Overhead Squat 101

Grace and beauty could very appropriately describe a well executed overhead squat. Depending on your experience, however, the words “discomfort” and “frustration” could do the trick as well, but that’s neither here nor there. If you’re new to the overhead squat, here are some things you may not know about it:

The Functional Test – Not only is the overhead squat an incredible builder of strength in the trunk, shoulder stability, and overall strength, it seems to have the ability to expose disfunction in the body better any other movement. It’s like a one movement Functional Movement Screen with it’s ability to punish disfunction, weakness, and flexibility problems. If you’ve been cruising through air squats and even some front squats and back squats, you may not be out of the woods yet. The overhead squat is like a heat seeking missile for imperfections in the squat.

The King of Core – Moving through a full range of motion squat with the load mathematically as far from the athlete’s point of contact with the ground as possible is the ultimate test/builder of core strength. Our abs, spinal erectors, and supporting trunk muscles’ main task is to stabilize the spine. The overhead squat is the Super Bowl of stabilizing the spine. What better way to improve the function and performance of core strength than with this lift?

Zen Squatting – Elite athletes would fork over millions of dollars to own the switch that triggers flow, or bring “in the zone.” It’s this slow motion, uber-focus that is home to our best performances. The overhead squat seems to induce this hyper-awareness naturally given then margin for error, or lack thereof, throughout the movement. Football is a game of inches, but overhead squatting is a game of centimeters. Moving through a squat with a load overhead includes an awareness to one thing only, and that is the task at hand. Living in the moment – Ah, true Zen!

Skill Transfer, Too?! – Yup! Overhead squatting does make you better at most things, including parenting. But, most directly, the overhead squat is a necessary evil in the snatch. Build up your overhead squat, mix it with a little technique work in the snatch, and we’ve got a real life PR on our hands.


Hope to see y’all in class!


Logan Gelbrich


Tuesday’s Workout:

Complete 100 Overhead Squats (95/65)