Wrist pain is one of the most common complaints we hear during a front rack squat. There are many reasons you may be experiencing wrist pain as well as considerations to take into account to practice good form. Here’s everything you need to know.
4 Common Reasons You Have Front Rack Wrist Pain
You may notice more wrist pain in front squats than back squats— this is common because front squats require more wrist extension. Here are reasons why you may have pain and adjustments you can make to fix it.
1. Limited Flexibility In Your Wrists
If your wrists aren’t very flexible, it is likely you are putting too much strain on your wrists and forearms.
How to Fix It
Adjust your grip on the bar so that it is wide enough where you can raise your elbows up high enough to support the bar on your shoulders during the squat. Generally, the less flexible you are, the wider grip you will need.
2. You Are Lifting Too Much Weight
Though it can be tempting to challenge yourself with heavy weight, if it is too heavy, your hand and forearms won’t be strong enough to stabilize the position of your wrist. This can lead to pain.
How to Fix It
Remember you likely won’t be able to front squat as much weight as you can back squat. Decrease the amount of weight on your barbell. You will know you are lifting the right amount of weight when you can keep your back completely upright while squatting down, rather than leaning forward. Stop squatting when you have a couple more reps left in your energy tank rather than aiming for exhaustion.
3. The Bar is Not Racked On Your Shoulders With Your Shoulders Up
Proper form includes racking the bar on your shoulders and keeping them up so the weight isn’t too heavy on your wrists and hands.
How to Fix It
While you are squatting, look to make sure your upper arm is parallel to the floor. If your elbows are pointing down towards the floor, your wrists are at risk for pain.
4. All Ten Fingers Are Gripping the Barbell
Grabbing the bar with your full hands can cause pain in your wrists.
How to Fix It
Grip the bar with 2-4 fingertips per hand. Focus on resting the barbell on your fingertips rather than gripping the bar. If your elbows are in the proper upright position, the weight will be fully racked on your upper shoulders. Your fingers and neck will stop the barbell from falling off your shoulders.
How to practice good front squat form and avoid wrist pain
Mastering the proper form of a front squat is essential to protecting your wrists—however this may be tricky because there are a lot of parts of the body involved to execute this movement. Follow the steps below to master form and avoid wrist pain while front squatting.
Adjust the bar height until it meets the middle of your sternum. You should have to dip under the bar to re-rack it.
Grip the bar with your hands just outside of your shoulders. This will allow you to raise your elbows high enough to rest the weight on your shoulders while keeping your back vertical.
Ensure that your wrists are in a comfortable extended position, place yourself under the bar and grab it with a few fingers.
Place the bar to rest on the top of your shoulders with your chest up, elbows high, and upper arms parallel to the ground.
Keep your gaze forward.
Performing the Movement
Once you have a hold of your weight, take two small steps back and stand with your heels at shoulder width and your toes angled out at 30 degrees.
Sit back into a squat while focusing on keeping your weight in your heels and torso lifted. Make sure to maintain a braced core, vertical positioning of the back, comfortable wrist extension, and upper arms parallel to the floor.
Once your hips drop below parallel to the bottom of the floor, return to standing by pressing your feet into the floor and torso into the barbell. Focus on lifting with the chest rather than the elbows.
Take two small steps back toward the rack and place the barbell back.
Return to step 1 of setting up and repeat.