23 August, 2011
Front Squats and Wrist Flexibility
Maintaining the clean position to hold the front squat properly sometimes presents difficulties — notably involving flexibility. A properly held, or racked, front squat requires flexibility in the shoulders, elbows and wrists. A few simple stretches allow you to achieve this and help you maintain a better posture when squatting. Consult a health-care practitioner before beginning any strength-training program.
The rack — holding the bar on the front of your shoulders — takes time to master. Properly positioned, the bar will rest on your anterior deltoids — the muscles that cover the front of your shoulders. Your hands should remain just wider than your shoulders and under the bar, palms facing up. To maintain this position, you must push your elbows up. The elevation of your elbows requires your wrists to bend heavily, and this can take some practice.
Stretching the Wrists
While you may perform a variety of stretches, the basic method of developing flexibility for the racked position remains holding the racked position. This will allow you to specifically develop the flexibility in your wrists and forearms without worrying about dropping the bar. Spending a few minutes both before and after your front squat session holding the racked position will allow you to not only work on your flexibility, but also get used to holding the bar.
If holding the rack does not do the job, you can recruit help. Hold the racked position and relax your wrists as much as you can. Then have someone gently push your elbows up slightly. This can get fairly unpleasant, so make sure you ask someone you trust. You may also stretch one wrist at a time. Do not have your partner push your elbows up so high that the bar gets forced back and grinds into your windpipe.
Set the barbell in the squat rack just below the level of your shoulders, step forward and place one shoulder under the bar, then place the hand of that arm under the bar as if you held the bar for the front squat. Then push your elbow up as high as you can. The bar does not get forced back because you use only one arm, and this allows you to stretch your wrist through a greater range of motion. Repeat this for both sides.
- The Weightlifting Encyclopedia: A Guide to World Class Performance; Arthur J. Drechsler; 1998
- Strength Training Anatomy; Frederic Delavier; 2010
- Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images