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Old 10-11-2010, 11:39 AM   #1
Bill M. Hesse
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Overhead Squat difficulty

So, in the worst kind of way, I have been trying to work myself into snatches and the OHS. More on the snatches later though as I am focused on getting good OHS form. Basically when just using the bar I feel like I can only get down with everything really wide i.e. wide grip on the bar, wide feet etc. When I go down there is incredible tightness and resistance in my shoulders and back. I have watched more than enough videos of the this movement done properly, yet I just flat fail at a good OHS. Is this limited mobility? Crappy balance? Tighter hams than I think I have? I have tride using a box to make sure I am getting the depth, but it is everything I can do to get my butt down there and it feels like all my back muscle is trying to squish itself tword my spine. It feels like a very stiff movement. For the record, I have no problems with the back squat or the front. Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:42 AM   #2
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

Do a google search on improving thoracic mobility and hip mobility, those are two of the main problems for people on OHS. Foam rolling and lacrosse ball rolling will go a long way. Check out Kelly Starrett's videos on the CFJ and his daily mobility WOD videos.
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Old 10-11-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
Paul Siegel
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

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Originally Posted by Bill M. Hesse View Post
S Basically when just using the bar I feel like I can only get down with everything really wide i.e. wide grip on the bar, wide feet etc. When I go down there is incredible tightness and resistance in my shoulders and back.
Short Version:
-Check your grip-it should be wide
-Fix your squat
-Mobilize the thoracic spine and scapula
-Hip mobilization

Long Version:
Pictures would help immensely in diagnosing this from the arm chair.

I'm going to bet that when you overhead squat you can achieve an okay position overhead but when lowering into your squat youmiss in front everytime. It's important to remember that the bar has to shift slightly back on the descent to stay over the midline.

When you say "wide" how wide are we talking? the grip on the bar, depending on your height and arm length, should be relatively close to collar to collar, at least a couple of fingers outside the bench press marks on most bars. too narrow a grip would put your shoulders in some odd positions. If you're not flexible than that would be a problem and lead to what you describe in the shoulders.

Wide feet would indicate some problems in your squat, probably in getting your knees out of the way which relates to hip mobility. Kelly Starrett's mobilitywods would be an excellent place to start with that.

If you have an exemplary, mature (upright torso, weight in the heels) squat then thoracic mobilization would be were I'd look. The twin lacrosse ball thoracic mobilization have given some of my clients almost instantaneous improvements in OHS ability, the same with the "beer keg" stretch shown in the journal. Brutal but effective. Hope on your foam roller (you do have a foam roller don't you?) and treat your business were you find it.
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Old 10-11-2010, 12:18 PM   #4
Bill M. Hesse
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

I will try to get a couple of photos next time I go to the gym. But as far as my foot stance goes, they are probably 2-2.5 feet apart at the heels and probably a foot or very near that in all other squats, deads etc. so my foot position is much further apart when doing overhead practice. I have progressed to being able to get my arms to stay behind the head and over what seems to me to be midline. My hands grip somewhere around my index finger wrapping around the ring. Often times my hips ache a bit the day after this. Not grinding pain or anything, but sort of a dull ache. Thanks for the links, going to check them out and no I don't have a roller
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:20 PM   #5
Thom Knapp
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

When I first started CF OHS were my worst nightmare and to be honest, they still are. My coaches immediately pointed out what the above posters have mentioned and I really focused on my t-spine and hip mobility and things have improved greatly.

One other thing that I implemented that really helped... OHS everyday. I do 30 OHS with a PVC each day as part of my warm up and focus on perfect form, it really helps train your muscles to get into that position.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:05 PM   #6
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

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My hands grip somewhere around my index finger wrapping around the ring.
That's not especially wide for someone 5'11". Can you do a passthrough (aka shoulder dislocate) using that grip and a PVC pipe?
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:39 PM   #7
Bill M. Hesse
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

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Originally Posted by Lincoln Brigham View Post
That's not especially wide for someone 5'11". Can you do a passthrough (aka shoulder dislocate) using that grip and a PVC pipe?
I if I want, I am able to put my hands all the way to the ends of the grippable area on the bar, but is seems more comfortable to to grab around the ring or just outside it. I will try get a photo or two up today once the gym opens. I beat myself down the last couple days and am doing a non-violent crisis intervention instructor course this week so I am going to limber up. Might shep more light for you wonderful guys and gals.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:59 AM   #8
Bill M. Hesse
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

So would you know it? I checked out that mobility WOD and looked for hip stuff and viola! I was not only able to work up to 95lbs but able to touch my butt down to a 20lb medicine ball! Huge improvment for me. I guess my shoulder felt the strain b/c my hips were tight and limiting movement so I overcompensated by pushing the weight further back? Anyway, when I get some time I will post some stuff in digital coaching.
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
Kris Arbanas
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

I am the exact same size as you and have the same problems with OHS. I can squat 260lb+ but can't even OHS the bar Please post which mobilility exercises you did to overcome this!
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Old 10-15-2010, 03:03 PM   #10
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: Overhead Squat difficulty

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I guess my shoulder felt the strain b/c my hips were tight and limiting movement so I overcompensated by pushing the weight further back?
Yes.

When one joint lacks flexibility another joint often has to make up the difference. Flexibility problems in the former may cause pain in the latter. This is true of many situations such as wrist pain and front squats, back pain and overhead presses, etc. What this shows is that just because your shoulders hurt from overhead squats it doesn't mean that the problem is with the shoulders.
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