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How to fix your Overhead Squat – Part 2

Overhead Squat Problem #2: Torso Position

Here is another tip from Tabata Times that might help you with your overhead squat lift today.
Forward leaning torso, armpits facing the floor, toes flared out. Not so good. At least he seems happy.

Yes, this is the major cause of you dumping most of your weights in front of you.

You begin your squat with the bar overhead in a perfect position, arms straight, torso completely vertical, armpits facing forward, shoulders packed in. Then as soon as you begin to lower your body down, your arms rotate forward and your armpits end up facing the ground.

This can put your shoulder in a compromised position, placing a large amount of the strain on the anterior side of the joint — not to mention that yes, this is the major cause of you dumping most of your weights in front of you. You can probably get away with this when the weights are light, but as soon as the they become substantial enough, you will not be in a position that is capable of supporting the load. This is most likely not due to the mobility of the shoulder or lack thereof, but the torso angle changing from completely vertical when standing to much farther forward as you begin to squat.

The Fix:

There is no easy fix here; it is just going to take hard work. Take a light bar or PVC pipe and put it overhead in a perfect position. Torso should be vertical, arms should be straight, and armpits should be facing straight ahead. Face a mirror and begin the slowest squat of your life. Move down at literally an inch a second, and then come back up as soon as you start to see your armpits rotating down towards the ground. Assume the perfect overhead position again and then squat again. Fight to stay vertical. You should be able to get a little lower with each rep, even if it is just a 1/2 inch each time, take it. Once you reach a point where there is no more noticeable improvement or fatigue has set in to the point where you can no longer hold a good position, take a break. Repeat this process 3 times every other day and you will gain the ability to stay vertical in your squat and keep your shoulders healthy.

How to fix your overhead squat?

A blast from the past – Nancy Challenge in 2010

In light of the skill of the month and the workout today – Nancy, I have re-posted an excerpt from Tabata Times about overhead squat issues.  Please take a look below:

Overhead Squat Problem #1: Ankle/Hip Mobility

When you attempt your OHS, have you noticed that your toes turn out as you get lower in the squat? If so, your ankles are not dorsiflexing enough to achieve the proper depth; as a result, your body is finding a way to accomplish what you are asking of it by spinning the toes out. Most of the time this will be at the cost of the knees caving inwards and the weight shifting towards the ball of the foot, putting excessive strain on the medial side of the knee. This will cause your performance to suffer due to instability and the inability of the posterior chain to fire in this poor position. It will put the strain primarily on the quads and can cause overuse injuries over time.

Does your low back round and butt tuck under at the bottom of your squat? This also will create a unstable position and a potentially harmful position when loaded. When the back rounds, it essentially turns off the glutes and hamstrings in the bottom of the squat. These large muscle groups need to be incorporated into the movement if large loads are the intent.

You could probably squat 45 pounds all day with your low back rounding at the bottom, but 245 pounds would be a whole different story. The bottom of your squat will be the point where your low back starts to round until you can gain the mobility in the hips and ankles and the stability in the lumbar spine to squat all the way to the bottom.

The Fix:

Grab hold of a rack or other solid object for balance and squat down to the bottom of your squat keeping your back flat. Now one side at a time, shift your weight forward flexing ankle as much as possible. Be sure that the heel stays down, and the knee moves forward — not in — out over the toes. Spend at least two minutes every other day working on this and you should see a noticeable improvement within two weeks or less. This can also do wonders for tight hips. While you are in the bottom, use your elbow to push the knees out, stretching out the adductors. Use the rack to pull your hips toward your ankles in the bottom. Work hard to keep your back flat.

Flossing the Anterior chain

For all those athletes that have super tight hip flexors (psoas) and have a forward chest lean in their squats, here is a variation of my fav banded distraction hip complex!

Check out the video and give it a try and let me know what you think 🙂

Coaches Notes:

  • We did this workout June 6th, we would like to see you challenge yourself by lifting heavier (5-10lbs more) this time around.
  • The focus still is on perfect form for each rep and muscular strength rather than endurance.  This means, choosing a heavier weight and doing less rounds.
  • Choose a weight that you can do a round every 1 -2 minutes.  If you are completing 20 or more rounds (and you are not RX), then you have scaled too much.