T Nation

Unstable in Overhead Positions


For some reason I am extremely unstable in almost all overhead positions. Especially overhead presses, push presses, and when I try to catch a snatch. I generally don't sway from side to side too much, but once the bar gets to a locked out position I tend to wobble forward and backwards pretty vigorously, to the point where I feel like I may end up dropping the bar. In the snatch, when I catch the bar I most commonly lose it forward but occasionally I'll be a little overzealous when turning the bar over and will lose it behind me, but unless it's a power snatch, it almost never feels stable when I catch it.

Sorry I don't have any videos at the moment, but can anyone offer any advice?


Weak core and posterior chain. I’m not a Oly Lifter but used to have same problem in Strongman with Overhead Events.

Over Head Squats
Over Head Holds- Set some safety catches up well above head Squat under with arms fully extended and stand up. When I had a Push Press of like 240 I could go up to about 350 in this and just feel stupid heavy weight over head.
Overhead Walking
Core Stability lots of weighted Planks helped alot
Suit Case Walks and Deadlifts

Worked great for me.


It would be preferable to post a video but Reed’s take sounds likely. Narrow grip OHS is useful as is seated press, amongst others.


Overhead lockouts/holds FTW!! Those will make you more stable faster than anything I know of.

As mentioned, start with about what you can hold overhead for max right now in the push press or jerk. Go for a hold time of 30-60 seconds for 2-3 sets. Do these once a week and up the weight every week. Try to get to a stupid heavy weight (I really just wanted to use the word “stupid heavy”). Something like 350-400lbs if your best is around 200-250.


Reed’s advice is gold. I’ll also add that you need to make sure you have enough shoulder mobility to properly hit the positions. If you don’t have the mobility then it will be no surprise you feel wobbly as your body tries to compensate for the inability to achieve the proper position.

Another piece of golden advice here in addition to Reeds: do the Sots press. It’s a snatch grip overhead press from the bottom of the squat. Basically back squat down, then sit in the hole and press up. OR, overhead squat down, bring the bar down to your back and press up. It will challenge your body to stay balanced, tight, and strong and it will hammer thoracic spine mobility, shoulder mobility, and your core as you try to balance the weight.

It will be sufficient to start with just the bar.


yes, how are you with your arms overhead generally. how are your pullups?