The Overhead Squat

Squatting is a fundamental human movement that encompasses nearly every muscle in the body. Squatting improves fitness, performance, and mobility for daily-life tasks.

Anyone who is serious about training, be that martial arts, athletics or general fitness should include this king of exercises in some form. Your choice of squat variant will depend on your chosen sport and your individual goals. The squat, or indeed any form of weight training, will not make you slow - that’s an out of date view held by some ill-informed trainers who have not kept up to date with new research.

There is one squat variant that challenges every part of you to the extreme - the overhead squat. This is the type you see after an Olympic weightlifter performs the snatch, drops down after the third pull then rises up to complete the lift.

The overhead squat will expose any deficiencies you have and this is why it is such a valuable exercise to master. Getting better at the overhead squat will develop skills that transfer over to several other major movements and lifts such as the snatch, not to mention it being an excellent way to develop effective (athletic) movement in and out of the gym.

The Overhead Squat offers a variety of benefits beyond those that that the Back Squat or Front Squat can, such as:

  • Squatting form or squatting technique

  • Upper and lower body assessment

  • Mobility

  • Flexibility

  • Stability

  • Balance

  • Focus

  • Strength

  • Improving the Snatch

How to perform the lift

1) Stand tall, your feet roughly shoulder-distance apart, your toes angled slightly outward. Place the barbell across the back of your shoulders, resting on your traps, as though you were about to perform a high bar back squat. Position your hands slightly wider than you might for a back squat so that they're closer to where the plates are loaded (snatch grip).

2) Brace your core to help keep your spine stable. Keeping your torso upright (don't tip forward from the hips), bend your knees and drop your hips a few inches. In a powerful movement, extend your knees and hips as you drive the barbell up over your head, fully extending and "locking" your elbows at the top. Allow your wrists to bend.

3) Your core must be tight and your elbows fully extended, then press your hips back and start bending your knees, squatting down as if you were trying to sit on your heels. Keep your chest up and your eyes straight ahead or angled slightly upwards, your torso must be as erect as possible as you squat down.

4) Squat down as far as you comfortably can, even to the point where your glutes are almost grazing your heels (This, will depend on hip mobility, strength, and flexibility)

5) Use your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core as you press through your feet and fully extend your knees and hips as you return to the starting position.

Now you have completed your first overhead squat.

If you would like to learn more about this amazing exercise then please contact me.