Why: In order to be successful at the overhead squat, you’ve got to be both strong and flexible—two general physical skills that don’t always go hand in hand. This unique requirement is what makes this movement so frustrating for athletes—you can’t use your brute strength alone to successfully perform overhead squats. But once you get flexible enough and strong enough to perform this movement with ease, there are fewer things more satisfying. And overhead squats are a prerequisite movement to the full squat snatch.
Set-Up: Start with your feet at a shoulder-width stance. Press or jerk the barbell overhead with a wide grip on the bar. Use active shoulders and push up into the bar. Armpits face forward.
Execution: Brace your core. Reach your hips back and down as you descend to the bottom of the squat. At the bottom, your hips should be lower than your knees. Maintain your lumbar curve throughout the squat. Keep your heels in contact with the ground as you descend and ascend. Your knees should track your toes throughout the movement. The bar should be over the middle your feet. Stand tall at the top of the movement to reach full hip and knee extension.
Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– Your hip crease drops below your knee crease at the bottom of the squat
– You reach full hip and knee extension at the top
– Your arms remain locked out overhead
– The barbell is positioned over the middle of your body
Pro-Tip: To help you stay balanced in the overhead squat, look at an unmoving spot on the wall. The spot (a chalk mark, nailhead, gym logo, etc.) should be at the horizon or higher—never look down. This is crucial when you’re going heavy, like in the 2018 CrossFit Southie Showdown WOD “3RM Overhead Squat”.