T Nation

Overhead Squat


Tried it out yesterday, talk about a fucking workout. I was wobbling all over the place. I feel like if I could get that lift into high numbers I would probably have a pretty solid core and power transfer movements would be greatly improved.

Have any of you guys tried it?


Absolutely. I did my overhead squats yesterday too. It is very challenging work, and one of the things I find helps most people is shoulder flexibility. Rather than doing these for reps or weight I use OH squats as shoulder prehab work. I take the reps nice and slow and ensure that I stay in my groove. Really makes you appreciate how hard a full drop snatch is!


i actually did OH squats yesterday too

i love them, but overhead stability is one of my (many) weaknesses and i'm training for oly meets so i had to learn to love them

would love to hear feedback from anyone doing good weight (say over 2 plates for reps) if they did anything that helped speed up the process or just basic progression like anything ...also using bumper plates or is there the risk factor of not being able to drop the weights (or not supposed to anyways)


Great exercise. I always just wrote them off as a light exercise. I never thought they would stimulate my leg muscles verry much but I felt like my legs got a great workout doing them. My shoulders got stronger my core is stronger. I feel like by doing them I have increased my overall strength.

Lesson I learned, Don't write an exercise off until you try it.


I use it as a warm-up/mobility drill on Squat day, it really loosens up my groin and shoulders, and gets me ready to heavy back squat. I just do a couple of sets for reps (10, normally), going down very slowly and pausing at the bottom, trying to get a good stretch. Since I added to my routine, ATG squat has become more ATG...:slight_smile:


Quick question:

Can OH squats be a good substitute with front squats and back squats? Can they actually provide as much leg stimulus as front squats and back squats?


I've always wanted to do OH squats, but I'm having doubts.


No, they won't be a good substitute for Back squats or front squats. I don't think you can load the muscles enough with overhead squats. Also, overhead squats seem to hit the muscles a little differently.

If you have always wanted to do them you should do them. They are a great exercise. IMO they are just more of an assistance exercise. I like them for sholder stability and hip mobility.


Would they provide enough stimulus for the lower body?


Chances are that unless you are an elite level olympic lifter you are not going to be able to do enough weight on an overhead squat to have the same stimulus as a front or back squat. Even then, the elite olympic lifter will be working under the maximal load for his legs. So basically the answer is no... not a substitute.

However, that really isn't why you do OH squats. This would be like having concerns about barbell curls as a sufficient back exercise. That isn't really what it is for. Curls and OH squats are good in their own right, but if you are looking for them to be something they are not... well, you will be disappointed.


if you arent overhead squatting weights in and around your frontsquat or backsquat i would say thats your answer right there

do them, just dont do them Instead of your regular squats


He already answered your question once... Why ask the same exact question again?

In my opinion, overhead squats are extremely over-rated. Unless you are an olympic lifter, I really see no need to use them as part of an actual workout. If I want to work on shoulder stability, core strength, or hip mobility, I'll focus specifically on those issues seperately from my normal lifting. I've seen guys focus their entire leg workout around the overhead squat before, and that's just a mistake to me.


I did overhead squats yesterday. I do them bi-weekly along with drop snatch to help the snatch.

When I started out with them there was a lot of wobbling and core work to stabilise. But after getting comfortable with the lift and moving bigger weights I started to feel it less in the core and more in the shoulders and legs.


counterfeitsoda, i see what you're saying, but if you were to follow the logic used, you could just as easily say why squat at all, when you can work each body part seperately instead

although to base a whole workout around the overhead squat would be dumb for most people (there is arguments but for most people, you're right, it wouldnt be good)...but i dont know that one instance is enough to say that they're overrated for most people

edit, something to keep in mind (for everybody) is that some people (typically athletes more so than formerly sedentary people) dont need to do hardly any stabilization exercises...they can do the main core lifts, continously getting stronger, without having to spend extra time on core, mobility, etc. because their body works the way it was meant to,,,aka the groundwork has been laid....for somebody who doesnt have this background, they will have to spend more time on this sort of thing (even though it seems like a waste of time) to be able to continue moving up in weights, and doing so with minimal injuries


did them today aswell... i use them as a core/power transfer/ staying arched exercise. really like them

40kg 5x5 ATG. good times.


I don't think anyone (other than Type 2B) was trying to make an argument for OH squats as anything other than an assistance exercise. You wouldn't base your entire workout around glute-ham raises either, but I think they are worth doing. Same thing goes for OH squats. In fact, if there is any real complaint about them, it is typically that they are difficult. I think most people assume this is a squat replacement, and they get frustrated when they can't handle much weight.

The squat is only necessary to provide the dynamics and challenge to the core and shoulder girdle... and possibly the hip flexors. Because of the lighter weights, it probably is much safer to drop into a full ATG squat in this way than trying to do it with a heavy front squat. That is assuming you are working on increasing your ROM.


is there not some elite Chinese lifters who can overhead squat more than they can back squat?


thosebananas, you're thinking of front squats, overhead squat more than they front squat (i dont have a reference but this is what is told)


No. That would mean their snatch would be higher than their clean and jerk, and that isn't likely. In the entire history of great Olympic lifters I don't think anyone has even come close to putting up a snatch equal to their clean and jerk.


i think i read/saw it online... was defintly more than back or front squat... may have been something during the olympics...


I remember an interview in Flex a few years back with Mariusz Pudzianowski, in which his C&J was listed as 462lbs. and his snatch was listed as 440lbs. If those weights are accurate, thats a pretty small difference in weight considering the two lifts. Granted, MP isn't an olympic lifter, just a very, very strong dude.