The Bad Boy of Squats
The overhead squat is an awkward movement for many to master. It demands flexibility, strength and stability throughout the entire range of motion, balance and a whole lot of awareness. With high demand on the thoracic spine and shoulder girdle, there's little room for error.
Even with practice, this movement remains elusive and a source of frustration for many people. Let's look at a few ways you can improve your overhead squat.
1. Practice more. Not just in workouts. We ask our athletes to avoid shying away from movements that are difficult for them. With that said there are appropriate and less so times to practice. Practice the overhead squat and do so often, just not in situations that add elements such as high load or reps, or the added pressure of a running clock. Slow down. Ditch the ego and take a step back to take two steps forward. Remember every subpar repetition now needs to be undone.
2. Choose a progression that helps you. We emphasize this a lot in our gym. If you're not moving well merely reducing the load may not solve the issue. A lousy overhead squat is still a lousy overhead squat with a PVC. You may become frustrated when a coach suggests utilizing a front or goblet squat but trust our process. We may need you to get more upright, for example, and another movement may be better suited to do so.
3. You need squat therapy in your life. Hyper-focused squat therapy can and will improve your movement. Exposing faults is what we're trying to do, so be OK with having them exposed. Grab your phone and record yourself performing super-slow focused reps, demanding nothing less than perfection. When you hit a wall (literally) take a step back and begin again.
If you devote time to the overhead squat, I'm confident that you can make drastic improvements.