Mobility for Overhead Squats
- band distraction tricep stretch
- opening up the hip capsule from a high kneeling position (2+ minutes per leg/side)
Both of these pieces of “homework,” as he dubs them, can help you maintain a more upright (and therefore more stable) torso in the overhead squat.
Part 1: External rotation work for the hips
Homework #2: The K-Starr pseudo-Pigeon Pose variation — he calls it “pigeon sweep” because of the freestyle exploration of the hip
Part 2: Addressing the upper body
Homework #1: (Improve thoracic extension) Lie down with a keg drill placed under the middle of the back and reach overhead for an empty barbell; keep the arms straight while keeping the butt raised. Load from the top by dropping the butt down while pulling down the rib cage. The barbell allows you ” to lock off and fulcrum” and will improve your overhead position (you should be able to see your ears when you re-test).
Overhead Squats Make Your Squat Better
In this T-Nation article, Lee Boyce describes the overhead squat as “a phenomenal tool for correcting the imbalances that lie among the hips, glutes, and lower back”:
[Overhead squats] have a threefold benefit. First, the overhead position of the bar makes much of the stability work go to the core, most predominately the lower back. Since the bar is held overhead, for most lifters, it will severely limit the depth achieved in the reps, and rounding of the lumbar spine will happen earlier in the rep.
Having this weakness exposed can tell you just how much stiffening/strengthening the lower back may need, and on the other side of the body, it’ll tell you how much blockage your tight hip flexors have over your hamstrings and glutes, limiting their flexibility.
In other words, the overhead squat is a good barometer for checking out the quality of your basic air squat; the better positioning you maintain in a bodyweight squat, the more likely you are able to perform any kind of weighted squat more comfortably.