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How to: The Overhead Squat

Kick-start all-around improvement with this overlooked bodybuilding gem.

By Rob Sulaver
overhead squat

How flexible are you? How stable is your core, particularly the muscles in your lower back? To find the answers to these questions, you need to start overhead squatting.

The overhead squat, once used primarily by Olympic lifters, has come into vogue of late thanks to extensive use by CrossFit practitioners. They’ve definitely uncovered something good—a lift that will challenge your body from head to toe.

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How to:

Start out by learning proper technique with a broomstick, dowel, or length of PVC pipe.

  • Hold the bar toward its ends and raise it, snatch style, over your head, so it’s directly above your ankles with your arms fully extended.
  • Sit your hips back as far as you can and squat your butt down between your feet.
  • Don’t be afraid to go all the way down; if you have healthy joints, there’s no reason not to go past parallel with this move.
  • Use your lower back to keep you stable at the bottom, then use your quads and hamstrings to stand back up.

Tips

1. Get Warm

Mobility is crucial here, so properly warm up your shoulders, spine, and ankles for best results.

2. Be Fresh

Overhead squat early in your routine. Don’t fatigue your shoulders before you get under the bar.

3. Use Your Head

Keep the bar at or behind the center of your head. This will help you lock it in place at the bottom.

The Workout:

Exercise Sets Reps
Overhead Squat 3 8
Front Squat 3 8
Single-Leg Squat 3 8 Each Side

 

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