The front rack position is important. And having a good one is even more important.
It's a position that is utilized in multiple exercises. Front squats, cleans, thrusters, presses and jerks. And for each exercise there are subtle variations of the front rack position, depending on whether it's a press or a front squat/clean. Regardless of the specific nuances, having the ability to get into the ideal position for a front squat, the most difficult "version" of the front rack position, will give you abilities to be in any variation need.
For most people it's not the easiest position to get to and stay in. It can be uncomfortable for a few reasons. 1, it's the first few times you're doing it and more practice will make it feel better, 2) you've got some muscle tightness and mobility deficiencies!
Whether you're #1 or 2#, keep practicing. With honest deliberate practice and a focus of trying to improve the range of motion and position, it will get better and easier. With that said, there are added mobility exercises that can help you make progress faster. Here are three of our favorite.
Double Bar Front Rack Stretch
The double bar front rack stretch is one of the most direct ways to help improve your front rack mobility. It mimics the position of being in a front rack and doing this stretch 3x/week (especially before any front squats or cleans) for 2-4 weeks can make big differences in your front rack position.
Front Rack Single Arm External Rotation
This is a style of stretching that is called PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation). Really, all it means is that you're going to do a stretch, then when you feel a little stretch, hold it in that position and squeeze gently in the "stretched" position for a few seconds, then relax. When you relax, try to stretch a little more/further and get more range of motion. Repeating that process can get more range of motion and a better position. You can even do it at home with a broomstick!
Front Rack Prone Praying Position Stretch
v Here we offer two different versions of the same stretch depending on your current tightness. No equipment needed and a way to not only improve your front rack position but also stretch throughout your shoulders, arms, lats and sides. One key point to remember, keep your elbows together!
Peanut Thoracic Rolling
The peanut is 2 tennis balls duct taped together (you could also use lacrosse balls). There are lots of fancy mobility tools you can buy that work the same way as our homemade version, either way, do this mobility exercise. The muscles on your upper back may need to be "self massaged" wit hate peanut roller in order to allow more movement into your rack position. This exercise looks to kneed the muscles and gain mobility and movement by having more supple muscles.