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Old 10-30-2011, 06:51 PM   #1
Bradley James Thompson
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Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

Do you pinch your shoulder blades together or not? If I pinch my shoulder blades together I lose a lot of tension in my lats, but of course gain it elsewhere. What's the right way?
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:05 PM   #2
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

With active shoulders the tops of your shoulder blades will move together. What you are looking for is the good active shoulders (pressing shoulders toward ears). The top of the shoulder blades coming together is one of the features but not the goal in and of itself.

Hope that helps.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:38 PM   #3
Neil Kanterman
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

One cue that really helped me was to grip the bar and act as if you are trying to bend the bar in half while it is overhead. It really accentuates the external rotation necessary to help stabilize the bar overhead.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:37 PM   #4
Bradley James Thompson
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

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Originally Posted by Neil Kanterman View Post
One cue that really helped me was to grip the bar and act as if you are trying to bend the bar in half while it is overhead. It really accentuates the external rotation necessary to help stabilize the bar overhead.
Does that mean the lats aren't flared out much, or at all?
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
Thomas Davenport
 
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

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Originally Posted by Brendan McNamar View Post
With active shoulders the tops of your shoulder blades will move together. What you are looking for is the good active shoulders (pressing shoulders toward ears). The top of the shoulder blades coming together is one of the features but not the goal in and of itself.

Hope that helps.
In this Crossfit Journal video (which is safe for work), Burgener seems to argue against "active shoulders"
http://journal.crossfit.com/2011/08/burggrip.tpl#_login.

Several comments to the video raised the fact that this was inconsistent with the "active shoulders" instruction. For example:

"Always love Coach B's stuff. I learn so much every time. However, I am confused about his not wanting the "active shoulder" or "shoulders in the ears" position on the top of the snatch. This directly contradicts years of crossfit teaching I have experienced. In fact, it contradicts the first 30 seconds of Carl Paoli's August 4 Journal video where he talks about why the active shoulder is useful. I'd love to have someone in the know weigh in here on the issue."

I do not believe that HQ has ever this clarified this point. Someone else suggested in the comments that Coach B.'s instruction was inconsistent with the Level 1 Cert. Class.
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:26 PM   #6
Brian Strump
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

Shoulders to the ears for "active" shoulders in not correct, unless the goal is to create a more unstable environment for the glenohumeral joint. Not sure where/why they teach it as they do at the cert, but that is putting the shoulder joint in a biomechanical disadvantage.

Packing the shoulder, cue the scapula to move posterior and inferior is what you want to protect your shoulder joint. It's the same as you'd want before bench press and deadlift.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:25 AM   #7
Neil Kanterman
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

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Originally Posted by Bradley James Thompson View Post
Does that mean the lats aren't flared out much, or at all?
Not sure what you mean, but the lats are clearly tight and "on" when I have the bar overhead.

Right now put your fists overhead as if there was a bar overhead. Now externally rotate your arms/act as if you are trying to snap the bar in half. That's what I mean.
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
Boris Bachmann
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

I made this video a while back about the overhead squat. I think it's worth watching... wfs - Squat Rx #22: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNl3Vdz-1qU
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:56 PM   #9
Richard Colon
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

I was taught this way in my Olympic Cert. Not Crossfit cert, USAW cert. Take it for whats it's worth..

Hold your hands above your head as though you are holding a bar. Don't worry about any sort of twisting, rotation, squeezing the bar, etc. Just look at your hands. Knuckles should be facing behind you right? Now, just simply squeeze your shoulders towards your ears. Notice that you can do this without your hands changing at all, yet you seem to be "activating" the shoulders right?

Well, when the coach kept saying to activate the shoulders this is exactly what I did. I tried to stay tight and "thought" I was in good shape. We (our class) had the pleasure of a female Olympic lifter that had previously lifted in Beijing 2008, walking around analyzing. Every time, and I mean she did this at least 10 times, I had an "active" shoulder, she nodded at me with a NO, slapped me on my upper back and started twisting my shoulders, forearms, hands, etc. to get me to change (and it was absolutely KILLING me).

Essentially, what she wanted was for me to do the following. Go back to exactly what I said earlier, where you hold your hands over head as though holding a bar. Now, instead of just thinking of "shrugging" shoulders to the bar, try and twist your hands as though you are throwing a punch to someone directly behind you and you want to hit them with your thumbs first. The key is to do this without just twisting at the wrists, as obviously, if you are holding a bar, it won't happen. Instead, get that 'torque' and punch led by the thumb knuckle initiated with the shoulder blades. Inevitably the shoulders will move up towards the bar but not as much as in the 1st example.

There is a difference. For me at least, when I don't make that distinction, heavy weight overhead starts feelin' really wrong.

I guess its basically just the "show the armpits" thing but it helps me to think of it as punching with shoulder blade initiating movement.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:32 PM   #10
Aaron Gainer
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Re: Overhead Squat Shoulder Position

Shoulder flexion and external rotation for the most stable position in the snatch!
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