Top 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Overhead Squat and How to Fix Them

The overhead squat requires just the right combination of flexibility, strength, power and coordination. If you have ever attempted one, you know all too well.  Performed correctly it can be a powerful tool in the development of an athlete’s ability. When done wrong it is not only dangerous, but very frustrating. While all lifters tend to be a little different and require a slightly different approach, there are a few simple things to take a look at when trying to improve the overhead squat.

  1. Your air squat sucks! Many lifters skip mastering the fundamentals on the basic lifts, which make the more complex, such as the overhead squat, snatch clean, lifts possible. Go back to the basics and perfect your technique from the ground up.
  2. You don’t do it enough. Unless you were one of the lucky few that came to the party flexible, this move requires many hours of practice, evaluation and hard work to master. To become proficient at anything 10,000+ hours are needed. So, get to work!
  3. Your core is weak! Do you fold in half when you squat? This is a problem. Developing a strong core that can keep your back vertical is essential to safely progressing in the overhead squat. Do supplemental core exercises. Everyday.  
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Why Your Squat Sucks

The squat is the essential movement of any true and tested fitness program. While all lifters were not created equally there are some simple rules to abide by. So let’s start from the ground up (literally) and look at a few of the most common faults seen in the squat and how to fix them. 

  1. Your feet are all wrong. Your feet should be as narrow as hip-width apart and as wide as shoulder-width apart. If you pick a stance that is to narrow it requires an extreme amount of hip mobility. Too wide and you start wasting energy. Play around and find what is comfortable for you, just be mindful of how wide you go.
  2. Your weight is not distributed through your foot correctly. This one is huge and probably one of the most common faults. The foot is the base of the squat and having a solid foundation here is paramount. If the base of the squat is off then chances are the rest of the squat is suspect as well. Your weight should be on the outside of the foot and in the custom heal. Arches are up and NOT collapsed.
  3. Not using your butt to squat. If your knees start to come towards each other at any point during your squat, then you aren’t using your butt to it’s fullest. Everybody squats for a better butt so get those knees out!
  4. Your knees come forward. Not only is this a surefire way to hurt your knees, but it is also very inefficient way to squat. Stick that butt back and get those hamstrings to do some of the work for you.
  5. Your chest collapses when you squat. This is what we call an immature squat. Fixing it is essential to improve not only your squats but also your olympic lifting. To rectify this, try to engage your thoracic spine (which is the area of your mid and upper back) to keep your chest up. One exercise that might help increase the strength and flexibility in that area is holding a 10 pound plate outstretched in your hands when you squat. Not only will this engage those muscles, but it will also increase your stability during this movement.
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