The overhead squat is one of the most challenging exercises for even the heaviest of lifters. No matter how heavy you can squat, chances are you will struggle mastering the overhead squat. The reason is because unlike a regular back squat, the heaviest demand is not simply getting the weight back up to the starting position, but in maintaining proper spinal position with your arms extended over your head. Not only will your legs be required to pull a lot of the weight back up, but your delta will be engaged to maintain the bar overhead. This move calls for incredible stability, core strength and good lower body strength.
One of the easiest ways to improve your overhead squat is to increase the width of your grip. You need a grip wider than your push jerk. To set up for the OHS, I recommend people grip the bar the same as they would their snatch- twice as wide as their shoulder width. Forming a wide ‘v’ when your arms are extended overhead will help stabilize the bar better.
Another tip would be to keep your weight in your heels. Resist the urge to tilt forward onto your toes when you are trying to power your way back up. You risk falling completely forward. The power and drive should come through your heels all the way up. This is where you have the most control and the most stability.
To better stabilize the bar throughout the move, engage your shoulder blades. If your arms are wobbling trying to maintain the bar, you will fail. To keep your upper body under control, pinch your shoulder blades (pull them in). This will help stabilize your shoulders and balance of the bar.
Avoid strain on your neck and keep your head in a neutral position with your eyes facing forward. Where your eyes go, your body tends to follow. Did you ever notice how much better you can balance if you pick a spot and stare at it? Keep your eyes facing forward throughout the movement – don’t look around, up or down.
As with most exercises, the best way to improve is to start with a light weight that you can effectively manipulate with the right form. Gradually increase your form and technique improves.
About Eddie Albert of Ultimate Fit Zone in Monmouth County, NJ
Eddie is a long time fitness expert with a diverse and well rounded background in personal training, body building, CrossFit, metabolic conditioning, speed, power, flexibility, weight loss and more. His career started in the late 80s with the sport of bodybuilding. After competing and winning the title of Mr. New Jersey, Eddie turned his focus to helping others achieve their own health, fitness and wellness goals.
Eddie is an avid CrossFit athlete. He combines his personal training and body building experience with his love for CrossFit to create the ZONE 360 boot camp programming. The boot camp is a true cross training workout that provides participants with the most varied workout. Every day is a new workout at ZONE. The daily challenge is always different and includes a variety of different training crossfitoverheadsquattechniques including TRX suspension training, traditional dumbbell work, metabolic conditioning with burpees, box jumps and wall balls, power lifting moves like the dead lift, overhead squat, snatch, clean and more.