Exercise Library
Overhead Squat






The overhead squat is the most basic snatch receiving position strength exercise.  
 
 
Execution
 
Start standing with the barbell behind your neck and a snatch-width grip. Perform a snatch push press or snatch power jerk to secure the bar in the proper snatch overhead position. Once stable, squat at a controlled speed to full depth, standing again with the bar overhead. The elbows must remain locked throughout the lift and the bar overhead until you return to a full standing position.
 
 
Purpose
 
The overhead squat is the most basic snatch receiving position exercise. It can serve as part of a learning progression for the snatch (learning the proper receiving position), a strength builder for the upper body and trunk in particular to help in the snatch, and a mobility exercise to improve a lifter’s bottom position for the snatch.  
 
 
Programming
 
Overhead squats should typically be done for sets of 1-3 reps, although as many as 5 may be appropriate at times. If being used a strength exercise, they should be performed toward the end of a workout after more speed and technique dependent exercises. They can be performed before snatches with light weights as a technique primer, or to help warm-up and stretch for the snatch. 
 
 
Variations
 
The most common variation of the overhead squat includes a pause in the bottom position to further train stability, strength and balance. The overhead squat is also very commonly combined into a complex with snatch push presses preceding it.




2 Comments
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Chris Murray
August 24 2021
Please can I know your thoughts on following a progressive overload back squat program but substituting pause overhead squats for the allocated reps/sets?

Would the lifter’s OHS progress at the same rate that his/her back squat would have (albeit at a ‘relatively’ lower weight?

Thank you very much.
Generally I'd expect OHS to actually progress somewhat faster than BS. Whether or not a BS program works will depend on the program - "progressive overload" encompasses an infinite number of possible arrangements. You should be using progressive overload on all exercises - that's the foundation of strength training. The question is how exactly you do it in terms of reps, volume, loading/recovery periods, frequency, surrounding training, etc.

Greg Everett