Overhead Squats - great movement, or greatest movement?

Discussion in 'Gator Country Health and Fitness' started by BossaGator, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. BossaGator
    Offline

    BossaGator VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    4,724
    Likes Received:
    124
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Ratings Received:
    +410
    The title of the thread is obviously tongue-in-cheek since there's probably no single movement that is the be-all end-all of strength or conditioning, but if there were one my vote would probably be for the overhead squat. If you're not doing them, and have access to the equipment, consider adding them into your workouts. Fantastic for full body strength, core stability, shoulder strength, and linking up lots of those muscle groups that lots of folks seem to want to isolate.

    Here's a seminal online article by Dan John about the overhead squat and his exposure to it. Depending on your body composition and fitness level, his standard of 15 reps (presumably unbroken) at bodyweight is no mean feat. I can't do it now, and I've been overhead squatting for a while.

    Nonetheless, if you're looking to add any new exercises in the new year or for any other reason, seriously consider the overhead squat.

    And if you don't have access to barbells, consider doing them one-handed with dumbbells or kettlebells.

    http://danjohn.net/the-overhead-squat-article/
  2. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,046
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings Received:
    +822
    Although I've never incorporated them into a routine, I have commonly used the bodyweight version as a preparatory movement. And for me, I like the way it enforces thoracic extension, fires the all-important muscles between the shoulder blades and also provides for an active stretching of the pec minor, which tends to be tight. I especially like the wall-facing OHS.

    I've also used it to assess movement, early-on, in my trainees. However, I'm more circumspect then the FMS crowd regarding what OHS performance means when I see it. In my experience, an ugly OHS may mean nothing more than lack of familiarity with the movement. Often, a little bit of tweaking clears it up.
  3. BossaGator
    Offline

    BossaGator VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    4,724
    Likes Received:
    124
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Ratings Received:
    +410
    Good point. Heavy weight, or even any weight, isn't necessary to get lots of the benefits of OHS. Even on days when I don't have them as part of my workout, I typically do a couple warmup sets of 10 or so OHS with a PVC length or a broom handle. I also see them done with arms extended upwards and nothing in the hands.
  4. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,046
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings Received:
    +822
    If anything, nothing in the hands makes it harder to extend the arms overhead. I find that my trainees do better holding something as inconsequential as a yardstick makes the movement easier.

    I also like the four-point squat as a preparatory movement:

    (1) bend over and touch toes (2) squat down (3) raise arms overhead (4) stand back up
  5. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,046
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings Received:
    +822
    If I only had, say, two minutes to warm up, I might do the four-point squat, a side lunge and then maybe a reverse lunge with a contralateral twist. Basically, puts the upper and lower body through flexion and extension and also three planes of motion.
  6. StrangeGator
    Online

    StrangeGator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    27,488
    Likes Received:
    352
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Chicago
    Ratings Received:
    +965
    My little brother and I were just talking about this while I was visiting Florida for the holidays. He's an avid Olympic lifter and likes this exercise to refine his form. He just moved to Panama City from Germany a few months ago and has a nice home gym. He's trying to get a lifting team started at the high school where he's teaching. He's also starting a chess club. That would have to be a first to coach Olympic weight lifting and chess at the same time.
  7. BossaGator
    Offline

    BossaGator VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    4,724
    Likes Received:
    124
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Ratings Received:
    +410
    Yeah, I actually think it's a fairly different movement with nothing in the hands as IMO part of the point is having the plane of the bar, lathe, ruler, whatever to control. I think it's too easy to make subtle movements with the arms when each arm can move freely & isn't tethered to the other.

Share This Page