In addition to using a barbell or other tool that calls for the hands to stay in a fixed relative position, you can perform the overhead squat with hands unlinked. A great place to start when troubleshooting poor overhead position is an unloaded assessment of thoracic extension, shoulder flexion, and shoulder external rotation. Now compare this to the pictures above. Keep in mind that the overhead squat is not a movement to approach lightly. American lifters are often cued to … A stable shoulder blade position on the ribcage requires proper retraction and posterior tilt to support good arm position. They are the “air guitar” of overhead pressing. JTS Strength: FIXING THE SNATCH AND OVERHEAD SQUAT POSITION (link) Some people will actually start to rotate before they even begin to descend in an overhead squat. The overhead squat can be performed as a stand-alone movement and is one of the most effective ways of improving strength, stability and mobility through the shoulders, core, hips, knees and ankles. The first five ‘points of performance’ of the squat lay the foundation for good arm position. They’ll over arch their lumbar spine, flaring their rib cage up due to mobility restrictions in their thoracic spine or shoulders, or at times just due to poor motor control. The overhead squat is the most challenging position that a strength athlete is going to ever need to achieve. For this reason, an ideal position for safely positioning the barbell overhead is with slight shoulder external rotation. It also minimizes hyperextension in the lower back, taking stress out of the spine. If the bar is placed in the proper position in the hand, it will not place undue strain on the wrist. With the correct overhead position, you should be able to lower the bar in a vertical line to the top of your traps and press it straight back up into the correct position without any part of your body moving but your arms. So, what we are looking for when coaching the overhead squat, is for the standing shoulder position (regardless of what rotation bias you choose) and squatting shoulder position to look as identical as possible. A lot of athletes have a difficult time maintaining a neutral spine position during overhead squats. Part of the series: LS - Training & Lifting Weights. The arm needs to be able to move independently of the shoulder blade which is not possible if the external rotators (infraspinatus, teres minor) are ‘stuck’ and limiting the motion of the arms. Shoulder Position in the Overhead Squat with Miranda Oldroyd - Duration: 1:22. The goal is to maintain the PVC pipe balanced up there on your flattened palms while dropping into the squat. Here’s are examples: In the pictures above, Mr. Lu Xiaojun (Olympic champion) is demonstrating a relative amount of shoulder internal rotation. The graphic below shows good retraction and posterior tilt of the scapula – as the shoulder blade rests flush against the ribcage. Quinn also played football at the Div 1-AA level at Valparaiso University, as a defensive back. Which, personally, I think is absolutely hilarious, considering the common thought process is that we do our ‘Y ‘exercises to train the lower trap, and often cue athletes to avoid any degree of shrug or upper trap recruitment. Yep. The rig will force you to keep an upright torso with shoulders fully opened up. Lat Stretch. The rotator cuff stretch applies traction to the shoulder joint-capsule and releases the fascia of the rotator cuff. However, this looks much different than the first picture in the previous series. This step-by-step guide to the overhead squat will help you master the movement and correct common problems. How to do the shoulder flexibility exercise . Keep your hands over your head and your shoulders against the wall as you squat down. I’ll put it simply – the upper trap HAS to fire in an overhead position. Pressing directly overhead (as with the strict straight bar variation) requires a combo of shoulder and thoracic mobility. It’s certainly an active lengthening, reach, shrug (whatever you want to call it) through the plane of the shoulder blade and humerus, but the humeral head stays flush with the front of the shoulder. The point is, we sometimes hear cues that are complete contradictions of each other, but yet, are being utilized for the same exercise. The ‘W’ Exercise – No Money Drill Wide grip, arms locked, bar in the overhead position, core engaged, and shoulders packed. SquatRx ‘Points of Peformance’ There is no forward translation of the humeral head, and the bar is stacked over my upper back, hips, and mid foot – and remains so during the squat. Bad posture can cause shoulder pain. However, just in case, here’s a simple method: With the bar in the rack, position yourself as if you’re setting up for a back squat, with the bar behind your neck. Colin Burns, wrote a great blog for Juggernaut Training Systems discussing how grip wide effects the overhead bar position. A stable shoulder blade position on the ribcage requires proper retraction and posterior tilt to support good arm position. Jerk the barbell overhead so that your elbows are in the fully locked position and your shoulder blades are contracted so that the weight overhead sits stable. The general procedure for the overhead squat is: Start Position. The most important technique note with the overhead squat that we need to discuss is the torso position. It’s just what happens. Don't squat the day after heavy chest or shoulder work. Common Overhead Squat Problem #4: Barbell Doesn’t Track Over Midfoot. So all of ones I listed above could elicit the desired response in a given situation, or likewise, could be misinterpreted. I am fully aware that there is much more to this discussion than simply telling a lifter, “Do this, not this”; and expecting magic to happen. 27 SQUATS WITH JAMI TIKKANEN This is a perfect way to identify any imbalances or sticking points in your squat movement. 27 variations, 27 ways to check for issues that need to be improved. The client should stand with hands overhead, and arms lined up with the ear. Movement. Here is another illustration of this in the sidelying position. The illustration on the right shows an anteriorly tilted shoulder blade that is also restricting shoulder flexion. This is why it is usually the first test we use when someone walks into the gym. It is important to not try to pull the band apart, but to drive the movement from the shoulder blade in coordination with the external rotation of the arms. Since the recent boom in CrossFit, the use of the overhead… You have to practice the overhead squat to master the movement, but it's damn hard. Or try using a slightly wider grip. It requires a great amount of mobility, stability and strength throughout the entire body to be performed well. We’re going to go through three drills we commonly use with people dealing with overhead squat shoulder pain to combat this. Prior to the turn of the century, the overhead squat was primarily used by competitive weightlifters. So, before you get under a loaded barbell, do this drill. Lie on the ground, with your back flat against the ground your feet placed against the wall. Getting into a half kneeling position is the first step to fixing your overhead squat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiking your heels up on plates, EVEN WITH YOUR WEIGHTLIFTING SHOES ON, in an effort to specifically focus on your overhead position during light overhead squat practice. Who cares if you can break parallel in your squat, if your shoulders are not in a position to support any load? The point is, we sometimes hear cues that are complete … If your back and shoulders hunch forward under the bar, use a goblet squat to help you get a neutral spine. The kickoff is June 4th-5th 2016 at Halevy Life in NYC (previous host for Advanced Core Training and also Masters of Movement with yours truly). To do it wrong is to do yourself a disservice. The second picture is not simply a matter of internal rotation of the shoulder. If you can do this without your s… Oftentimes what seems like poor shoulder flexibility is a lack of scapular stability (weak traps and serratus anterior) and/or poor lower body flexibility. Don’t hold the bar way behind the wrist as some mistakenly grip it. Performing paused overhead squats during warm ups, complexes, and over straight sets can be a great way to increase stability (both overhead and hip) while in the bottom position … Here’s is a video of a common exercise (screwdriver) that now gives context to this discussion. Today’s guest post comes from Quinn Henoch, DPT and competitive weightlifter, and also the creator of the new ClinicalAthlete Weightlifting Coach certification program. Found in: 200504, Essentials, Coaching. Rotate your lats forward (think of showing someone your armpits). This meets all of our criteria for a stable shoulder position, and whether you bias internal or external rotation of the shoulder becomes context and preference specific. If the shoulder can’t get into a good position overhead or is shaky in that position, it can add harmful stresses to the wrist. If you are able to sink into a deep squat and maintain the first five points of performance, then you can move on to looking at shoulder flexibility. Any bilateral (two-sided) press variation places greater demand on the body to get into a safe, optimal overhead position without adding sheer force on the spine. Mark Rippetoe makes a solid scientific case for using "active shoulders" when pressing overhead, however, the OHS is not a press and the use of this technique will limit the training of optimal loads and increase the risk of injury. #2: Lower Body Considerations Full Body Fix 747 views. #2: Hips Below Parallel It’s a global positioning error as a way for the body to find a passive counterbalance; many times in an effort to attain a deeper squat position. You may hear things like – “active shoulder”, “reach”, “shoulder blades down and back”, “show me your arm pits”, “shrug up”, “no shrug”, “if you’re upper trap fires – you’ll die, etc. From the overhead position perform a full squat while maintaining the weight stable overhead. Or try using a slightly wider grip. Advice is welcome. Shoulder Positioning in the Overhead Squat Much has been said and debated in terms of shoulder positioning during the OHS. The Shoulder Position for an Overhead Squat. It’s simply a way to give the lifter a bit of slack, so that they can focus on a specific goal. As well as being an incredibly dangerous position for your shoulders to be in, inwardly rolled shoulders will shift your centre of gravity forward, bringing you onto … This is because the overhead squat position (really wide grip overhead) can be a stressful position on the shoulder. #3: Shoulder Flexion & External Rotation Feet should be pointed straight ahead, and the foot, ankle, and knee, and the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) should be in a neutral position with shoes off. One of the common things we treat here at Onward is overhead squat shoulder pain in the functional fitness athletes. It adds an element of speed, which carries over well to the full snatch. I prescribe this drill frequently, as a teaching tool for humeral head position, and to gauge the relative rotation (internal or external) that a lifter is most comfortable with: However, the overhead squat is a great tool for training the strength and stability of your shoulders and core. Overhead Squat Development with Pat Sherwood - Duration: 8:28. Olympic weightlifting coaches use the overhead squat as a teaching progression for novice athletes. In the picture on the left, you see the humeral head translated forward and upward; and on the right, you see a humeral head position that is more congruent with the plane of the shoulder blade. It’s not ‘right or wrong’, as long as basic principles guide the experimentation process. That is why, in this article, I will attempt to address some misconceptions and offer simple, practical advice for attaining a comfortable, sustainable, supportive shoulder position for the white buffalo that is the overhead squat. If you’re interested in attending, the Early-bird is $299 until April 30, after it’s $499. The overhead squat is used to strengthen the bottom position of a barbell snatch. Use the guidelines in this article to augment the corrective strategies that you already use. So, from this point forward, as opposed to talking about shoulder rotation, we’ll refer to how the arm is twisted and where the elbows are pointing (either back or down). Measure the distance between your hands and that’s your hand position. Improving Shoulder Position for the Overhead Squat. Any loss of midline stability or loss of active shoulders will send the PVC falling. In fact, it’s been shown, that movements in the scapular plane (similar to everyone’s favorite low trap exercise – the Y), that the upper trap is “maximally activated”. The overhead squat is something I would like to learn. The bar should be over the base of the neck with the head pushed forward slightly. The overhead squat is a really difficult movement to do correctly. #1: Weight on Heels I’ve found it much easier to address humeral head and bar position as we did in our Upper Trap discussion, than to cue and crank a lifter into an exaggerated amount of shoulder external rotation. “The golf ball stays on the tee”. Mike Boyle: Advances in Functional Training Mike Reinold: The Shoulder W Exercise (link) “Hanging on your ligaments”. In the last post we established the “unavoidable” characteristics of the overhead position we’d like you to be aware of and prepare for: wrists back, elbows locked, and shoulders down/un-shrugged. The general procedure for the overhead squat is: Start Position. Although much is made of bar position for the overhead squat, the precise position needed is not as exact as often claimed, and the right position for each individual will vary somewhat. Feet should be pointed straight ahead, and the foot, ankle, and knee, and the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) should be in a neutral position with shoes off. Just because you can overhead squat with the depth and overhead position that you desire doesn’t mean it will translate perfectly to your snatch. The starting position for both shoulder flexion and external rotation involves standing with your feet about six inches from the wall and placing your hips and spine flush against the wall. Grip the bar so that when it is placed overhead it is about 6-8 inches / 20cm above the top of your head. https://www.jtsstrength.com/shoulder-position-for-the-overhead-squat #7: Arms Overhead. ClinicalAthlete Weightlifting Coach (CWC) is a new certification looking to break down the finer details of Olympic lifting and to help trainers and coaches get the most from their athletes and their olympic lifts.. The client should stand with hands overhead, and arms lined up with the ear. I can back squat deep with no discomfort so I’m guessing it’s something to do with shoulder mobility? The ‘varus’ happens less often though. Overhead Squat Shoulder Position . Take 5-10 extra minutes each training sessions and practice your overhead position intently. Your arms should end up in a 90-degree position, making an L shape with each arm. In the first picture, I am actively shrugging up and using my upper traps. Now, having said all of this, I do believe there are positions that are more effective in supporting load overhead than others – but pointing to specific muscles as problematic creates confusion, considering those same muscles will be firing just as much in the positions that we desire. In fact, there are respected international coaches who actually cue shoulder internal rotation, which looks nothing like the second picture above. This great shoulder exercise is sometimes referred to as the ‘no money’ drill because it places the arms in a, “Hey don’t look at me – I don’t have your money” position. #1: Finding a Comfortable Grip To best position the athlete to overhead squat a significant amount of weight and/or volume we want a more upright torso with the overhead squat. In every case the proper … For some reason, this gets poo-poo’ed by many. The overhead squat is a really great way to engage multiple parts of your body at once. It’s all part of necessary force couples, in which muscles like the low trap, upper trap, & serratus (and likely contributions from many others) gain leverage off of one another to assist the shoulder blade into protraction, elevation, upward rotation, and posterior tilt. His practice, ClinicalAthleteHQ, is attached to the Juggernaut Training Systems gym located in Laguna Niguel, CA. The following sequence prepares the shoulders for the overhead squat, which requires motion at the shoulder blade (scapula) and arms. This is vital for a good overhead squat. 3. The hand and wrist are allowed to settle with the wrist extended. Eyes should be focused straight ahead on an object straight ahead. The overhead squat triplet includes two exercises for strengthening the muscles surrounding the scapula for improved stability and a stretch for the rotator cuff myofasculature (muscles and fascia). After drilling the positions with the heels elevated, you’ll find it’s much easier to attain a similar position with only the shoes. Since the recent boom in CrossFit, the use of the overhead… Posted In Shoulder Mobility & Scapular Stability, Shoulder Mobility Exercises. So while the wrist may be the pain site, the cause may be at the shoulder. Poor thoracic extension is a limiting factor in shoulder flexion. The lifter on the left has a “flat t-spine,” meaning his upper back is extended beyond a normal position. You can even save 10% off with the special coupon code of  DEAN10 when you register. Put your hands over your head with your shoulders against the wall. Talking about one particular muscle is likely adding fuel to the fire of confusion. Four Elements to Establishing a Good OHS Position He is the founder of ClinicalAthlete, which is a network of healthcare providers who understand how to manage athletes. Use those to, dare I say it, get better at the movement and do not be in a rush to make it to your working sets. #3: Knees Out Utilizing snatch accessory exercises can the bridge. The overhead squat is a total body movement that, maybe surprisingly, is more for training mobility than for building strength. As many of you know, Quinn is a big contributor to Chad Wesley Smith’s Juggernaut, as well as Dark Side Strength, and is the founder of ClincalAthlete.com. Do you see how he’s actively pushing up on the bar through the shoulder blades, without an unnatural forward translation of the humeral head? If, on the other hand, you can’t get into this position, I’d recommend performing mobility drills in order to restore it, prior to loading the heck out of a barbell overhead press. Prior to the turn of the century, the overhead squat was primarily used by competitive weightlifters. // Overhead Squat Problem #3: Tight Shoulders and Upper Back If you are forced to use an extremely wide grip when Overhead Squatting and find it challenging to get in a good overhead position even when standing at the top of the squat, your upper back, chest and shoulders may be so tight as to not allow for good OHS movement. Instructions For this reason, it is an indispensable tool for developing speed and power. If you visualize the scapula as an upside down triangle, posterior tilt involves driving the bottom ‘pointy’ part forward so it lays flat on the ribcage. Copyright © 2012 Ready State Fitness, Inc. It is important to keep the neck neutral (chin tucked) and maintain thoracic extension (chest forward). During the descent of the squat, the torso drifts forward to accommodate the bar position. This rotation is also a common compensation for a forward lean of the torso. A well performed overhead squat is easy to spot, even to the untrained eye. A stable shoulder blade position on the ribcage requires proper retraction and posterior tilt to support good arm position. Overhead Squat Tip #3: Establish The Correct Hand Placement For Your Body Using a PVC pipe or barbell, stand upright and pull your elbows upwards, making an upside-down goal post with your arms. The basic bar position for the overhead squat is barbell held overhead and lined up in the imaginary “pocket” between the scapula and the back of the ears. DEAN SOMERSET OLD SCHOOL STRENGTH WITH A NEW AGE TWIST, ClinicalAthlete Weightlifting Coach (CWC). Drills like the Bench T-Spine Mobilization would help him. If someone can sit down with a nice posture in an overhead squat and stand right back up with no problem, then … Olympic weightlifting coaches use the overhead squat as a teaching progression for novice athletes. When you sit, only place about 50% of your weight on the box so that you never … If improving your overhead squat is your goal, this is a very beneficial teaching tool when done correctly. Note the ease with which you are able to keep your ribcage against the wall – if thoracic mobility is limited maintaining this position may be difficult. Shoulder Position in the Overhead Squat with Miranda Oldroyd - Duration: 1:22. I’ll preface this by saying that I am not a fan of cueing or even discussing specific muscles in regards to the shoulder joint or scapula. Bad posture can cause shoulder pain. “A wider grip will allow for more movement around the shoulder and a shorter distance for the bar to travel. The cue of an “active shrug” is misconstrued by translating the humeral head forward and upwards, and pushing the bar back past the plane of the body. Although much is made of bar position for the overhead squat, the precise position needed is not as exact as often claimed, and the right position for each individual will vary somewhat. Dave Eubanks (CF-L4) discusses the importance of the overhead squat with a group of participants at a CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course at CrossFit SAC on Nov. 9, 2019. This is not to be mistaken as a shoulder blade that’s “down and back”; because we certainly desire elevation and upward rotation of the scapula during an overhead movement. Think about it like this: if I had a still shot of you from the sternum up, I shouldn’t be able to tell whether you’re squatting or standing. I’d check out the overhead stability screens form the previous blog post and the overhead stability screens from 2 weeks ago. If the bar is placed in the proper position in the hand, it will not place undue strain on the wrist. Don’t hold the bar way behind the wrist as some mistakenly grip it. However, with the bar on the lifter’s back, he or she can more easily recreate the overhead squat position that’s been so thoughtfully practiced. The overhead squat is used to strengthen the bottom position of a barbell snatch. #6: Thoracic Extension Ok.. maybe that last one is an exaggeration. Eyes should be focused straight ahead on an object straight ahead. In addition to using a barbell or other tool that calls for the hands to stay in a fixed relative position, you can perform the overhead squat with hands unlinked. The following sequence prepares the shoulders for the overhead squat, which requires motion at the shoulder blade (scapula) and arms. You have to practice the overhead squat to master the movement, but it's damn hard. Don’t try to hold the wrist in a neutral position. The key is that the forearms must slide up in contact with the wall while the shoulder blades stay down and back.” – Mike Boyle, – Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™, Related Resources Here’s an example: Can you tell in which photo I am standing and which I am squatting? In every case the proper … The press, overhead press (abbreviated OHP) or shoulder press is a weight training exercise with many variations, typically performed while standing, in which a weight is pressed straight upwards from racking position until the arms are locked out overhead, while the legs, lower back and abs maintain balance. #4: Scapular Stability & Mobility. The ‘W’ exercise involves a combination of three motions that place the arms in a ending position that looks like a ‘W’ from behind. The following sequence prepares the shoulders for the overhead squat, which requires motion at the shoulder blade (scapula) and arms. Often times you will need to master the half kneeling split squat first before moving to the overhead split squat. Don’t try to hold the wrist in a neutral position. Your arms should end up in a 90-degree position, making an L shape with each arm. Overhead Sit Squats look much easier than they are. Movement. Many beginners will actually cramp in the lower trap/ rhomboid area as they attempt this exercise. There should be minimal change between the two. This step-by-step guide to the overhead squat will help you master the movement and correct common problems. Ok.. maybe that last one is an exaggeration. A very small percentage of people can perform the overhead squat properly when they first walk into the gym.