Archive for the ‘Overhead Squats’ Category
My favorite Olympic Lift is The Overhead Squat. The OHS incorporates your core and upper body more than any other squat. This lift takes a great amount of strength, balance, flexibility and focus. Here’s how to get started on this great exercise.
General Warm Up
The purpose of the general warm up is to raise your body’s core temperature and warm up your muscles so they will move and stretch easily. For most work outs you can use a bike, rower or treadmill for 5-10:00 at an easy pace to start out with.
Specific Warm Up
The specific warm up will be different with any exercise session you do. For Overhead Squats a good specific warm up would be 3×20 Air Squats and 3×10 Shoulder Dislocators.
Practicing your squat with no weight will get your body ready to activate the key muscles you use in the OHS. Shoulder dislocators can be done with a PVC pipe, jump rope or towel. Hold the material you choose as wide as possible, slowly bring it behind your back and then forward again. This exercise will engage your shoulders and arms, getting them ready for the next exercise you’re about to do.
Begin your first set of Overhead Squats with a very light material like a PVC pipe or a broomstick. This will allow you to work on proper technique. Place a ball or small step behind you about 12″ off the ground so you know how far down to squat.
- The Overhead Set-Up
Hold the PVC pipe over your head with your hands a few inches wider than your shoulders. The PVC pipe should be behind your head as far as your shoulder flexibility will allow. Once you are comfortable with your arm positioning, you are ready to squat.
- The Squat
Make sure your feet are wider than your hips, as you sit back keep your weight in your heels and push your knees away from each other. As you’re coming up squeeze your legs and drive up until you’re back to your standing position.
- The bar should stay behind your head for the whole exercise.
- Keep your head up the whole time
- Make sure you go low enough to touch the object behind you
- Your knees should never dive in towards each other
Once you’re mastered the key points above you are ready to start with a heavier weight. Do not rush into a heavier weight. Your Overhead squat should look and feel perfect before you advance to a barbell.
If you have an aluminum barbell (15LBS), practice with that before you move on to a standard BB (45LBS). If you are ready to move on to more weight than the 45LB Barbell then you need to work with bumper plates, which are weights that can be dropped on the ground from any height. It’s important to drop the weight after your squat is complete. There are no strength gains from re-racking the weight and you are more likely to get hurt if you attempt to. For beginners I strongly recommend working with an experienced coach before moving on to anything heavier than a standard barbell.
The Overhead Squat is an Olympic lift that incorporates much more than physical strength. If you have the resources, this is an exercise to get working on.
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