How much do you Overhead Squat with?

The overhead is very tough for me, but I know it’s a great exercise. Even though I dont’ use a lot of weight 95 lbs) it still is difficult. How much do you use? If you have problem going low with this exercise but not in the back squat, is there a lack of strength and flexibility somewhere? Go gamecocks

It varies as to what weight people use but you will find a correlation between your overhead squat and your snatch lift. The better you can get your overhead squat usually the better your snatch will go as well. Most people who have never attempted this exercise will have a hard time doing it with an empty 45 lb. bar. I sometimes use it as a humbling or shut your mouth exercise when some bodybuilder is getting to bigheaded I say “Hey you oughta try this exercise you’ll really feel it in your shoulders and traps…” Then I end up laughing my ass off when they practically fall down the first time…usually the prior limitation is shoulder flexibility…anyone who does a lot of bodybuilding movements will typically really struggle…after this the major limitations come from lack of flexibility in the hips, hip flexors and calves.

Kelly’s right on, definitely shoulder flexibility… Also, what kind of shoes are you wearing? I could barely do these when I wore flat shoes, but when I switched to Olympic lifting shoes my OH squat went up 20 lbs. I’m guessing that the raised heel let me stay more upright, so I needed less shoulder flexibility. I usually use 135 for 5 sets of 5 with a nice slow tempo, or more for less sets. I’d like to work up to doing bodyweight for sets of 5.

When I was Olympic lifting, I did these with 95lbs for sets of five. I did 135lbs for one rep. I will be working up to heavier weight again in the near future. I’ll be using the overhead squat as one of my max-effort exercises. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get much higher than 135lbs. And Kelly was right, your overhead squat will be close to what you snatch. In my case, I could do a max overhead squat with a little more than what I could actually snatch in competition when I competed in the 59kg class.

basically it’s a combination of all those facets. Flexibility of hips/hamstrings/lower back along with stablizing strength of posterior chain. Glad you enjoy them. Now if you want another variation, try with kettlebells. In faith, Coach Davies

right now i am getting 140x5. Can’t power snatch 140 yet, sooner or late i am gonna do full snatches, but still am not comfortable overhead squating (have that falling over feeling). Boy do i need bumper plates.

I used 135 the other day. That was really easy though. Im gonna try a lot more the next time. ill let ya know

what would be the benefit of doing overhead squats? the weight you guys are saying you are using isn’t enough to to do much to strengthen the lower body. the potential to hurt yourself due to inflexibility or loss of balance seems to far out weight any benefit you could gain- unless you are an olympic lifter.

nate, from what i’ve read about you, you are way to strong to be using this as a max effort exercise. no one at westside, except for amy, does these period. and amy does not do these as a max effort exercise.


What are OL lifting shoes and where did you get them? - Matt

Matt, go to the Safe-USA home page. They have a couple of different kinds of shoes on there. I got the Adidas Ironwork shoes. Nice solid heel and velcro straps. I really like them, but they can be expensive.

Pete, I use OH Squats as a core conditioning exercise. I think they’re great for overall body conditioning, but I agree with you in that I don’t think they’d make a great max effort exercise. Overhead supports in a rack would probably be a better choice for experienced OL’ers. As for PL, I think Brad Gillingham does OH squats as a warmup for his DL’s.

Hey Pete, are you sure you meant to say “way too strong??” Maybe you meant “way too weak.” As I’m doing overhead squats with far less weight than I should. And from what I’ve read, Amy does use the overhead squat as one of her max-effort exercises along with front squats and good mornings. Do we have conflicting info???

pete, people also do them to carry over to sport. I have heard of them really helping football players, (discus) throwers and shotputters. look around on the net.

pete, why don’t you try them out yourself? then you can answer your own question. You don’t have to kill yourself at them, just try them out.

i have tried them and after much practice and several dumped attempts, i did not think they would help my powerlifting. i made it up to 135 for several and the weight was not enough to work my lower back, hams, thighs, etc. it was more of a balancing act than a strength exercise for me. i can see it helping certain athletic endeavors though, but i still wouldn’t reccommend it. i think they are more efficient and safer methods of targeting whatever overhead squats target.

nate - maybe i’m wrong about amy doing them as a max effort exercise. here’s a q and a from dave tate’s website:

after reading some articles about weightlifting, I started to incorporate overhead squats into my workout. How would fit those into WSB training? Do you recommend this exercise at all?


Scrap the over head squats. Amy Weisberger is the only person I’ve seen do them and I don’t feel she got much out of them. The problem is it becomes of test of what you can hold over your head, intead of a devlopment of weak muscle groups. Focus on your weak muscle groups and your lifts will go up.

pete it is pretty obvious you are a bodybuilder (i hope so anyway). The general gist is bodybuilders train muscle groups, but strength athletes train the movement not the muscle. therefore finding another excercie “targeting whatever overhead squats target” is rather bunk. there isn’t another excercise on the same level as far as I’m concerned.

I go medium/heavy with 85lbs for 3 reps. Still learning, I do 'em because I love the Snatch, the lift and…well, you know.

Thanks pete, good info!

I did the “Forgotten Exercises” routine by Coach Davies for the 1st time last week. I did the overhead squat for 5 sets of 6 reps at 95 without too much sweat, but in reality could not do a heel of a lot more. I bench 390, squat 450 and dead 500…Davies’ workout was a bitch though. Funny how the PL routine looks like shit when it comes to functional strength.

I’ve been reading the post and I guess I should have emphasized the history of these movements better. With regards to Overhead Squats, not only are they a tremendous movement for athletes to use for many reasons but also one that bodybuilders used historically to develop tremendous size and shape. In faith, Coach Davies