The people who say squatting is bad for your knees are usually the same ones screaming about how overhead squatting is bad for your back. It’s only “bad” if you want your lower back to remain weak and unstable and you prefer the rounded shoulders that every desk jockey on the planet has. All the overhead squat does is expose weakness—and provide the very training stimulus you need to correct that weakness.

You already know that overhead pressing works the shoulders and, secondarily, the core. With a wide grip and heavy weight, the overhead squat works the shoulders and core—as well as the lats, rhomboids, spinal erectors, and, of course, legs. Follow the step-by-step guide to the overhead squat at right, then try one of these.

The Overhead Squat: Nate’s Advice

The Move

1. Grab a loaded barbell with a wide grip and press it overhead.

2. “Shrug” your shoulder girdle upward and lock out your elbows to steady the bar in place with your head pushed slightly forward.

3. Engage your abs and lats to keep perfect tension in your upper body.

4. Descend into a low squat, leading with your hips. Your arms will want to bend during the descent, but keep them locked out. Engage your glutes and hamstrings to return to the start.

Overhead Squat: 10 reps x 10 min. (EMOM*)

*Every minute, on the minute.

No. 2
Overhead Squat and Chest-to-bar Pullup: 21, 15, 9 (reps)