Weightlifting Tip: The Overhead Squat

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June 27, 2019
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The overhead squat is the ultimate core exercise, the heart of the snatch, and peerless in developing effective athletic movement. This functional gem trains for efficient transfer of energy from large to small body parts – the essence of sport movement. For this reason it is an indispensable tool for developing speed and power. The overhead squat also demands and develops functional flexibility, and similarly develops the squat by amplifying and cruelly punishing faults in squat posture, movement, and stability.

-Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal “The Overhead Squat” 2005

Why?

The functional utility of the overhead squat may not be completely apparent, but there are many instances where objects may be high enough to get under but are too heavy or not free enough to be pressed overhead yet. Those loads can be moved upward though by getting your full body low enough under the weight so that your arms can be locked and then squatting upwards to lift the object.

Points Of Performance of the Overhead Squat.

  • Shoulder width stance
  • Wide grip on the bar
  • Shoulders push up into the bar
  • Armpits face forward
  • Hips descend back and down
  • Hips descend lower then knees
  • Lumbar curve maintained
  • Heels down
  • Bar moves over the middle of the foot
  • Knees in line with toes
  • Complete at full hip & knee extension

Ironically, the overhead squat is exceedingly simple yet universally nettlesome for beginners. There are three common obstacles to learning the overhead squat. The first is the scarcity of skilled instruction – outside of the Olympic lifting community most instruction on
the overhead squat is laughably horribly, wrong – dead wrong. The second is a weak squat – you need to have a rock-solid squat to learn the overhead squat. We strongly recommend you review the December 2002 issue of the CrossFit Journal on squatting before attempting the overhead squat; you could save yourself a lot of time in the long run. The third obstacle is starting with too much weight – you haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of learning the overhead squat with a bar. You’ll need to use a length of dowel or plastic PVC pipe; use anything over five pounds to learn this move and your overhead squat will be stillborn.

-Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal “The Overhead Squat” 2005

Here’s a great example of the overhead squat from James Hobart of the CrossFit seminar staff:

Not sure if you’re doing this? And, you want to make sure you’re getting it right so you don’t get injured? Then come in and schedule a training session through the calendar below!

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