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Old 07-08-2010, 03:05 PM   #1
Daniel Tysinger
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Overhead Squat Help

I really need some help here, as my overheads are pathetic. I can do back squats fine, and easily get my butt to ankles, so I think the problem lies in my shoulder flexibility. No matter how hard I try my arms always fall forward when squatting, and I can't even make it halfway down the ROM before I'm leaning forward and all the weight is on my toes. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:34 PM   #2
Jason Martin
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Re: Overhead Squat Help

This happened to me until I widened my grip on the bar almost all the way out to the ends (of the grippable area) . Worth a try if you are not doing this already.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:47 PM   #3
Justin Keane
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Re: Overhead Squat Help

My O/H game was pretty poor until I made it a priority: 3 sets of 10-15 O/H Squats with a PVC pipe as part of every warmup. As Dan John says, if it's important, do it every day.

If your air squat and back squat are in good shape already, you'll really want to use those warmup sets to work on pushing the bar up as you simultaneously work to 'pull it apart.' That should do a lot to work the idea of keeping the bar in its slot as you descend. Don't stress too much about a little forward lean with the torso; if you watch a great snatch in slo-mo, you'll see a little bit of lean--totally necessary to keep the bar over your center of gravity.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:10 PM   #4
Boris Bachmann
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Re: Overhead Squat Help

I think there are some tips in the following videos and blog posts that may be of help to you. IMHO, proper stretches, pullovers, etc. are well worth the time for people working toward proper OHSQs.
Squat Rx #9 (JV Squat & OHSQ):
Scapular Mobility Work:
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:20 AM   #5
James Orr
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Re: Overhead Squat Help

Originally Posted by Justin Keane View Post
As Dan John says, if it's important, do it every day.

. . . work on pushing the bar up as you simultaneously work to 'pull it apart.'
These are precisely the two things I've been working on and was going to recommend. I've been following Dan John's 40 day strength program. I strained both hamstrings and decided to do the 40 day as a way of strengthening them back up. As part of that, I'm doing 2 sets of 3 overhead squats every day.

Moving slowly and focusing on pushing the bar up when I'm in the bottom of the movement have really helped me to start developing this. I mean, I couldn't even do the empty bar when I started. I'm just doing it every day, trying to keep it light, and adding 2 1/2 lbs a week. It's Pavel's grease the groove concept.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:15 AM   #6
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Overhead Squat Help

Do some bar dislocates/pass-throughs for pec and shoulder mobility, and check out all of Kelly Starrett's CFJ videos about improving hip and hamstring mobility. That will fix the problems most people have.

James' recommendation is also a good one--awhile back as part of my warmup I started doing 2 sets of 5 OHS three or four times per week with a weight I could easily have done for ~10 reps, focusing on perfect form and staying tight throughout. Every week or two I bumped the weight up by 5-10lbs and that made a big difference over the course of a few months.

Are you working OHS with PVC or with a bar? For some people adding a little weight has a way of correcting their form and actually making the OHS easier...I know I have trouble getting my arms and shoulders where they need to be in a perfect down position without any weight in my hands.
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:24 AM   #7
Daniel Tysinger
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Re: Overhead Squat Help

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, I'll certainly give them a shot soon.

Eric, I have been using an olympic bar, I tried using a dowel to practice but that was even harder so the added weight does help.
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