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. The key is that the forearms must slide up in contact with the wall while the shoulder blades stay down and back.” – Mike Boyle, – Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™, Related Resources However, do you also see that he’s shrugging? It’s a global positioning error as a way for the body to find a passive counterbalance; many times in an effort to attain a deeper squat position. Don’t hold the bar way behind the wrist as some mistakenly grip it. Do you see how he’s actively pushing up on the bar through the shoulder blades, without an unnatural forward translation of the humeral head? On the flip side of the grip coin, a narrower grip will require the bar to travel further, requires a bit more mobility in the shoulder, but is stronger overhead. The lifter on the left has a “flat t-spine,” meaning his upper back is extended beyond a normal position. Internal Rotation – What are we really talking about here? In turn, it is a weaker position overhead, and can sometimes allow too much internal rotation at the shoulder in new lifters, leading to missing lifts forward or weakness resisting a miss backwards. Grip the bar so that when it is placed overhead it is about 6-8 inches / 20cm above the top of your head. Once again, there are conflicting viewpoints/variations for each… Rotate your lats forward (think of showing someone your armpits). Felt like my shoulders where gonna explode. “The overhead squat is the ultimate core exercise, the heart of the snatch, and peerless in developing effective athletic movement. If you don’t have good strength and mobility around that area this stress is increased. What seems to be thought of as an isolated shoulder internal rotation fault during the overhead squat, may again, be a result of global mal-positioning and stacking of the shoulder and bar. However, the overhead squat is a great tool for training the strength and stability of your shoulders and core. This functional gem trains for efficient transfer of energy from large to small body parts – the essence of sport movement. ‘valgus’ or in simple words, the knees dropping inwards during the Overhead Squat movement or basically any squat movement or ‘varus’, the knees going out excessively during the Overhead Squat or any squat variation. Use the guidelines in this article to augment the corrective strategies that you already use. The client should stand with hands overhead, and arms lined up with the ear. Any loss of midline stability or loss of active shoulders will send the PVC falling. That's where I come in. This is not meant to be a crutch, compensation, or some way of masking mobility restrictions that need to be addressed. 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. Try holding two dumbbells or kettlebells overhead as you squat. 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. The most important technique note with the overhead squat that we need to discuss is the torso position. Eyes should be focused straight ahead on an object straight ahead. The kickoff is June 4th-5th 2016 at Halevy Life in NYC (previous host for Advanced Core Training and also Masters of Movement with yours truly). This is vital for a good overhead squat. Lie on the ground, with your back flat against the ground your feet placed against the wall. Mike Reinold: The Shoulder W Exercise (link) Talking about one particular muscle is likely adding fuel to the fire of confusion. If you’re interested in attending, the Early-bird is $299 until April 30, after it’s $499. Shoulder Position in the Overhead Squat with Miranda Oldroyd - Duration: 1:22. I am fully aware that there is much more to this discussion than simply telling a lifter, “Do this, not this”; and expecting magic to happen. It’s just what happens. Shoulder flexibility drills are important to achieve and maintain the necessary level of shoulder flexibility required. Put your hands over your head with your shoulders against the wall. His practice, ClinicalAthleteHQ, is attached to the Juggernaut Training Systems gym located in Laguna Niguel, CA. Rotator Cuff Stretch In every case the proper … TECHNIQUE TIPS: SHOULDER POSITIONING. Note the ease with which you are able to keep your ribcage against the wall – if thoracic mobility is limited maintaining this position may be difficult. Getting into a half kneeling position is the first step to fixing your overhead squat. #1: Finding a Comfortable Grip for the OHS & Snatch Movement. Poor thoracic extension is a limiting factor in shoulder flexion. Regardless of if you have a true ankle mobility problem, elevated heels will provide you with a counterbalance, so that you do not need to worry about falling on your ass at the same time that you’re working on maintaining a stable shoulder position. American lifters are often cued to … To learn more about human movement and the CrossFit methodology, visit CrossFit Training. Widen your grip about 6 inches further than shoulder width apart. Tighten your back and your glutes. As well as being an incredibly dangerous position for your shoulders to be in, inwardly rolled shoulders will shift your centre of gravity forward, bringing you onto … #2: The Lower Body Component of the Overhead Squat By CrossFit May 3, 2020. Here’s is a video of a common exercise (screwdriver) that now gives context to this discussion. Don’t try to hold the wrist in a neutral position. Scapular strength is also fundamental for the snatch and overhead squat. So while the wrist may be the pain site, the cause may be at the shoulder. Olympic weightlifting coaches use the overhead squat as a teaching progression for novice athletes. I concede endless scenarios in which mobility or motor control considerations will make these processes more complicated. #4: Torso Upright 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. In addition to using a barbell or other tool that calls for the hands to stay in a fixed relative position, you can perform the overhead squat with hands unlinked. The first five ‘points of performance’ of the squat lay the foundation for good arm position. The ‘W’ Exercise is a combination of scapular retraction and posterior tilt as the arms externally rotate. If you need to, grab a hand towel and stretch it out between your hands. Quinn Henoch has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Indianapolis. Instructions If your back and shoulders hunch forward under the bar, use a goblet squat to help you get a neutral spine. External Rotation of the Arms Prior to the turn of the century, the overhead squat was primarily used by competitive weightlifters. Keep in mind that the overhead squat is not a movement to approach lightly. Bad posture can cause shoulder pain. I’d check out the overhead stability screens form the previous blog post and the overhead stability screens from 2 weeks ago. 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. So, before you get under a loaded barbell, do this drill. Since the recent boom in CrossFit, the use of the overhead… “The key to the Wall Slide (W/Y) is that the shoulder blades remain retracted and depressed while the gleno-humeral joint attempts to move the arms overhead. #2: Lower Body Considerations During the descent of the squat, the torso drifts forward to accommodate the bar position. The following sequence prepares the shoulders for the overhead squat, which requires motion at the shoulder blade (scapula) and arms. 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). Ok.. maybe that last one is an exaggeration. As in, it’s not wrong. Often times you will need to master the half kneeling split squat first before moving to the overhead split squat. Today’s guest post comes from Quinn Henoch, DPT and competitive weightlifter, and also the creator of the new ClinicalAthlete Weightlifting Coach certification program. If, on the other hand, you can’t get into this position, I’d recommend performing mobility drills in order to restore it, prior to loading the heck out of a barbell overhead press. Position a ball or box at the lowest level at which you can overhead squat comfortably just in front of a rig. Coaching shoulder position in the overhead squat/snatch lift is a hotly debated topic within weightlifting circles. If you can do this without your s… If someone can sit down with a nice posture in an overhead squat and stand right back up with no problem, then … We cannot demonize shoulder internal rotation as inherently ‘bad’ without context. Active vs. The hand and wrist are allowed to settle with the wrist extended. I’ve found it much easier to address humeral head and bar position as we did in our Upper Trap discussion, than to cue and crank a lifter into an exaggerated amount of shoulder external rotation. 0:36. Try a different bar position. 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. Mike Boyle: Advances in Functional Training 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. “Hanging on your ligaments”. Insufficient shoulder flexibility will make your Overhead Squat a torture. Quinn has a very unique approach to mobility and movement as they relate to the foundations of weightlifting and of course the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. 3. #2: Hips Below Parallel The overhead squat is the most challenging position that a strength athlete is going to ever need to achieve. You don’t learn a new free throw shooting stroke in Game 7 of the NBA finals. Don’t try to hold the wrist in a neutral position. Posterior tilt sets the scapula flat on the ribcage. 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. 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. Scapular Retraction & Posterior Tilt In fact, there are respected international coaches who actually cue shoulder internal rotation, which looks nothing like the second picture above. #4: Scapular Stability & Mobility Try holding two dumbbells or kettlebells overhead as you squat. If your palms do not lay flush against the wall your external rotation is limited. Nonetheless, the upper trap is probably the most discussed (and demonized) of them all, so it’s a pertinent talking point for our purposes. The rig will force you to keep an upright torso with shoulders fully opened up. Some people will actually start to rotate before they even begin to descend in an overhead squat. Leaning forward into the press with your torso and arm angle at a similar diagonal line reduces the range of motion your shoulders have to go through in an overhead position. This will require that you maintain nice 'active shoulders' (when overhead squatting you should always be pushing the bar up to the ceiling). The press, overhead press (abbreviated OHP) or shoulder press is a weight training exercise with many variations, typically performed while standing, in which a weight is pressed straight upwards from racking position until the arms are locked out overhead, while the legs, lower back and abs maintain balance. 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. Although much is made of bar position for the overhead squat, the precise position needed is not as exact as often claimed, and the right position for each individual will vary somewhat. TECHNIQUE TIPS: SHOULDER POSITIONING. It’s simply a way to give the lifter a bit of slack, so that they can focus on a specific goal. An appropriate coaching cue for any movement is highly dependent on context. A great example is the snatch balance. 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. It’s probably pretty easy to guess which is which. 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. If the bar is placed in the proper position in the hand, it will not place undue strain on the wrist. Found in: 200504, Essentials, Coaching. This step-by-step guide to the overhead squat will help you master the movement and correct common problems. The bar should be over the base of the neck with the head pushed forward slightly. SquatRx ‘Points of Peformance’ This is not to be mistaken as a shoulder blade that’s “down and back”; because we certainly desire elevation and upward rotation of the scapula during an overhead movement. Here’s are examples: In the pictures above, Mr. Lu Xiaojun (Olympic champion) is demonstrating a relative amount of shoulder internal rotation. Who cares if you can break parallel in your squat, if your shoulders are not in a position to support any load? 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. It is important to keep the neck neutral (chin tucked) and maintain thoracic extension (chest forward). DEAN SOMERSET OLD SCHOOL STRENGTH WITH A NEW AGE TWIST, ClinicalAthlete Weightlifting Coach (CWC). 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.. The hand and wrist are allowed to settle with the wrist extended. This is a very similar discussion as the one we had above. 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. This torso angle is more upright than we’d typically see in other squat variations. The point is, we sometimes hear cues that are complete … It’s not ‘right or wrong’, as long as basic principles guide the experimentation process. Just because you can overhead squat with the depth and overhead position that you desire doesn’t mean it will translate perfectly to your snatch. Twitter Mail. Since the recent boom in CrossFit, the use of the overhead… Your arms should end up in a 90-degree position, making an L shape with each arm. Use those to, dare I say it, get better at the movement and do not be in a rush to make it to your working sets. Passive Shoulder Position for Overhead Squat & Snatch - Duration: 0:36. A stable shoulder blade position on the ribcage requires proper retraction and posterior tilt to support good arm position. The overhead squat can be performed as a stand-alone movement and is one of the most effective ways of improving strength, stability and mobility through the shoulders, core, hips, knees and ankles. Jerk the barbell overhead so that your elbows are in the fully locked position and your shoulder blades are contracted so that the weight overhead sits stable. However, with the bar on the lifter’s back, he or she can more easily recreate the overhead squat position that’s been so thoughtfully practiced. The overhead squat is a total body movement that, maybe surprisingly, is more for training mobility than for building strength. Colin Burns, wrote a great blog for Juggernaut Training Systems discussing how grip wide effects the overhead bar position. Overhead Squat Variations. Mobility, Stability, and Strength Retraction involves drawing the scapula in towards the spine. Lastly the W/Y wall slide trains arm movement with the shoulder blade stabilized, which is needed for the overhead squat. Drills like the Bench T-Spine Mobilization would help him. The rotator cuff stretch applies traction to the shoulder joint-capsule and releases the fascia of the rotator cuff. 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. Pressing directly overhead (as with the strict straight bar variation) requires a combo of shoulder and thoracic mobility. For example, Chinese weightlifters are often taught to fully internally rotate their shoulders when overhead. When you sit, only place about 50% of your weight on the box so that you never … It is important to not try to pull the band apart, but to drive the movement from the shoulder blade in coordination with the external rotation of the arms. A good grip and solid shoulders are inextricably connected during the Overhead Squat. #6: Thoracic Extension Tony Gentilcore: EXERCISES YOU SHOULD BE DOING: BAND NO-MONEY DRILL (link), Tags: overhead squat position, scapular stability, shoulder mobility. #3: Knees Out The cue of an “active shrug” is misconstrued by translating the humeral head forward and upwards, and pushing the bar back past the plane of the body. Here’s an example: Can you tell in which photo I am standing and which I am squatting? The Shoulder Position for an Overhead Squat. Now compare this to the pictures above. A very small percentage of people can perform the overhead squat properly when they first walk into the gym. A stable shoulder blade position on the ribcage requires proper retraction and posterior tilt to support good arm position. The following sequence prepares the shoulders for the overhead squat, which requires motion at the shoulder blade (scapula) and arms. The general procedure for the overhead squat is: Start Position. Any bilateral (two-sided) press variation places greater demand on the body to get into a safe, optimal overhead position without adding sheer force on the spine. JTS Strength: FIXING THE SNATCH AND OVERHEAD SQUAT POSITION (link) This is how we coach, “active shoulder”. The overhead squat is a really great way to engage multiple parts of your body at once. They’ll over arch their lumbar spine, flaring their rib cage up due to mobility restrictions in their thoracic spine or shoulders, or at times just due to poor motor control. Lat Stretch. 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