The best way to Do an Overhead Squat


Targets: Complete physique: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Core, Shoulders, Higher Again

Tools Wanted: Barbell and plate weights

Stage: Intermediate

The overhead squat is a type of workout routines that basically does goal all the physique, and when executed accurately, it will probably present will increase in power, flexibility, and mobility you can switch to different workout routines and on a regular basis life. The problem with the overhead squat is that it usually highlights weaknesses in squat kind, together with hip and ankle mobility. This could make the train really feel awkward to carry out, particularly as you are studying the right mechanics. Additionally, since you’re holding a barbell overhead as you carry out the squat, it’s possible you’ll uncover you do not have the shoulder mobility or core power to do the train by way of a full vary of movement.

Do not let the sensation of awkwardness cease you from incorporating the transfer into your exercise, although. The great thing about the overhead squat is that by serving to you establish these areas of weak point, you are given the chance to slowly develop the power and mobility to carry out the train accurately. In time, this may make you a greater athlete (if you happen to’re pursuing athletic actions), or it is going to merely make you higher at shifting fluidly by way of on a regular basis life whereas decreasing the chance of accidents related to muscle imbalances, immobility, or weak point.

In case you’re simply getting began, it’s possible you’ll need to skip the heavy resistance and go for an unloaded barbell or perhaps a broomstick or PVC pipe to see how the train feels. You may maintain the barbell overhead, together with your elbows locked and your arms forming a “Y” angled out from the shoulders, earlier than shifting by way of a full squat. What you may in all probability discover fairly shortly is that holding a barbell on this vogue forces you to maintain your torso extra upright and secure than when performing different squat variations. This locations extra load on the quadriceps, quite than the glutes, whereas additionally necessitating higher engagement of the core, shoulders, and higher again.

Initially, attempt together with the train with gentle resistance as a part of an energetic warmup for a lower-body power coaching routine. As you grasp correct kind and are capable of transfer by way of a extra full vary of movement, begin including resistance and embody the motion as a part of your power coaching protocol.


As with all squats, the overhead squat is a superb approach to strengthen all the main muscle teams of your decrease physique, together with your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and even your calves. In contrast to the air squat or the again squat, although, the overhead squat requires you to maintain your torso extra upright to be able to sufficiently help the barbell overhead. This finally ends up partaking the quadriceps to a higher diploma than you do with different variations of the squat. In case you’re seeking to develop power by way of your quads, including the overhead squat to your routine is a good way to extend power whereas performing a compound train, quite than utilizing isolation workout routines, like quadriceps extensions to attain your objective.

Past hitting the decrease physique, although, the overhead squat requires a considerable engagement of the core and higher physique, too. To stabilize the barbell overhead, you have to use your abdominals, spinal erectors, shoulder stabilizers, traps, delts, and triceps. Though you are not actively shifting these muscle teams by way of a spread of movement as you squat, the straightforward act of right stabilization enhances the kind of power that may assist shield your muscle groups and joints from damage. That is much like how the plank train helps strengthen and shield the low again from damage by creating the core stabilization that stops undesirable motion of the backbone.

By creating shoulder and stomach stabilization, the overhead squat may make you higher at workout routines just like the snatch or overhead presses, the place you must preserve stabilization whereas shifting by way of a spread of movement. In case you’re a power or health athlete, incorporating overhead squats can translate to higher efficiency in your chosen sport over time.

Lastly, when you have poor mobility of your hips or ankles, the overhead press may help you establish these areas of weak point. Throughout a conventional squat, you may compensate for these weaknesses by leaning ahead excessively from the hips as you squat down, permitting you to “cheat” the motion. However whereas performing the overhead squat, you must preserve your torso upright and tall to keep up the soundness of the barbell overhead. This prevents you from leaning too far ahead.

As you squat down, you may uncover in a short time whether or not your hips and ankles are cellular sufficient to can help you transfer by way of a full vary of movement with out this ahead lean. If not, you may both be pressured to chop the vary of movement brief, otherwise you’ll danger dropping the barbell in entrance of you because it shifts too far ahead in entrance of your physique as your torso leans towards the bottom.

By progressively engaged on the overhead squat with correct kind, you may enhance flexibility and mobility by way of your hips and ankles, finally permitting you to maneuver by way of a higher vary of movement.

Step-by-Step Directions

To do an overhead squat, you may want a barbell. Relying in your power, mobility, and luxury degree with the motion, it’s possible you’ll or might not want plate weights so as to add further resistance to the train.

  1. Stand tall, your toes roughly shoulder-distance aside, your toes angled barely outward. Place the barbell throughout the again of your shoulders, resting in your traps, as if you have been about to carry out a again squat. Place your arms barely wider than you may for a again squat so that they are nearer to the place the plates are loaded.
  2. Take a deep breath in and brace your core to assist preserve your backbone secure. Maintaining your torso upright (do not tip ahead from the hips), bend your knees and drop your hips a couple of inches. In a strong motion, prolong your knees and hips as you drive the barbell up over your head, absolutely extending and “locking” your elbows on the prime. Permit your wrists to bend again barely to forestall the barbell from rolling ahead over your thumb joint. Verify to verify the barbell is positioned kind of straight over the middle of your toes. You don’t need it positioned too far backward or ahead, which may mess up your heart of gravity and result in issues through the squat. That is the beginning place.
  3. Hold your core tight and your elbows absolutely prolonged, then press your hips again barely and begin bending your knees, squatting down as if you happen to have been attempting to sit down in your heels (holding your hips from urgent too far again). It is essential to maintain your chest up, your gaze straight forward or angled barely upward, and your torso as erect as attainable as you squat down. In case you lean ahead from the hips, the burden will even shift ahead and also you’re more likely to lose your stability or make different kind errors to compensate for the misalignment of weight. You need the burden to stay “stacked” straight over the middle of your toes all through the squat. Inhale as you squat down.
  4. Squat down so far as you comfortably can, even to the purpose the place your glutes are virtually grazing your heels. This, in fact, is determined by hip mobility, power, and suppleness. If you cannot get to the “ass to grass” place, merely go as deep into the squat as you may whereas sustaining good kind. It is okay in case your knees prolong previous your toes barely on the backside of the train, simply make certain your knees angle out so that they’re aligned together with your toes and never caving inward.
  5. Use your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core as you press by way of your toes and absolutely prolong your knees and hips as you come back to the beginning place. Exhale as you rise to face. Carry out the motion steadily, holding your knees angled out barely in alignment together with your toes.
  6. Carry out a full set, then fastidiously bend your elbows and return the barbell to your shoulders. From right here, rack the barbell safely.

Frequent Errors

Leaning Too Far Ahead

In all probability the commonest mistake seen with the overhead squat is a ahead tip of the torso through the downward section of the squat. That is usually as a consequence of restricted mobility of the hips or ankles, or a weak core, and is clear when the barbell shifts ahead in entrance of your physique as you squat down, throwing your heart of gravity off stability, inserting you in danger for dropping the barbell.

The objective is to maintain the barbell “stacked” over your toes all through the motion, which implies your torso should stay upright. In case you really feel such as you’re off-balance, or if you happen to discover within the mirror that the barbell has shifted in entrance of your shoulders, cut back your vary of movement and deal with holding your core tight.

Even if you happen to simply squat down a couple of inches, urgent your hips again as you attempt to “sit” in your ankles, you may progressively enhance your vary of movement with time. It is higher to begin with a small vary of movement and correct kind than danger damage by leaning ahead as you squat.

Permitting the Knees to Cave Inward

Knee valgus, or the inward collapsing of the knees as you squat, is a standard problem seen with all squat variations. It is usually as a consequence of an absence of engagement of the glutes, notably the glute medius. Watch your self within the mirror as you carry out the train. In case you discover, particularly as you transition between the downward and upward section of the squat, that your knees collapse towards your physique’s midline, you must deal with partaking your glutes to “pull” your knees outward to maintain them aligned together with your toes as you progress by way of the squat.

Modifications and Variations

Want a Modification?

In case you’re model new to the motion, you might not be prepared to make use of an unloaded barbell. That is notably true when you have any mobility points by way of your shoulders or hips and are not able to help further weight over your head. As a substitute of utilizing a barbell, attempt utilizing a PVC pipe or a broomstick as a substitute. This can can help you begin mastering correct kind whereas working in your mobility with out the chance of dropping the weighted barbell. Merely carry out the train precisely as you’ll with a barbell, however with the broomstick or PVC pipe.

Up for a Problem?

As soon as you’ve got mastered correct kind with the barbell overhead squat, think about attempting the single-arm dumbbell overhead squat. The squat motion and core/shoulder stability is strictly the identical, however as a substitute of supporting a barbell overhead with each arms, you help a dumbbell overhead with one arm at a time. This helps develop unilateral (one-sided) shoulder stability, decreasing the chance that your dominant arm compensates for weaknesses current in your non-dominant arm whereas doing the barbell overhead squat.

Security and Precautions

Carried out with correct kind and an acceptable degree of resistance, overhead squats may be acceptable for nearly everybody. The problem, in fact, comes with the truth that this can be a full-body train that requires coordination, management, a baseline degree of power, and good mobility and stability of all the main joints and muscle teams.

If you are going to attempt the train for the primary time, considerably cut back the burden you’ll use when performing a conventional squat, or just use a PVC pipe or broomstick to get accustomed to the motion. Watch your self within the mirror, and if you happen to discover any of the widespread errors, cut back your vary of movement and deal with holding your shoulders and core secure as you progressively develop higher mobility by way of your shoulders, hips, and ankles.

In case you expertise any sharp or capturing pains, cease the train. You may at all times carry out different squat or lunge variations to develop power by way of the identical muscle teams if these workout routines really feel extra comfy to carry out.

Attempt It Out

Incorporate this transfer and related ones into certainly one of these well-liked exercises:

  • 12 Time-Environment friendly and Efficient Workouts You are Not Doing
  • Fast and Soiled Power and Cardio Circuit Exercise
  • High 10 Squat Workouts for the Glutes, Hips, and Thighs

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