T Nation

The Barbell Overhead Squat


Oh my freekin God! I found my favorite exercise ever in the overhead squat. Did it for the 1st time 12/14/05 by 3rd set I was screaming for sweet Jesus. Thought someone may like to know that. Peace.


Um, good job. Mozzle mozzle.


That's cool man, I love OH Squats, too.


curious, what weight did you use? My best is 95lbs I believe, form was probably a tad off though.


hardest exercise i've tried. Good on you for trying it out.

i'm up to 5x5 on it now, but only with 20kgs on the bar [shocking eh!]


i havent incorporated them into my program yet but i have practiced them and sometimes (will do so more now) use them as a warm up just with the bar only...they are difficult but i aim to get them down so i can use them properly one day.

also good to do to help with your snatch, which im guessing you mostly knew anyway lol


I've recently started doing OH squats & they kick my butt. I built up to 115#, I got one rep & almost dropped the second on my head. I can military press more than I can OH squat! What does everyone recommend for fixing that (other than more OH squats)?



Just keep at it dude... I incorporate overhold holds for time as well as walking for a distance with the BB overhead... I'm stuck at 155 lbs PB for now...

I usually go for 3 x 8-10 sets and warm up with separate standing military BB presses and squatting with just the bar and some back hyperextensions to get the area warmed up.

A full body killer this exercise is.


I started off with 95 lbs 12/14 for reps of 12. I added some weight up to 115 and I felt like my lower back was going to fucking explode, so I had to lower the weight. the thing that i noticed is that my form was perfect when i did the OH squat. Its probably impossible to not have perfect form. I found it best to position the weight not directly overhead but almost behind my head like the ending position of a snatch.


snatches, drop snatches, bent presses, clean grip OH squats...


OH squats are easily one of the best exercises, and performing them has helped not only my core strength, but also made my shoulder girdle stronger. Not to mention that everytime I felt like a tough guy, OH squats put me in my place. Talk about humbling! Especially when you consider that guys like Nicu Vlad and Ivan Chakarov, who by today's standards weren't very big, were essentially overhead squatting 180-190 kg during their snatch. Mind-blowing!



I love OH squats, one of my favorites, definitly. Take some time to get used to it- my shoulders were crying the first time I did it. But man I love them.


as apparent from your avatar, you have some left / right asymmetries that may complicate this lift.


That's the whole idea, you have to get it back behind your head as the OHS is essentially the squat part of the snatch. With any significant weight you will lose it if it is directly overhead.

This is what is so great about the exercise, it tells you right away where you are inflexible. Dropping the bar because you can't get your shoulders back far enough? You need to work on shoulder flexibility. Can't maintain an upright torso at the bottom of the squat and keep tipping forward on to your toes? You need to look at your lower back and hip flexibility.

My aim is to get up to bodyweight (95kg) OHS for at least 5 reps by mid next year. At the moment I am not doing them as I am rehabilitating my shoulders with the AC and CW's Monster Shoulders program, but on my last program which focused on O-lifts I used OHS as a warmup for 3x3. By the last workout I was up to 67.5kg, so I still have a bit of work to do.

Just remember to build up slowly and work on form. If you find a flexibility issue work on it with stretching as well as doing OHS.




This and the dead are my fav. lifts as well!

I've been Overheading for about 2-3 yrs now. My personall best was 145 .lbs for 3 reps with perfect form.


185x1, 180x2, 175x3, @180.

Lame, but improving.


Current best is 135x6, but that should go up when I (eventually) do my next oly lift meso. 3rd greatest exercise ever (dead, power snatch are my favs.).


My overheads are going up but my back squat aint. Damn what if it catches up :D?


It is a lot easier to overhead squat coming out of a full snatch than to descent with it and come back up. I find the trickiest part is when I am descending as I go past parallel (I do go ATG).


I agree with this. It may have something to do with the torso leaning forward slightly during the squat action (similar to what happens with a back squat), which means that you really have to fight to keep the bar from moving forward with the torso's momentum.

When coming out of the bottom position your torso starts to straighten and helps keep the bar locked behind the line of your head.

Also, when doing a full squat snatch the stretch reflex you get from such a violent descent into the bottom position would help to lift more weight. Not to mention the fact that because you haven't had to "fight" the weight on the way down you don't tire your shoulders and stabilising muscles as much. Doing snatches for only 1 rep helps with endurance as well!