As Dr. Tony Del Angel will tell you, “If you can do an overhead squat correctly, you can do any exercise you want. Period! My opinion is that if you can do an overhead squat then the chances of you getting injured while exercising or doing your daily activities are reduced. Here is the reason why, you cannot do an overhead squat if you have some type of movement pattern dysfunction. Many doctors and therapists will say to avoid squatting all together, but I’m here to say otherwise! Why take away one of the most functional movements known to man? Obviously, if you have pain, you should hold off for a bit until your spine is treated appropriately; then one of the goals should be to return you to exercise and get you functional again. For example, if you can’t bend the knee while squatting then you shouldn’t squat. Just as important, if you can’t extend your middle back or if you don’t have a full range of motion in the shoulder then you can’t overhead squat. Same thing with the core. If you can’t increase intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize your core then you can’t overhead squat. So if you don’t know how to utilize the diaphragm properly then don’t try doing an overhead squat … yet. This is why it’s important to first teach people how to breathe properly, not just for relaxation but also for stabilization of their spines. We always want to focus on the the quality of movement, not the quantity of movement.“
This can be scaled by using PVC, a broom stick or a rake overhead instead of a barbell.
- Take the barbell off of the rack behind your neck as you would for a back squat.
- Widen your grip about 6 inches further than shoulder width apart.
- 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.
- From the overhead position perform a full squat while maintaining the weight stable overhead.
- When finished either let the barbell sink back slowly to your shoulders behind your head and rack the bar, or dump the barbell forwards or backwards and move safely out of the way.