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Building Blocks: Barbell Squat Variations Day 2

Posted by Nick Folker on Oct 6, 2015 7:38:19 AM

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The Barbell Overhead Squat is a good change from the Back- and Front Squats emphasizing mobility, stability and coordination. This version of the squat targets thoracic, ankle and hip mobility, while strengthening your shoulders and midsection. It won't have as much of a leg strengthening component as the previous two versions of the squat, but it will help improve your mobility, stability and flexibility for your other squat movements, as well as improve your shoulder stability and mobility for your Snatches.


Exercise 2: Overhead Squat



Start with just the barbell. Use a 15kg barbell or lighter Body Bar if needed. Starting with the grip - set your hands on the bar, palms up, to create a 90-degree elbow angle when holding the bar a inch or so above your head. 

With the bar on the rack, set yourself up to unrack the bar as you would for the Back Squat, with a grip just described. Step back, set your feet slightly wider than you would for a Back Squat, toes and knees rotated out slightly. With a quick dip and extenstion at the hips and knees, press the bar overhead, with the bar overhead directly over your heels. When the bar is overhead, your elbows should be completely locked out. Think of pulling the bar apart to keep your elbows locked and shoulders stable throughout the movement. 

Brace your midsection, keep it taut throughout the movement, especially in the descent. Slowly squat down to until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pause and return slowly to the start position. Athletes with more experience and hip/ankle flexibility can go through parallel at the bottom of the movement, but only if your heels remain flat on the ground and your thoracic spine and shoulders can handle the increased range of motion. 

Progress slowly with adding weight to the bar and pushing your depth until you feel comfortable to do so. This is not as much a lower-extremity strength exercise as it is a full-body mobility- and stability-training exercise. Holding a load overhead while squatting requires balance and focus as you move. Stay focused throughout the entire squat on every rep.


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Day 1: Front Squat


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Be sure to check back tomorrow for more Building Blocks!
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Topics: Performance Trends