T Nation

Overhead Squat


Having slight trouble with this need a tip or two.

I have been a competitive power lifter for years and still train heavy just smarter now that I am older.
The over head squat is a challenge for me right now.
A. I am not sure if the straight bar should be slightly extended forward in front and above my head?
Or should it be directly above my head?

B. I am for the first time feeling my heels come up on a squat for the first time. Is this because I am a "hip: squater rather than a “quad dominant” squater?
To compensate my heels come together and I look like a Frog squat LOLO to keep my heels from coming up!
Should I put plates under my heels?

Thanks

Take a look at youtube on some olympic lifting. You should get the idee of how to do a proper overhead from these guys.
Try to always stay on your heels but you probably already knew that.

squeeze your shoulder blades together and squeeze the bar with your hands while pushing out towards the ends of the bar. the bar actually ends up behind your head. practice with the bar only…even a broomstick helps for practice with technique.

In the bottom position the bar should be over your rear delts, i.e. behind your head. You should be pushing up on the bar as hard as you can and your elbows should be rotated out towards the collars.

The OHS position is easier wearing Oly shoes, because they allow the knees to travel forwards a little further and thus bring the hips under the bar a little more. If you’re doing them without Oly shoes then work on your ankle and hip mobility until you can maintain a reasonably upright bottom position with your knees and hips pushed forwards.

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Think of the OHSQ as a BSQ with the bar elevated a foot or so higher. The horizontal position of the bar relative to your body in the bottom position ends up being essentially the same as it is held in the BSQ. Consequently, if you have mechanical errors in your BSQ, they’re going to show immediately in the OHSQ. Fix them if they crop up.

(Obviously I’m referring to a weightlifting style BSQ – relatively high bar, deep, not wide stance.)

If you can’t sit comfortably in the bottom position, there’s a problem with flexibility somewhere along the line. Work band or broomstick dislocates for the shoulders, stretch the chest, keep the ankles flexible and the legs limber. Holding the bottom position with a moderately heavy bar overhead for time after your workouts is a good way to actively stretch the movement; make sure not to relax anything while sitting there.

Once you have the flexibility, the movement is almost trivial to perform (provided you also understand how to lock out a weight overhead). You should be able to progress rapidly to heavy weights. In the long run, working snatch balances / drop snatches is probably a better exercise than the OHSQ itself.

(On the other hand, if you don’t have the flexibility, the difficulty of the movement is greatly increased, which is where the misconception that the movement is actually as difficult as most people make it out to be comes from.)

Yes, if your arms can’t be vertical (or right about so) while your torso is leaned forward, as it will be, then the lift is about impossible.