In the CrossFit repertoire, the overhead squat is upheld as one of the most vexing movements. It puts to test your balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength. Because of this, many athletes avoid spending hours developing the tools they need for a stronger overhead squat.
There is a wrong perception that as long as an athlete has a good deadlift or back squat form, there is nothing else to worry about. The truth is an overhead squat is much more important and can help you reap the most from your CrossFit workout of the day.
Getting better at overhead squats has an overflow effect on the skills you develop and are transferred to other movements such as the snatch. If you are keen on developing your overhead squat, below are tips to start you off.
Identify and Work on Your Mobility Deficiencies
In order to progress and perform an overhead squat, you must first have a solid squat foundation. The overhead squat places huge demands regarding mobility and flexibility in the hips, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and adductors. Chances are low that you are highly mobile in each of these areas. The task, therefore, is to sufficiently mobilize the muscle groups mentioned above so that you can become comfortable as you squat with a bar overhead.
Develop Your Midline Stability
In order to perform an overhead squat, you require a high degree of midline stability. Because this CrossFit workout movement involves holding a weighted bar overhead, you will also require a high amount of core stability. Much of the stability work in the overhead squat goes to the core which is predominantly the lower back. This means if you don’t have a stable midline, you may be vulnerable to hyperextending your lower back which may further result in unfavorable overhead position and injuries.
Don’t Start with a PVC Pipe Instead Pick the Right Weight
One of the difficulties associated with an overhead squat is in keeping the weighted bar over your base. When you use a PVC pipe, you can easily lock it out in all places some of which may be incorrect without realizing it. It is important for you to feel the bar so that you can develop the right position. A barbell or training bar can help you do this.
Press into the BarWhen doing the overhead squat, your focus should be on lifting and pushing the weight not just holding it. The body wants to move as a unit as you execute the dynamics of physics. This means as you descend, your muscle groups will relax and depress. The scapular group switches from elevation to depression while the upper traps switch to bigger balance with eccentric from concentric contraction. The last thing you want is for your muscles to be depressed and relaxed during this CrossFit exercise. Instead, they should be flexed so that they can form a solid support base for the overhead weight.
As you descend into the bottom of your squat, do not rush out of it rather stabilize in the hole. Doing this reduces the chance of losing control of the bar path as you rise out of your squat.