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Problems with Overhead Squat, Front Squat


Disclaimer: Not sure how many Lou Schuler's and Mark Rippetoe's are cruising the T-Nation forums but I figure it is worth a shot for some quick advice.

Basic Info: 33 yrs old, 6'4", 180lbs, long torso and long arms/legs. Been lifting seriously (barbell training) for about 3 years. I have read a few good books on training but cannot get a few kinks worked out. Two of which are:

A solid/proper OHS. Arms will not flex back when extended overhead. I have tried taking it slowly and foam rolling for flexibility. I am using a wide grip. I am envisioning pulling the bar apart as I start the decent. Just not working.

Also cannot develop wrist flexion for the "hook grip" with front squats, so that the elbows point out in front. I end up using a cross arm grip, but I dont always want to resort to that.

Obviously there are some shoulder flex issues, but I feel I have worked on it and it has not helped. Don't know what to do next. I want to start training clean and press, but the catch part of the lift does not seem possible.



There are way too many factors that could be contributing, but here are a few of my thoughts:

I would include shoulder dislocates and Cuban rotations in your shoulder flexibility work for OHS if you aren't already including them. Another limiting factor for the OHS might be your ankle flexibility; have you tried doing them with your heels elevated on 5 lb. plates? I've found that trick helps beginners until they develop better ankle mobility (or start training in oly shoes). How wide is your grip? At your height, I'd guess that you should be gripping the bar nearly collar to collar; any closer will probably be too challenging for your frame and flexibility.

Regarding the front squat, you shouldn't be hook gripping the bar. In fact, many lifters don't even grip the bar but rather support the bar with their fingertips. The tighter your grip is, the more demanding it is on wrist flexibility (assuming you're supporting the bar correctly with your delts and have your elbows high).


You feeling it doesn't mean that much. You doing it properly is what counts.

You need to stretch EVERY SINGLE DAY for weeks/ months. This is no sob story mate unless you have had an injury. ASK Deep Squat here on the forums how much crap I gave him at the start of his sessions. He can OHS, Snatch and C&J A LOT more comfortably then he started. Not quite perfectly yet but enough to do 65/95.

He was probably thinking wtf is this clown making me do and b!tching at me for! But guess what? He can do the positions and he can lift without his flexibility being much of an issue. He has a bit further to go but he will get there.

For shoulders I find doing windmills slow and going faster every 5 spins is the best thing. Do at least 45-50 of them. Start slow and go faster and faster. Make sure your arms brush your shoulders on each rep and that your arms are straight.

You only get out what you put in. You just have to be patient and put down the 30mins of stretching every single day. 3x a week is not enough.


Keep plugging away


Listen to Koing - great advice.

Some more great advice...



Is there a reason you want to do these lifts so badly or is it just a personal goal? I mean, are you trying to compete or do you just think they're fun. If you don't NEED to do them, then you might want to move on to exercises you can do and won't hurt you like a dumbbell snatch. If you plan on competing, that's another story.