Forums General Shoulder Position in the Front Squat

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    • #70588
      AvatarCoty Cruse

        Brand spanking new user here, currently working my way through Supple Leopard as well as the massive amount of info on this site, so if my question has already been answered in either the book or in any of the videos of the site I´m sorry, just slap me with a link or referance….. =)

        Really basic question about shoulder position in the front squat. I was taught to protract my upper back and shoulders while spreading the lats. I might very well have mixed things up, but I´m getting confused as I´m learning that a stable shoulder position is retracted and “in the socket”. If I retract my shoulders, I can´t hold the bar in place. Am I supposed to have my shoulders retracted in the front squat, or is a stable shoulder position dependent on what type of movement I´m doing, ie I should keep protracting when front squatting?
      • #73182
        • #73193
          AvatarCoty Cruse

            Thanks alot for the video links!

            I´m with you on creating torque first and external rotation… I think.. =)

            However, I´m still a bit unsure about the shoulders protracting or retracting. As I said when i retract even though the torque and rotation stuff is taken care of, I still seem to be unable  to hold the bar up.

            The only way is if I protract, but if I understand it right, this seems to be a bad idea. It kind of looks like the position Kelly talks about in Episode 41 at 2:29

          • #73196
            AvatarLuis Marquez


              When you say yo can’t hold the bar in place when you set your shoulder, what exactly do you mean?
              Where does the bar go when you try to squat?
              How are you holding it? Fingers or with arms crossed?

            • #73197
              AvatarCoty Cruse

                Arms straight out like one of the front rack progressions or fingers (clean grip). Again if I protract my shoulders I can hold it but retracting I feel i loose the base on which the bar rests so it falls out in front of me.

              • #73202

                  Do you understand what needs to happen for a stable front rack position?
                  Are you able to replicate what is needed for a stable front rack position?
                  It sounds more like a motor learning problem.
                  There is a section in Becoming A Supple Leopard about the front rack archetype.
                  This is the stable position.
                  What restrictions do you have that aren’t allowing you to hold the bar when retracting?

                • #73204
                  AvatarTravis Wyant

                    play around with grip width. It might be that your grip is too narrow??? this makes it ‘more difficult’ to ‘keep the elbows up’ as your elbow isn’t in a stable position. It will also allow you to get full lateral rotation of the shoulder and keep the wrist in a comfortable position (by the way – how is your wrist / finger mobility?)


                    Once in this position it’s actually difficult to ‘drop’ the elbows performing a front rack squat.





                  • #73207
                    AvatarCoty Cruse

                      It´s not really an issue of elbows dropping. It´s more that if i retract my shoulders, I lose “the shelf” upon which the bar rests. When retracting my shoulder the bar will be resting on the upper part of my humerus instead of the deltoid and thus, I can´t support the bar.

                      I can however, when I protract my shoulders. But from what I understand this is an unstable shoulder position for front squatting?

                      Wrist/finger mobility is good, I tried both wide and narrow grip.


                    • #73209
                      AvatarKatie Hemphill

                        Hey Peter,

                        Seems like you’re having some issues getting your actual question answered. Not that everyone didn’t provide great resources and advice on the front rack archetype in general, but you seem to have a pretty specific question regarding protraction/retraction of the scapula that has yet to be addressed.
                        I would say, as the others have, that the more retracted shoulder position would be prefered, though I also find it difficult to avoid protraction when setting up the front rack. If you find, as I do, that you are unable to position your arm (flexion/external rotation) without pulling the scap forward (protraction), it might indicate that your posterior delts are stiff, thus pulling the scap forward when you position for the front rack.
                        Also, make sure you are addressing your set-up for the front rack (motor control, as someone mentioned previously). If you’re not setting up and creating torque through the shoulder in a good position before you load that bar up, it will make it very difficult to establish a decent front rack shape. 
                        Hopefully that offers you a little insight into your problem!
                      • #73211
                        AvatarCoty Cruse

                          Everyone did in fact provide great advice on the front rack, but this was exactly what I meant! I´ll look into the posterior delt issue. I have also been wondering if it´s because I have long forearms in relation to the upper arm? Protracting kind of “artificially lenghtens” my upper arm, if that makes any sense? But then again, I´ll look into the posterior delts first and see if some work there might make things easier. And mind the torque first…… =)


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