Improve CrossFit Barbell Racking Mobility

If you use a barbell to work on your racking mobility, your collarbone and neck will be in the way to achieve further range, with the kettlebell you can keep going past this stopping point. Therefore, the kettlebell will allow you to get a better range of motion for your barbell racking position in your CrossFit workouts.

I’ve created the kettlebell open palm front squat drill to improve barbell racking mobility, to perform the drill follow the steps below:

  • first warm-up and get used to the drill with one kettlebell
  • a grip in the middle of the handle is good for this exercise, where as normally you’d want to grab it more by the corner for cleans
  • you need to know how to swing a kettlebell and how to switch
  • the difference between a normal kettlebell swing and the open palm clean is that you need to pull the kettlebell in and up
  • release the handle and let the bell land in your open palm
  • the handle should be facing downwards on the inside of your forearm
  • mimic the barbell racking position
  • you start by alternating and just perform open palm cleans without increasing range
  • as you warm-up, you gradually increase the range by
    • pulling your elbows up more
    • bringing your hands laterally out more
    • bringing the hands past the shoulders more
    • letting weight bring the hands down more
  • once you’ve warmed up, you start adding the squat
  • stay in the positions for a couple of seconds with little pulses to increase range
  • once you’re fully warmed up, progress to two kettlebells at the time

The great thing about the kettlebell open palm front squat, as mentioned earlier, is that you can achieve further range going backwards (past the shoulders), and you can move inwards and outwards laterally during the drill. The fact you can work unilaterally on weak areas is also a great bonus point that the kettlebell provides you with.

This kettlebell grip also forces you to keep your elbows up or hands back, as doing anything else will have the kettlebells falling off the hands, thus one is forced to push the elbows forward. Great!

Now for the biggest bonus of all, beginners are not happy with the wrist hyperextension, they’re not happy with the pressure on the shoulders, collarbone and neck, this will make their life a little easier, till they get the flexibility to rack properly.

So, I know most CrossFitters are not big fans of the kettlebell, but it’s time the kettlebell gets the kudos it deserves, even if it’s just to help you increase the range of motion and mobility for your barbell racking position. With that said, check out Kettlebells in CrossFit.

Register for free to watch the video of above drill below.

If you want to know more about the terms: bell, handle, corner, horn, open palm grip plus 20+ other kettlebell grips, check out this free high quality kettlebell grip ebook.


The following video is also related to mobility for the barbell racking position, as triceps, lat flexibility, shoulder and thoracic mobility also play an important part in barbell racking. Check it out.


If you find any of the above drills useful, use them or just want to leave some feedback, please do so below or on this Facebook post.


PS. when doing this drill, make sure you have a safe area to work in, and the ability to drop a kettlebell, that’s if you don’t have assistance to get in the positions.

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