"Overhead barbell squats"

I understand the value of knowing the joint integrity/ROM of an athletes ankle, knee and hip joints. And that the overhead barbell squat is important for Olympic weightlifters…

However, if I read another article from a self appointed guru about this exercise being the Holy Grail to athletic dominance I’m going to roll up my Perform Better catalog into a point and perform Hari Kari.

I’ve witnessed first hand a local “guru” instruct an athlete in this exercise. When the athlete couldn’t do it after 5 or 6 attempts, the “guru” used the athlete’s “failure” as a selling point to his parents for a summer’s worth of training.

Personaly I think the exercise is complex with an
extrodanary (sp) amount of learning to take place in order to complete the lift.

I don’t see the transfer to the playing field with the amount of time one has to spend trying to teach/learn the movement while time can be used elsewhere. After all you only have so many training sessions. Perhaps in younger athletes or early in a yearly cycle.

I’ve had athletes at a low level of competition exucute this exercise the first time they tried it and pros that couldn’t master it no matter how hard they tried. I’ve had athletes that look completely ridiculous the first time they tried the overhead barbell squat and in 2 or 3 workouts they accomplished it.

What’s everyone’s opinion?

helps your squat form :slight_smile:

it did for me :smiley:

the weighted version is not necessary for performance, but the kinetic chain test is very effective and I use it all the time. one minute investment=weeks of results.

What are you looking for in an overhead squat that you don’t see in a back squat?

I also think it is good for younger athletes. Often times, when they run, they are not as efficient as an older athlete. What I really mean, is that I see excessive sway in the upper bodies of some youth. Often times, a cycle of overhead squats helps the youngsters coordinate the upper body with the lower, becoming more efficient runners and minimizing upper body sway


I think this site may shed a little light on what Clemson is referring to.


Thanks…just to make a good point here, is that half of the information can be seend DURING training…since testing is part of everyday training.

i find them useful to my young athletes. it helps them learn to squat, increases their depth of squats (flexibility), and is a tremendous exercise for core.

Thanks for the replies. I’ll take a closer look at the value of the exercise.

Didn’t Chis T post against the use of the overhead squat for nonweightlifters. Does anybody know where that post was? can’t seem to find it

Yes CT did, I’m not sure where it is.

I like the movement as part of my warm up. A couple of light sets helps me loosen up a bit. I don’t really go heavy and don’t think it would be good for >6 reps. BTW I saw a division 1 Basketball program calling for 3 sets of 15 reps on this. Too much risk (fatigue-technical failure-injury) for me.

Have to watch the shoulders with overhead squats. They are great as technique builders but I wouldn’t go too crazy or too heavy with them :slight_smile:

In the US there is a US football coach that doesnt allow back squats to be used until 10reps of OH squats with the athletes bodyweight is performed

So you do them unweighted as a test? What do you look for in form, and what does the athlete’s form tell you?

I can see how this exercise is useful for testing purposes but can someone please explain to me how it improves squat technique when only light weights are employed, the enhancement of flexibility aside.

How does lifting light improve lifting heavy (dynamic lifting argument put aside) with this exercise?

Should this lift be reserved for olympic lifters, testing, and as a supplementary lift to improve flexibility? Or does it have any real value to be a staple in an athletes training?

I know it is a great core builder but if there are better/safer exercises that can be used to build the core why bother with it?

I’m probably not qualified to speak on your first question. But with regards to the others, I think this is a lift that has some, though very little, value for non-olympic lifters. Myself, being an olympic lifter, use it to get stronger/ more comfortable in the bottom of the snatch recovery, and even then only when needed.

I would never use it to test anything.

I think it holds some value for improving coordination/stability.
For almost all athletes, I would recommend front squats over overhead squats for best results/efficient use of time.

Some other things worth mentioning are that overhead squats are VERY difficult, in shoes other than lifting shoes, at leas for me. Also, I’ve noticed that my abs are forced to work much harder to stabilize when doing front squats than in overhead squats. In conclusion, I feel that overhead squats are a great warm-up exercise as they force coordination, flexibility, upper/lower body activation, and perhaps most importantly, concentration.

I tried overhead squats many months ago, and they improved my overhead squats.
Front squats and zercher squats do more for core strength and posture, any day of the weak.