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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 05-04-2008, 05:44 AM   #1
Bronson Nihill
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overhead squats...impossible?

for some reason im finding it impossible to do overhead squats with a barbell.
my shoulders wont rotate that far back. if i squat down with the bar overhead, im forced to drop the bar in front of me.

does anyone else have this inflexability in their shoulders?

because of this inflexiblility in my shoulders i also find it very hard to hold the bar in a front squat postion, my shoulders fatigue faster than my legs!

anyway, im sure i just have to work on shoulder flexibility.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:06 AM   #2
Scott Allen Hanson
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

Your problem is actually quite common, particularly with men, and even more so in older men.

Work on shoulder flexibility by doing shoulder dislocates with a dowel or pvc pipe. You might have to start with a very wide snatch grip, such that the pipe just barely clears your head. With elbows locked and holding the pipe at your waist, raise the pipe up and over your head. Go as far back as you can, hopefully completely rotating the pipe to your back. Return to front. Make sure the movement is symmetrical (don't lead with either arm). Gradually narrow your grip, and repeat until its difficult.

Another good stretch is to find a surface about waist height and stand 4' to 5' away. Bend at the waist with your palms flat on the surface. Press your chest toward the floor with straight arms and a flat back.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:32 AM   #3
Mark E. Wallace
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

I have the same issue. I'm gradually getting past it by using an SPRI Body Bar (link wfs and just one of the many places to buy these) instead of a barbell. These things come in a range of weights, so you can work your way up.

- Mark
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:44 AM   #4
Joey Powell
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

In case it is not a shoulder flexabiltiy issue and a structural issue instead. Learn to squat with a more Vertical torso.

1. Elevate feet about 1 1/2" to 2".
2. Spread feet slightly wider.
3. angle Feet out to 45 degrees
4. now squat with toes about 1 foot from a WALL, and don't touch the wall. arms out and up in OH squat or snatch catch position.
5. Adjust feet width and angle until you can do this at 6" from the wall and get down to hams to calves.
6. Remove height of heels a little at a time.

Play with it.

Your back squat position MAY NOT be your Front and/or OH squat position.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:24 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

Work on:

1. Your posture
2. Scapular retraction and elevation (band dislocates are one good example, TGUs can help)
3. thoracic mobility
4. hamstring mobility
5. Hip flexor activation

Er, post up a vid so we can see what you're doing (in digital coaching).
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:31 AM   #6
Bronson Nihill
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

thanks for the replies, ill try to work on your suggestions.

im workin on saving for a video camera, so itll be a while til i can get specific feedback.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
Timothy Bartee
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

I experienced teh same thing. I forced myself to do three sets with a broom handle as a warmup before every workout. At first the handle was out front, but as time passed, I was able to keep it where it needs to be.

I now do my warmups with a 45# bar. It is much easier with a very wide grip. I've started very gradually moving my grip in a little closer.

Good luck
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:28 AM   #8
Matt Mendonza
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

Bronson,

I was/am in the same boat. I have terrible shoulder flexibility due to years of rock climbing and no stretching. I have been doing shoulder dislocates for a couple weeks and am seeing marked improvements. When I started I could not dislocate the bar without bending my head to the side to gain clearance, now I have two or three inches over my head.

I would recommend using and unweighted broom or pvc, as doing dislocates with a weighted bar can pull your arms back forcefully and strain your shoulders.

good luck,
matt
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:40 PM   #9
Mark Brinton
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

Same problem. Besides passive flexibility, you will also need strength through the rom (active flexibility). Dumbells help. Press a db overhead and hold it there while maintaining an active shoulder. Gradually work up the weight. Then try OHS w/single db. Then try lunges with alternating overhead dumbells.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:22 AM   #10
Robert Callahan
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Re: overhead squats...impossible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Allen Hanson View Post
Your problem is actually quite common, particularly with men, and even more so in older men.

Work on shoulder flexibility by doing shoulder dislocates with a dowel or pvc pipe. You might have to start with a very wide snatch grip, such that the pipe just barely clears your head. With elbows locked and holding the pipe at your waist, raise the pipe up and over your head. Go as far back as you can, hopefully completely rotating the pipe to your back. Return to front. Make sure the movement is symmetrical (don't lead with either arm). Gradually narrow your grip, and repeat until its difficult.
Do this stretch, and really make sure to keep your arms LOCKED the whole time you rotate them around. I had the exact same problem and finally just got my OHS locked in by doing this and finding the right grip. The right grip is the closest you can get your hands where they can stay locked and rotate around fully. There is a video on the main page about finding the OHS grip that is helpful for this, just found it:

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/C..._OHSBasics.mov

Hope that helps and good luck

-Robert
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Last edited by Robert Callahan : 05-06-2008 at 08:28 AM.
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