Overhead Squat | How is it done? Common Mistakes And Tips

By the healthiergang writer , certified personal trainer and athlete ().

Overhead Squat 

Olympic weightlifting has given us a very important exercise that turns out to be a very effective exercise of strength, mobility and stability above all and in particular way of core and shoulders: the strengthening of the legs derives as a result, even if its effect is much less incisive on the lower muscles than other exercises specifically designed such as snatches, press squats, front squats, to name a few. 

Let's go and see what it consists of, and what yours are benefits, the technical advice, the errors from avoid.


Shoulders too narrow, pectorals too developed that "pull" the shoulders and the upper part forward; rigid spine with difficulty in extending; poor flexibility of the hips, pelvic area and knees; core too weak with underdeveloped abdominal portion: the overhead squat helps to increase mobility, strength, stability of all these areas.

First of all, in order to perform the exercise flawlessly, it is very important that you succeed to master the bodyweight squat: standing position, legs apart with feet slightly rotated, arms in forward-curved lumbar maintained, back then arched slowly descent, with weight on the heels in the eccentric phase, chest out, abdomen and back rigid reach the maximum depth, i.e. below the parallel ascent (concentric phase) maintaining the same lumbar curve.

? Execution

Once you have mastered the free body exercise, you will be ready to embrace the barbell, which must be held high on the head, with a rather wide grip, with the shoulders slightly back to keep the weight in balance; then the exercise must be performed with the exact same movements described above for the bodyweight squat.


# 1 Extension

Daily life often causes our body to be perpetually tilted forward, and this makes our back, shoulders, shoulder blades and spine hardly flexible backwards. The overhead squat has an important effectiveness precisely in that exercises, with the obligation to perform the exercise by lifting the barbell on the head, ad extend your back fully, and to learn the extension backwards, as well as forward.

The agility of the upper body is obviously essential to avoid injuries in lifting of any kind.

Please note:: do not over-extend your back when lifting, always keep your core and back very stiff and tight

# 2 Hips and posterior chain mobility

The overhead squat serves to strengthen the mobility of the entire posterior muscle chain, that is, to involve mainly the gluteus, hamstring, pelvis, adductor muscles and lumbar area in both eccentric and concentric movement. There chain back it is essential to avoid that during the movement the torso leans forward by shifting the weight up quadriceps and knees.

The knees must never fold inwards, and for this purpose the work of the gluteus and adductors plays a fundamental role; finally, performing an overhead squat well means having acquired it excellent mobility of the ankles, which in the maximum phase of the movement must be able to overcome the angular inclination of 90 degrees

#3 Core

The abdominal area is essential for any exercise, in the overhead squat attention of this area must focus in a greater and different way than usual as the weight is lifted on the head, bringing the torso to an extreme upward extension, making the concentration and contraction of the core much more intense and deep than in other exercises

 Stability and balance: lifting something on the head puts a strain on stability and balance, which is why what is important to achieve is the perfect ability to rotate the shoulders and retract the shoulder blades without the lifting movement leading to hyper-extending the back, thus avoiding the occurrence of injuries to the spine.

# 4 Balance

Carrying a weight on the head during a full squat is not an easy or usual movement, so you have to perfectly center the balance of your body by not moving the center of gravity towards the toes but not even towards the heels, risking to slide the body. the weight lifted backwards or forwards.


Before trying the barbell exercise, practice leaning against a wall, arms stretched high above the head, holding a stretched towel in your arms, and simulate a squat by sliding along the wall.

As the movement becomes more natural, detach yourself from the wall and repeat the movement, buttocks in "hole", knees slightly out, glute muscles activated, back straight, core contracted, heels firmly planted on the ground. Good workout!

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