If the bar is placed in the proper position in the hand, it will not place undue strain on the wrist. You may hear things like – “active shoulder”, “reach”, “shoulder blades down and back”, “show me your arm pits”, “shrug up”, “no shrug”, “if you’re upper trap fires – you’ll die,  etc. 0:36. I can back squat deep with no discomfort so I’m guessing it’s something to do with shoulder mobility? W/Y Wall Slide Exercise The overhead squat is used to strengthen the bottom position of a barbell snatch. It’s such a complex, 3-D system, in which individual muscles rely on each other for opposition and support. It’s simply a way to give the lifter a bit of slack, so that they can focus on a specific goal. Any loss of midline stability or loss of active shoulders will send the PVC falling. https://www.jtsstrength.com/shoulder-position-for-the-overhead-squat “The golf ball stays on the tee”. Or try using a slightly wider grip. Oftentimes what seems like poor shoulder flexibility is a lack of scapular stability (weak traps and serratus anterior) and/or poor lower body flexibility. The basic bar position for the overhead squat is barbell held overhead and lined up in the imaginary “pocket” between the scapula and the back of the ears. Now, having said all of this, I do believe there are positions that are more effective in supporting load overhead than others – but pointing to specific muscles as problematic creates confusion, considering those same muscles will be firing just as much in the positions that we desire. Good external rotation of the shoulders is important for pressing overhead and the overhead squat. When you’ve got the bar overhead in that wide grip, scapular and lat activation help to put your shoulders in a strong position and stop them rolling forward. Stabilize your midline. If your palms do not lay flush against the wall your external rotation is limited. To learn more about human movement and the CrossFit methodology, visit CrossFit Training. This is vital for a good overhead squat. So, lighten up the weight every now and then, or better yet, take better advantage of your warm up sets at lower percentages. For this reason, it is an indispensable tool for developing speed and power. Overhead Squat for General Fitness The overhead squat is a total-body squatting movement that can increase upper back, shoulder, and core … This is because the overhead squat position (really wide grip overhead) can be a stressful position on the shoulder. #4: Scapular Stability & Mobility. The goal is to maintain the PVC pipe balanced up there on your flattened palms while dropping into the squat. The client should stand with hands overhead, and arms lined up with the ear. The overhead squat is the most challenging position that a strength athlete is going to ever need to achieve. Mobility, Stability, and Strength It’s just what happens. For example, Chinese weightlifters are often taught to fully internally rotate their shoulders when overhead. The ‘W’ Exercise – No Money Drill To assess shoulder flexion – slowly raise your arms overhead while keeping your low-back flat against the wall. Mark Rippetoe makes a solid scientific case for using "active shoulders" when pressing overhead, however, the OHS is not a press and the use of this technique will limit the training of optimal loads and increase the risk of injury. The arm needs to be able to move independently of the shoulder blade which is not possible if the external rotators (infraspinatus, teres minor) are ‘stuck’ and limiting the motion of the arms. Here’s are examples: In the pictures above, Mr. Lu Xiaojun (Olympic champion) is demonstrating a relative amount of shoulder internal rotation. Forcing the shoulder into this position for a prolonged time will cause instability and the bar will drift away from your center of mass, resulting in a missed lift. Don't squat the day after heavy chest or shoulder work. If you are forced to use an extremely wide grip when overhead squatting and find it challenging to get in a good overhead position even when standing at the top of the squat, your upper back, chest and shoulders may be so tight as to not allow for good overhead squat … Posterior tilt sets the scapula flat on the ribcage. Olympic weightlifting coaches use the overhead squat as a teaching progression for novice athletes. However, the overhead squat and snatch is a skill that must be learned and honed in environments that are not pushing your high threshold limits – just like any other sport-specific skill. Movement. This meets all of our criteria for a stable shoulder position, and whether you bias internal or external rotation of the shoulder becomes context and preference specific. Hi Greg, I've been working on my overhead squat, but my biggest issue is just feeling really weak in the shoulders at the bottom; I can hit a fine upright front squat and back squat, and I'm fine overhead squatting with a jerk-width grip, but when I use a snatch grip, I feel like I'm millimeters of bar position away from impinging my shoulder or falling on my face. This is because the overhead squat position (really wide grip overhead) can be a stressful position on the shoulder. It's also a great tool to mobilize your thoracic spine, ankles, and hips, and will help you feel more comfortable at the very bottom of a squat, front squat, or snatch. The following sequence prepares the shoulders for the overhead squat, which requires motion at the shoulder blade (scapula) and arms. // Overhead Squat Problem #3: Tight Shoulders and Upper Back If you are forced to use an extremely wide grip when Overhead Squatting and find it challenging to get in a good overhead position even when standing at the top of the squat, your upper back, chest and shoulders may be so tight as to not allow for good OHS movement. Keep your hands over your head and your shoulders against the wall as you squat down. The basic bar position for the overhead squat is barbell held overhead and lined up in the imaginary “pocket” between the scapula and the back of the ears. The overhead squat is a really great way to engage multiple parts of your body at once. We’re going to go through three drills we commonly use with people dealing with overhead squat shoulder pain to combat this. Overhead Squat Variations. Assume the perfect overhead position again and then squat again. So, instead of offering up a gazillion possible corrective exercises and stretches in hopes that one of them is your magic bullet, I’m going to offer up some general suggestions: You probably hate me for this one. The illustration on the right shows an anteriorly tilted shoulder blade that is also restricting shoulder flexion. If your back and shoulders hunch forward under the bar, use a goblet squat to help you get a neutral spine. There is always “more than one way to skin a cat”, and the cues and positions that work for some lifters will not be effective for others. SquatRx ‘Points of Peformance’ Retraction involves drawing the scapula in towards the spine. Ok.. maybe that last one is an exaggeration. Keep in mind that the overhead squat is not a movement to approach lightly. However, do you also see that he’s shrugging? Eyes should be focused straight ahead on an object straight ahead. Improving Shoulder Position for the Overhead Squat The following sequence prepares the shoulders for the overhead squat, which requires motion at the shoulder blade (scapula) and arms. Now it’s time for another major portion of that overhead story with shoulder rotation and bar alignment. #1: Weight on Heels The second picture is not simply a matter of internal rotation of the shoulder. A great place to start when troubleshooting poor overhead position is an unloaded assessment of thoracic extension, shoulder flexion, and shoulder external rotation. The first five ‘points of performance’ of the squat lay the foundation for good arm position. #3: Shoulder Flexion & External Rotation If you need to, grab a hand towel and stretch it out between your hands. From the overhead position perform a full squat while maintaining the weight stable overhead. If the shoulder can’t get into a good position overhead or is shaky in that position, it can add harmful stresses to the wrist. As you can see in the third picture, the bar ends up over the mid foot, which is what we teach; however, these compromised levers make it very difficult to support load overhead and rely on passive structures for support. Just before the squat, take a deep breath and hold it. As a result, athletes are confused as to what an “optimal” snatch grip overhead position looks and feels like, and often misinterpret the words used in the cue. He is the founder of ClinicalAthlete, which is a network of healthcare providers who understand how to manage athletes. It also minimizes hyperextension in the lower back, taking stress out of the spine. To execute this movement, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, maintaining a wide grip with your hands on the bar overhead. The lifter on the right has a rounded upper back and needs to extend his t-spine if he wants to get his shoulders in position to squat. It requires a great amount of mobility, stability and strength throughout the entire body to be performed well. If you round your shoulders forward you can feel the bottom part of the shoulder blade stick out away from the ribcage (winging) as it anteriorly tilts into a bad position. Nonetheless, the upper trap is probably the most discussed (and demonized) of them all, so it’s a pertinent talking point for our purposes. If you usually do low-bar squats, move the bar higher. Olympic weightlifting coaches use the overhead squat as a teaching progression for novice athletes. #4: Scapular Stability & Mobility Felt like my shoulders where gonna explode. When you sit, only place about 50% of your weight on the box so that you never … A very small percentage of people can perform the overhead squat properly when they first walk into the gym. Shoulder flexibility drills are important to achieve and maintain the necessary level of shoulder flexibility required. Once again, there are conflicting viewpoints/variations for each… Don’t hold the bar way behind the wrist as some mistakenly grip it. If improving your overhead squat is your goal, this is a very beneficial teaching tool when done correctly. There is no forward translation of the humeral head, and the bar is stacked over my upper back, hips, and mid foot – and remains so during the squat. It’s certainly an active lengthening, reach, shrug (whatever you want to call it) through the plane of the shoulder blade and humerus, but the humeral head stays flush with the front of the shoulder. Up first, we’re going to stretch the lats. #5: Neutral Lumbar Curve Next, get set up in your squat stance and lift off the box one inch before sitting back down. Who cares if you can break parallel in your squat, if your shoulders are not in a position to support any load? Full Body Fix 747 views. However, this looks much different than the first picture in the previous series. Think about it like this: if I had a still shot of you from the sternum up, I shouldn’t be able to tell whether you’re squatting or standing. For 6 years, he’s trained exclusively for the sport of weightlifting, and has competed in 20+ sanctioned USAW meets, including the 2014 American Open; and posted qualifying totals for the 2015 National Championships as a 77kg lifter. There are a lot more variables to take into account, when we consider pulling the bar from the floor to overhead and adding elements of speed. It’s all part of necessary force couples, in which muscles like the low trap, upper trap, & serratus (and likely contributions from many others) gain leverage off of one another to assist the shoulder blade into protraction, elevation, upward rotation, and posterior tilt. Prior to the turn of the century, the overhead squat was primarily used by competitive weightlifters. Your arms should end up in a 90-degree position, making an L shape with each arm. The overhead squat is used to strengthen the bottom position of a barbell snatch. I find a more narrow grip is also much more resistant to the internal rotation that can be so easy to get into with a wider grip. Keep in mind that the overhead squat is not a movement to approach lightly. Feet should be pointed straight ahead, and the foot, ankle, and knee, and the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) should be in a neutral position with shoes off. Getting the Bar Overhead If you’re not dealing with significant weight yet, you might be able to simply press the bar up overhead from any position. Dave Eubanks (CF-L4) discusses the importance of the overhead squat with a group of participants at a CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course at CrossFit SAC on Nov. 9, 2019. Posted In Shoulder Mobility & Scapular Stability, Shoulder Mobility Exercises. Tighten your back and your glutes. The overhead squat triplet includes two exercises for strengthening the muscles surrounding the scapula for improved stability and a stretch for the rotator cuff myofasculature (muscles and fascia). Did you guess correctly? Improving Shoulder Position for the Overhead Squat. Overhead Squat Tip #3: Establish The Correct Hand Placement For Your Body Using a PVC pipe or barbell, stand upright and pull your elbows upwards, making an upside-down goal post with your arms. If you are able to sink into a deep squat and maintain the first five points of performance, then you can move on to looking at shoulder flexibility. As you perform the three combined motions (see instructions 1-3) the forearms will move out to the sides (external rotation) as the scapular posteriorly tilts and retracts. Measure the distance between your hands and that’s your hand position. Insufficient shoulder flexibility will make your Overhead Squat a torture. Don’t hold the bar way behind the wrist as some mistakenly grip it. However, just in case, here’s a simple method: With the bar in the rack, position yourself as if you’re setting up for a back squat, with the bar behind your neck. “A wider grip will allow for more movement around the shoulder and a shorter distance for the bar to travel. The starting position for both shoulder flexion and external rotation involves standing with your feet about six inches from the wall and placing your hips and spine flush against the wall. Your arms should end up in a 90-degree position, making an L shape with each arm. Try holding two dumbbells or kettlebells overhead as you squat. The ‘W’ exercise involves a combination of three motions that place the arms in a ending position that looks like a ‘W’ from behind. I’d check out the overhead stability screens form the previous blog post and the overhead stability screens from 2 weeks ago. It adds an element of speed, which carries over well to the full snatch. Improving Shoulder Position for the Overhead Squat. Movement. As in, it’s not wrong. ClinicalAthlete Weightlifting Coach (CWC) is a new certification looking to break down the finer details of Olympic lifting and to help trainers and coaches get the most from their athletes and their olympic lifts.. We cannot demonize shoulder internal rotation as inherently ‘bad’ without context. The Shoulder-to-Overhead is an upper-body vertical pushing movement designed to get load from the shoulders to the overhead position in the most efficient way possible. If you usually do low-bar squats, move the bar higher. In the last post we established the “unavoidable” characteristics of the overhead position we’d like you to be aware of and prepare for: wrists back, elbows locked, and shoulders down/un-shrugged. Position a ball or box at the lowest level at which you can overhead squat comfortably just in front of a rig. If you don’t have good strength and mobility around that area this stress is increased. Note if your low-back is flat against the wall and if your neck is also able to easily maintain contact. A stable shoulder blade position on the ribcage requires proper retraction and posterior tilt to support good arm position. To do it wrong is to do yourself a disservice. That's where I come in. His practice, ClinicalAthleteHQ, is attached to the Juggernaut Training Systems gym located in Laguna Niguel, CA. Shoulder Position in the Overhead Squat with Miranda Oldroyd - Duration: 1:22. The ‘varus’ happens less often though. The squat position creates a much more unstable position and forces you to engage your core even more during the entire range of motion. The point is, we sometimes hear cues that are complete contradictions of each other, but yet, are being utilized for the same exercise. A good grip and solid shoulders are inextricably connected during the Overhead Squat. Bad posture can cause shoulder pain. Overhead Sit Squats look much easier than they are. I’ll preface this by saying that I am not a fan of cueing or even discussing specific muscles in regards to the shoulder joint or scapula. Although they may look similar, it’s quite a bit more complex than the traditional squat. Colin Burns, wrote a great blog for Juggernaut Training Systems discussing how grip wide effects the overhead bar position. 27 SQUATS WITH JAMI TIKKANEN This is a perfect way to identify any imbalances or sticking points in your squat movement. “Hanging on your ligaments”. Shoulder Position in the Overhead Squat with Miranda Oldroyd - Duration: 1:22. Ok.. maybe that last one is an exaggeration. 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