OVERHEAD SQUATS : THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

written by Colin Jenkins

Overhead Squats are not for everyone.

Let me rephrase that. Many of us do not have the mobility and/or stability to include weighted Overhead Squats safely or productively in our training.

I know, I know…you look around and everyone seems to be doing overhead squats. Knees may be collapsed in, back completely rounded, and shoulders rolled forward, but hey…its a functional movement right? We all need to train it right?

Wrong. Our goal of course, is to get everyone to the point where they have adequate mobility and stability to safely overhead squat and benefit from doing so, but that doesn’t mean everyone is there yet. In fact, most of us probably are not.

There are lots of reasons you may not be able to yet achieve a decent Overhead Squat. Maybe you need stability work, maybe your hips or too tight, maybe your upper back is chronically rounded and your shoulders are too far forward… either way, these are aspects of your fitness that need to be taken care of to some degree before you start adding weight or volume to the overhead squat. You don’t need perfection to train these movements, but you do need to be able to get into safe positions with some consistency.

No matter what, we always work our athletes on Overhead Squats with a PVC, which helps build the flexibility and re-enforce our bodies with good movement patterns.  But once we ditch the PVC, only those of us who can get into decent positions should be training this movement with any type of load. There are lots of other movements such as front squats, goblet squats, zercher squats (we haven’t seen this yet…but we will) that will benefit you to work on. Don’t worry if your not quite able to do Overhead Squats yet…use it as motivation to work on your flexibility and stability!

The Overhead Squat is an amazing lift with tremendous benefit for those who train it. It is quite an accomplishment when you have developed the mobility and stability that is required to start training them. But until then, they may not be the best tool to enhance your fitness and athleticism….yet