T Nation

Overhead Squat Flexibility

how can increase my flexibility on the upper portion of my body for this movement? whenever I do these it seems I can’t get the bar far enough behind my head without having the feeling that I am loading up like a rubber band and about to the throw the b.b. at a wall in front of me…I usually feel this at the rock bottom position of thesquat.

sorry about the run on sentence…it is only a few hours past st. paddys day and all heh.

YOu need to increase the flexibility of your chest and shoulders. First, as a part of your warmup do arm circles starting slow and as you work into your warmup do the circles faster and wider. Go through a full ROM in your chest/shoulder exercises. Make sure you are doing adeduate rowing exercises to balance out the benching.

You may want to switch to dumbbell benching instead of barbells for now. While descending into the OHS make sure you are pulling your shoulder blades back. Work with a broomstick until you can hold the position correctly.

Also, check your ankle/hip flexibility. If you are tight in these areas, you can be pulled forward.

The bar should be ABOVE your head, not BEHIND your head. Maybe you haven’t fully recovered from St. Paddy’s Day and it’s your head that’s out of place, not the bar.


My problem is that both my shoulders have been seprated many times, so I always feel a pull in them when I hold that bar over my head and squat down. Sometimes I get numbness, but that’s b/c I’m messed up there. Also if anything I feel like the bar drifts back on me, not forward.

You gotta stay focused and maintain strong posture throughout the movement. Control your descent on the way down (don’t drop). You know what helped me? Narrowing my stance.

Just practice with a dowel or broomstick until you get the hang of it.

When I’m doing them I have my elbows locked, and I try and pull the bar apart. The pulling movement helps keep be bar aligned, at least for me.

A few pointers courtesy of Tommy Kono’s book (just paraphrased, not quoted):

Shoulder dislocates

Get a stick long enough for you to take an overhead squat grip on it. Hold it with straight arms in front of your hips. Grip it tightly and, with locked arms, lift it from there overhead and lower it behind you until the stick rests against your buttocks. Then it bring it back overhead and back around to your hips. Repeat. Take a wide grip here, wide enough that it doesn’t hurt. Cut or draw marks where you take your grip on the stick and strive to narrow them.

Overhead squats

You know the exercise. While you’re doing it, though, concentrate on a couple things to make it easier:

  • Set a wicked arch in your back as you’re descending into the squat, and maintain it as long as possible.

  • Punch your shoulders up ‘into your ears’

  • Rotate your wrists outward, so that the crook of your elbow is facing aggresively away from you, as you descend into the squat.

Great tips! I just saw this video, http://www.thehappybody.com/Video/PostureTest.wmv

I want that flexibility. As of right now, I can’t even snatch without falling backwards. I have poor ankle, thoraic, and shoulder flexibility.

Video courtesy of MR’s interview with Alwyn Cosgrove