Front rack march how to

Rack up those full body gains with a front rack march

Posted by for Workouts

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: front rack march.

“Front rack” just means holding weights in front of your body (often up by the collar bone), rather than by your sides or on the upper back. Because of the more unusual position, you’ll find that most front rack exercises require more core strength than leg strength.

A front rack march, however, requires you to switch on those core muscles while working the leg muscles. You’ve got to stand up correctly under a heavy load, while staying strong in the shoulders and upper back and moving those legs one by one – improving balance.

What exactly is a front rack march?

You’ve got to march on the spot while holding a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells in the front rack position – just in front of your body, parallel to the collar bones or shoulders.

It’s great because it:

  • Challenges balance: You’ve got to be able to take one foot of the ground slowly without losing your balance – while holding a pair of weights.
  • Works the whole body: Upper back and shoulders maintain the weights, the core helps with stability and the lower body muscles have to move too.
  • Is easy to adapt: Start off with a pair of super-light dumbbells and gradually increase the weight. You could use dumbbells or kettlebells, or anything around your house that you can carry. Slow the march down to make the exercise harder.

What muscles does the front rack march work?

This is a full-body move that primarily works:

  • Core
  • Shoulders
  • Traps (upper back)
  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings

How to do a front rack march

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Grab your weights and bring them into front rack position – elbows into the body, hands parallel to the shoulders, dumbbell ends pointing forward and back (rather than side ways). 
  3. Bracing the core, slowly lift the right leg and bend the knee so that it forms a 90° angle in front of you. 
  4. Slowly lower the leg and then lift the left one. 
  5. Continue to march on the spot. 

Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.

Image: Stylist

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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