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How to Overhead Squat

Posted Jun 29 2010 12:00am

Among the best exercises for strength, size, speed, and power, are squats – no exceptions. Front squats , jump squats , and overhead squats are all great alternatives to the king of squat exercises – the barbell back squat.

Squatting will help you develop powerful legs and a rigid core, have no doubt, but when we get creative we can mix and match exercises for an even more effective exercise that trains the whole body.

Sometimes we must think about our upper body as well and there is no better way to look and feel jacked, than to build massively strong shoulders. And there is no better way to feel sexy as a female, than to have sleek, strong, healthy shoulders. It is also equally important to build structurally invincible shoulders to proactively protect yourself from injury.

Combine everything together that I’ve just mentioned, and you get the overhead barbell squat. Let’s see how to do them correctly.

Rules to remember when overhead squatting:

  • Fill your stomach with air before descending and keep it tight with your chest out while pushing up.
  • Push up with your eyes focused 30-45 degrees above normal eye level.
  • Keep the lower back straight and mostly flat; do not round your back!
  • Keep knees pointing out slightly, do not let them creep inwards or outwards as you push yourself up.
  • Push from your glutes (butt), not your knees; your hips should raise first and everything else should raise with them.
  • Try to keep your knees behind your toes to avoid injury.
  • Keep your shoulder blades pinched together.
  • Maintain a slight force pressing outward with your hands to help with shoulder stability.

This is a very awkward exercise that will build stability in your shoulders and the surrounding muscles. Despite the name, overhead squats are not particularly overwhelming for the legs, as you typically use a load far lighter than you would use for working squat sets.

To start, load up a barbell with some weight and set up for either a hang snatch, a power snatch, or a squat.

Now you have 2 choices for getting the bar into position:

YouTube Preview Image

Using whichever positioning method you choose, snatch the bar over your head and catch it in the standard snatch position – shoulder blades pinched together, bar directly over your head and ankles, pulling out slightly with both hands to keep your shoulders tight.

Now do a squat while keeping the bar in the same vertical line of motion. The bar will end up behind your head when you are in the hole, but keep those shoulder blades pinched and keep a slight but constant outward force with both hands to stabilize the bar. Stand up to complete one rep. Don’t you dare drop the bar until the set is finished.

When you are done, either drop the bar back onto your shoulder and unrack it, or just drop it to the floor if you are training in a gym that will allow you to do that. Don’t you dare try this in a Planet Fitness or the Lunk Alarm will go off and you will most likely be escorted out into the parking lot… which is actually a better place to train than inside a Planet Fitness.

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