The overhead squat (OHS), or squat with the bar above the head, is one of the least practiced exercises in bodybuilding, and paradoxically it is also one of the most functional and the most useful. Few people integrate OHS into their program because it is not as popular as the conventional back squat ( back squat, with the bar on the back of the neck). But this is not the only reason for its unpopularity.
The overhead squat falls into the category of exercises that can be done if you agree to leave your ego in the locker room. The position of the bar above the head causes permanent imbalances, a much greater number of engaged muscles and maximum concentration.
The consequence is that the overhead squat and the back squat have only the term used; the loads used on an OHS will be much lower than on a back squat… So why is it still very interesting?
Develop exceptional mobility
You have to have a pretty solid and decent back squat to consider OHS. If you have mastered the back squat enough, you can integrate the OHS as you go.
The OHS is probably on the podium of the most effective exercises for gaining mobility (mobility being the ability to perform movements in the greatest possible amplitude), particularly on shoulders. The distance between your hands and their position in relation to your head will depend on your mobility in the shoulders.
The trajectory must also become as vertical as possible. But this progress must be made while always ensuring that you have your shoulders engaged (pushing the bar as high as possible), arms straight, and a locked hand grip with all fingers around the bar.
In addition, the OHS, like all squats, if it is done in a complete way (namely to descend as low as possible without rounding the lower back), will allow to gain in mobility in the knees, hips and ankles.
Have well-defined and solid abs
The OHS is an effective exercise to have a powerful cladding and it allows to more easily covet the grail (the famous 6 pack abdominal). In a way Generally, all kinds of squats are a safe bet for anyone who wants to work their abs. They are especially contracted during the ascent to ensure the solidity of the trunk.
But OHS requires extra cladding effort because the overhead bar position combined with abdominal weakness can easily throw the bar off balance and be fatal.
Developing your sense of balance
Another important point, OHS allows you to work on your balance and proprioception. When you do OHS, the balance needed to maintain the bar above your head (corresponding to the middle of your head) is extreme.
You only have a few centimeters of flapping with the bar forward and backward on this axis before the law of gravity takes hold and your bar ends up on the ground.
Correct and improve your squat
Squatting … to squat better! Specifically, doing OHS allows you to improve your back squat. Indeed, the overhead squat (like the front squat, or front squat, with the bar on the collarbones) requires a much more correct and precise placement of the body than on the back squat.
Linked to the notion of balance described above and a mechanical consequence of the position of the bar above the head, the trunk must remain as straight as possible (unlike the back squat or the torso can tilt further forward).
In addition, the core should be much stronger to avoid falling, this which causes more work on the stabilizing muscles which will be useful on other forms of squat. Doing OHS will therefore allow you to correct the errors and weaknesses of your back squat, your body will print a new, more efficient motor pattern and will transfer this placement to your other squats.
Set yourself apart from the competition
If you want to develop your overall physical abilities and think outside the box, OHS is an exercise to incorporate into your workouts at all costs.
When Mr. 150-kilos-to-back-squat-sets smiles watching you suffer with a bar loaded at 40 kilos, please let him take the bar and savor when her smile will turn into tension.
No one is born with the technical mastery, mobility and flexibility that OHS requires. If you do it often enough, the benefits will automatically flow into your performance and posture.
The OHS is undoubtedly a fundamental exercise for anyone who wants to train smart for the long haul. Its difficulty is equivalent to its usefulness in correcting errors and progressing on squat variants. The heavier your back squat, the more you need to practice OHS!
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