T Nation

Overhead Squat


I have incorporated the overhead squat into my latest workout program, and am seeking opinions on a question I have.

My primary goal for using this total-body exercise is to improve overall flexibility (as Dan John suggests, this exercise is a cure-all for many ails).

As expected from my readings on the OH squat, I find I can use lightweights only if my heels are flat on floor, or progressively heavier weights if I elevate my heels.

My question is: which is best for achievement of my flexibility goal:

  1. Lightweight, heels flat on floor;
  2. Lightweight, heels elevated a little;
  3. Heavyweight, heels elevated a little more?
  4. All of the above...




If you have problems with keeping your heels on the floor keep going light until you develop the flexibility to go heavy. Things take time, in life, and in lifting. If you're too hasty, you'll get nowhere.


Thanks. I can easily keep my heels down, but in doing so, my arms come forward (poor flexibility...somewhere) so I have to reduce the weight. What I don't know is if that's better for improving flexibility than deliberately going heavier with heels elevated by standing on a plate?



I have the same problem. I use Kettlebells, and when I try to rush to lift or go up in weight I start to lose form rather quickly. I have been doing for about a month and a half now and have noticed a considerable increase in my form and ability to do the Overheads. I can only do them sumo but i squat sumo in meets so it does seem to be an issue. If I try to bring my legs in then I go right back to square one w/ my form.


The heels flat approach identifies a weakness. Therefore, you should attack it and bring it up to par with your heels elevated numbers then return to altrnating each style of OS.


-i use the all of the above approach.

-i also vary my the width of my grip: snatch grip is easiest and most stable. clean grip hardest.

-pointing your toes out will give you more clearance.

-prolly most important is make sure you have total lockout. reach for the sky and shrug you shoulders. that last 1/4 inch makes all the difference.


Yeah sounds like flexibility issues in your ankles and shoulders. Try varying the width of your grip and the width of your leg stance. A wider grip on the bar and a wider stance may help.


Sorry for interuptting this post, but how do you get the weight not to hurt the wrists that much?. My wrists hurtttt when doing OH squats and Im wondering if this can be bad for them in the long run or something??



My wrists hurt for the first 6-8 months. Now they are more flexible and I train without wrist pain. I just hung in there.


I can't stress how important the right foot gear is. For Powerlifting style Chucks rule. But anything in Olympic style fashion like front Squats and Overhead squats Olympic lifting shoes make all the difference in the world. I got mine from these guys.



If your heels raise, your calves are probably tight. Flexible calves make it easier to keep the weight on your heels as you get lower in the OHS.

Continue stretching everything! ahhaha


i noticed my heels raise also(when wearing chuck taylors,not when wearing ..say running shoes or higher soled shoes), but i never gave it much thought because i am under the impression that this is why OLY lifters wear those higher soled shoes, like CT's blue addidas(he's got many pictures on the site wearing them). i just thought it was better for you when doing OLY to have a raised heel.--just a thought, something i've noticed on most OLY lifting pictures i've seen.


I have this same problem, even though I have been overhead squatting for over a year. I do not know anything about long term effects, but heavily wrapping the wrists in tape does a lot to alleviate the pain and is a common practice among weightlifters.


I don't have any pain w/ Kettlebells. I can postion my hands in a nuetral way so they aren't twisted. It's just harder to hold the bells up equally than it is using a barbell for me. No wrist pain just cramping shoulders.