Bar Patterns Part 4 - Overhead Squat

Bar Patterns Part 4 - Overhead Squat


Grasp the bar with a snatch grip. To find your snatch grip hold the bar at waist level with locked-out elbows. Slowly adjust your grip in or out, while still maintaining straight arms, until the bar hangs at the height of your crease (The crease is the point where your upper leg joins together with your torso. The line that is formed here in your hips is the crease). Be sure you have an even grip on the bar, you do not want the bar either off to the left nor the right. With this grip, press the bar overhead and balance it over your ears. It is very important to keep your elbows locked-out while the bar is overhead at all times during this exercise. From here point your palms towards the ceiling, this will externally rotate your shoulders within the capsule. In order to handle loads overhead while minimizing the work your shoulders feel you must maintain this externally rotated position. Next, take a stance that is just about hip-width and be sure your toes are turned out in a duck stance. I realize there is a lot of discussion in modern fitness pertaining to squatting with the toes straight vs slightly turned out. The purpose of squatting with the toes straight is to determine if there are any mobility issues with an athlete that need to be addressed and should be done with bodyweight squatting only. As you begin to add any load, such as an empty bar or more, the toes should be turned out slightly to help involve your adductors in the squatting movements as well as help you maintain an upright posture with a neutral spine when you squat deep.

Now picture the bar as a giant rubber band overhead and try to stretch it apart as you begin to squat. The deeper you squat, the more effort you put into stretching the rubber band. Tighten your belly muscles as tight as possible as you begin your descent by moving your hips behind your heels and bending at both your hips and knees. It is very important to have the bottom of your entire foot maintain contact with the floor (especially your heels) throughout this exercise.

As you lower into the squat keep an upright posture so your sternum points across the room. Keep your chin level to the floor and your ears directly over your shoulders. Remember to have your elbows locked out and drive the palms of your hands upwards with all of your strength. Keep stretching “the rubber band” (this will help you maintain an upright posture). Full depth is achieved when your knees are bent as much as possible without losing the arch in your back. Keep your belly muscles as tight as possible at this point in the lift. Once you have hit the bottom of the squat stand back up by driving your legs into the ground and thinking of these 3 key points:

  1. Stand on the outer edge of your feet while keeping your entire foot in contact with the ground
  2. Keep pulling “the rubber band” apart
  3. Balance the bar directly over the back edge of your ears, while you keep your ears directly above your shoulders