Nice Rack

by coachdanbell

I still slip-up and yell that across a crowded CrossFit box during clinics sometimes. I can’t help myself. I get all tingly inside when I see a nice rack . . . position. (Did you really go there? Of course you did) Last time I talked about how I like a short dip in the jerk drive, the better to use the whip in the bar as it bends across the lifter at the bottom of the dip and jumps off at the top of the drive. But the bar needs a solid surface, a concrete column to wrap around, not a pile of pillows and bones.

Here is what I want you to look like just before you dip for the jerk:

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So how do we get here? As you come out of the clean, the bar will probably be on top of your collar bone, your elbows up and pushing toward each other. You are at least trying to keep your chest up and the bar is probably on our fingers or even finger tips:

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Once you are standing, however, you cannot jerk the bar from here. For reasons we’ll get into in the next post, high elbows for the jerk does not work well. You need to keep the bar ON TOP OF YOUR COLLAR BONE, not in front of it or behind it. If you have to “pop” the bar up a little to reposition it, do so. (This takes practice and it best done coming right out of the clean, not after you’ve stood for a moment and let it settle where it is) You want the bar in the palms of your hands, not far down on the fingers. Now lift your sternum UP and push your shoulder joint (AC joint) FORWARD and DOWN, so that the bar is resting fully on your collar bone. Drop your elbows, but keep them in front of your wrists:

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Finally, your arms and hands should be relaxed. The full weight of the bar should be on your body, not in your hands at all. Your hands are closed on the bar but relaxed, and your arms need to be relaxed for the arm action that will follow.

I should mention that in pushing your AC joint down and forward, you are engaging your pecs and lats, tightening them. Lifting your sternum engages your upper spinal erectors. You’ve turned your upper body into a solid base upon which the bar rests in this position, and around which the bar will bend at the bottom of your dip. Again, make yourself look like Phil, one of our Rubber City lifters:

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One more thing . . . A common mistake when beginners are learning this position is to lift the AC joint up, taking pressure off of the collar bone. Do not do this. I know the position is uncomfortable at first and may bruise your collar bone. Take the pain for a week or two. It will pass. If you lift your AC joint up, it will mush down at the bottom or your dip and act like a shock absorber, taking most of the whip out of the bar.

Okay, get out there and make a rack I’ll be happy to see when we meet in person. You do want me to yell “Nice rack!” across the gym to you, don’t you?

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