T Nation

Optimal Overhead Squat Question


I want to get your take in something since your mobility is spot on to front squat upright & snatch. My hips are tight, the right is tighter than the left. I foam roll with a rumble roller daily & use a lacrosse ball on my hip flexors & glutes, do mobility WODs, & Defranco's Agile 8, & lots of stretching.

I have improved but certain hip stretches I can't get in the correct position unless assisted & I don't always have that. I notice if I goblet squat with a DB or kettle bell my form is perfect. I use Olympic shoes & dropped my weight on my front squat being very maticulous to every detail trying to make sure my set up is perfect & my hips are even at the bottom.

My goblet squat I feel is perfect, my front squat definitely improving & recently I can do an overhead squat with the bar, a little tilted forward, but getting closer with my Olympic shoes. I would like to progress faster than what I am & want perfect technique, if I lower the weight fine, it will come back up. I got the thought today maybe I should do light enough weight technique practice daily with dumbells, goblet squat style & my hips would losen up quicker, or front squats, maybe 3-4 sets must be rocket launch style so I don't cause any drain on my CNS.

What are your thoughts? I'm looking for the quickest way to overhead squat properly & eventually do a full snatch & full power clean & push press. I will do whatever you tell me. The dumbells & kettle bells aren't heavy enough at my gym to go heavy enough anyways. Thank you so much.


1) Hip mobility is probably not ah uge limiting factor from what you are telling me. However it might become one if you do not apply yourself techically... first use a fairly wide stance (I`d say about 2-3'' wider than your front squat stance per side) and focus on pushing your knees out when going down (and up).

2) Most people try to hold the bar with the amrs and delts, when the weight gets heavier the tendency will be to bring the bar forward to put the delts in a better mechanical position anbd you will drop the bar. Think about the UPPER BACK holding the barbell: squeeze both shoulder blades together and contract the traps... this is the ''lock'' that keeps the bar in place. As for your arms only think about being bone on bone and trying to spread the bar appart.

3) Do 3 sets of 5 reps with a 2 seconds pause at the bottom of each rep, and a 10 sec pause at the end of the last rep... use a light weight just to master the position. Do that at the beginning AND end of every single workout you do. Gradually add weight, but only when you can maintain perfect positions and stability.


@CT: You were absolutely 100% correct, it was improper technique. I was pushing my butt back instead of my knees out. I have a lot of respect for you as a coach, you figured out the problem without even seeing me do it! Thank you, I appreciate your time & expertise. I can actually do this barefoot without my Olympic lifting shoes.


Well, I coached well over 400 people on the olympic lifts and that is by far the most common problem with the overhead squat, especially with those with a previous lifting background. So it wasn't really hard to figure out.