T Nation

The Overhead Squat

hi guys. in my attempt to learn really cool shit to do in the gym, i have set my sites on the overhead squat and then the sott press with a barbell and a KB(not at the same time). i can do back/front/zercher no problem, but find i dont have enough shoulder flexibility to keep the bar overhead - it falls forward. i have been doing shoulder dislocations for bout two weeks so far. any suggestions for progression? of course i have looked at youtube videos and stuff, but id like any ideas and helpful tips from you guys

Keep doing shoulder dislocations, and stretch your pecs. Start to do some thoracic spine extensions on foam rollers, and things like scapular wall slides and scap push-ups. I’m also interested to know what others will recommend from a curiosity standpoint.

For me it was hard to balance when i first started… i soon learned practicing my snatch alot helped me.

What’s the difference with a back zercher and a front zercher?

i meant back squat, front squat…and zercher squats

It’ll take longer then 2 weeks to get the flexibility for a proper OHS for most people.

Stick with the advice from above and practice with a broomstick sitting in the OHS position for 5seconds and move in all direction SLOWLY to help you get use to it. I emphase the broomstick as the bar maybe be too hard on your wrists to start with for 5second reps! It’s very tough on your wrists!

Koing

i have started doing that, and understand that it isnt someting i can just do after a few trys, but dman its gonna be worth it.

Pvc/Broomstick practice every single day for a few sets of 5-10 reps. Do it long enough, your mobility and flexibility will be vastly improved!!!

Don’t forget thoracic mobility - IME it’s just as important as shoulder flexibility in getting a solid overhead position.

On a side note: For those putting up decent numbers on the overhead squat, do you keep your wrists perfectly straight or do they end up falling back? I find it incredibly difficult to keep them straight, and the cocked back position can be very uncomfortable… I’m just wondering whether this is a technique issue or just something that needs to be worked through.

[quote]OlympicLifter wrote:
On a side note: For those putting up decent numbers on the overhead squat, do you keep your wrists perfectly straight or do they end up falling back? [/quote]

They should be bent back slightly, the same as the catching position for a snatch

[quote]Koing wrote:
It’ll take longer then 2 weeks to get the flexibility for a proper OHS for most people.

Stick with the advice from above and practice with a broomstick sitting in the OHS position for 5seconds and move in all direction SLOWLY to help you get use to it. I emphase the broomstick as the bar maybe be too hard on your wrists to start with for 5second reps! It’s very tough on your wrists!

Koing[/quote]

Started integrating OHS into my workout for past few months and shoulder strength has shot up so much that i’m out pressing my mate who was pressing way more than me as little as a month ago.

koing u were amazing in Gladiators last year, I was rooting for you to win!! I tried to get on in the 2nd season but unfortunately I was/still am in such bad shape so didn’t make it past the 1st round of tryouts lol. how many rounds of tryouts did u have to go through??

wows, thanks for all the replies guys

[quote]ninearms wrote:
Don’t forget thoracic mobility - IME it’s just as important as shoulder flexibility in getting a solid overhead position.[/quote]

I totally agree with the above statement, it’s not so much getting your shoulders opened up to allow them to go overhead in that position as it is getting your whole upper body to move back in that position in a stable manner. If you have a bit of a hunch-back it will be really hard to get that balance overhead.

I would also add that in my case hip/ankle mobility had a lot to do with being able to overhead squat properly (something I’m actually still working on, I still tend to have a pretty wide stance). I believe Dan John talked about in his free e-book to overhead squat or squat in an olympic style you need to drop down between your hips. If you can’t drop down between your hips you will likely have balance/stability problems because the bar will end to far forward. You really want almost a straight line between from the barbell down to the mid-foot.

I can only echo those ahead of me…

shoulder/thoracic mobility is essential same for hips and ankle work.

I don’t have access to bumpers- and by no stretch am an expert at best I have passable snatch and OK clean form In the past- when practicing regularly I was OK- so OH squats are something I do plenty of.
things that have helped me- foam rolling or pvc rolling the hips- hip stretches,like the 90/90.
and millions of dislocates.

behind neck push presses and Drop snatches are some good movements that help

My hands bend a little but I want to use wrist wraps- I just did 185x4 yesterday which is maybe 10lbs over body weight- I think its pretty feasible to get to doing that for 10 and moving up to 220lbs or so
over time.