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flexibility while overhead squatting

I found out by testing that i can’t physically do an overhead squat because as soon as i start coming down my arms bend forward. I’m talking about with any weight whether its 25 lbs or 135lbs. any ideas of what muscles i need to stretch or workout more in order to improve my flexibility? When i’m in the standing position i have no trouble with full lockout in the behind the head arm position. thanks, pk

I found that trying to ‘pull the bar apart’ horizontally helped immensely.

You’ll notice a great improvement just by trying it with a broom stick.

Hope it helps

I’ts not a strength issue as you already hinted, I train loads of strength athletes and its only the more flexible well coordinated (more experienced) ones who can perform them.
If you can already free squat easily without heels raised then it probebly isnt ankles or hips, I’d look at your spine hyperextention, then chest and shoulder flexibility ie the old broomstick rotation from o/head to lower back.
good look.

What kind of bar are you using? Have you tried using as wide a grip as possible?

I have the same problem. Are you holding the bar as wide as possible when you overhead squat? [Hold it right out to the collars]. If that doesn’t work, start out practicing the overhead squats with a wooden dowel to get your form. I find I have to squat in a sumo stance in order to get low and keep my arms back.

Stretching the shoulders using a towel held in both hands, and rotating the shoulders. Also, it may be that you’re leaning too far forward when you try to do an overhead squat. The form is more like a front squat. If you don’t do front squats, you may have a tendency to lean forward at the hips to much. Do some front squats to dial that form in a little better.

Pk, brider’s right - OH squats are more like front
squats. I, too, have been working on OHS’s, and here’s
what I’ve gathered:

When performing power-lifter squats, I arch my back, then begin
my movement by “sitting back.” If I do this with OH squats, I
will dump the bar forward! Have discovered that with OH squats
it’s “best” to keep a neutral spine and begin the movement by
flexing the knees and “squatting under the bar!”

Also of note: during OH squats, I find it important to keep the head level - looking up makes the bar lurch! I also find it necessary to use a much narrower stance during the OH squat than in a reg/PL squat.

Have been working on OH squats and power-lifter/box squats simultaneously, and boy, are they ever different - and tough!

As the others said, pulling the bar apart and sitting down, not back, will help immensely.

To work on shoulder flexibility, do dislocates. Grab a broom stick with a wide snatch grip, then with straight arms take it up over your head and then behind your back. You can work on gradually moving your grip in for additional flexibility.

Stretching your calves is a good idea too.

What type of grip are you using? Are about shoulder width apart or using a snatch grip. If your narrow, widen your grip.

thanks a lot for the advice from everyone. I definitely need to work on my stretching and i will adjust the form to a wider grip. I need to have patience. I have been front squatting for some time now and i find that my problem is keeping my shoulders up. I do have that tendency to lean forward a bit at the full bottom position and thus have to end the sets early because of deltoid fatigue. thanks pk

I have tried almost everything to increase shoulder flexibility and all to no avail. Maybe some individuals do not possess the ability to extend the bar significantly behind their head. Should you keep an upright trunk? This dependd on your limb lengths and ROM about the hip, ankle and knee. Most weightlifters I have viewed O/H squat with uprights trunks. But one lifter that amazes me is the Greek weightlifter Dimas, who has a tendency to lean forward, but this is countered by his amazing shoulder flexibility. How he can get the bar that far back is truly remarkable!

Try pulling a band (bungy or theraband) apart up and over and behind your head at various hand positions.

Get a skateboard. Think I’m talking crazy here, huh? I’ve got some of the tightest hips and shoulders known to man and really have issues with overhead squats and snatches. Well, I’ll be damned … decided to skateboard one day and that very night I got deep in the whole … It loosened me up like crazy!!! I’ll be getting more into this stuff, but a lot of other stretching movements haven’t been helping. However, you might also want to get some hurdles which can really help loosen you up too.