length of that muscle. That can help open up your lat so you can get up a little bit better.


If you’re limited in external rotation, you can do a couple things.


  1. Mobility-wise, take your lacrosse ball, lie on the ground and put the ball right where your arm joins your upper back. Then rotate your arm up and down. You might have to wiggle around to find a good spot (you’ll know when you’re on it). 
  2. If you can get to vertical then take a weight, find yourself someplace where you’re supported
    and work on rotating up. You can let it go just a little bit past that vertical and then come down controlled. Again, with the elbow supported on something like a dresser sit or table.
  3. If you’re not quite able to get to vertical, something that might feel better for you is to go on the floor
    and use a light weight and just let that weight  help you and work you as you get closer to the floor. Don’t go into any extreme discomfort, but just let it help you feel a nice stretch.


Okay, so there’s a few ways to work mobility of your lat which is going to help you get your elbows up and external rotation which is going to help you get into this wrist-outside-your-elbow position to make a more comfortable front rack for your shoulders. Which in turn, should feel better on your wrists.

Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks for listening and see you next time.

Our Mission:

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.