Overhead squat: technique, advantages and errors

If you master the technique of the overhead squat, you will be able to control them perfectly. Start by discovering how to do them, the advantages they bring you and the mistakes you have to avoid.

Last update: 21 September, 2022

the squat overhead It requires a lot of perseverance and preparation. Carrying it out requires a lot of strength.

overhead refers to height. In this case, it is about carrying a bar with a certain weight high above your headwhile performing a squat.

You need to maintain a stable posture of your arms when they are above your head. You have to enhance the mix of energy between the core strength of your body and the mobility of the shoulders.

Overhead squat technique

This routine represents a higher demand squat. You start standing up, holding the bar above your head, then lower into a squat position.

If you are a beginner, it would be best if the bar has no extra weight at the beginning, so that you can focus on technique. Then you will add load to the bar.

The most important thing is that, at the beginning, practice the correct way to develop the movement without worrying about the weight you carry on your back. Pay attention to the following steps for a squat overhead correct.

1. Bar on the back

Start with the bar on your back, resting on your shoulders. The hands should be wider than shoulder width, turning them outwards and engaging the lats. Drive your elbows towards the ground.

Some bar stock materials are lighter in weight, such as PVC. You can start with these attachments if you are a beginner.

2. Activate the core

You activate the corewhile tensing your hips and shoulders. Bend your knees a bit so you can lower your hips and start bringing the bar above your head. You have to keep your chest up and your back straight.

3. Impulse

Push the barbell overhead with great force. This has to rest on the central core of the palms of your hands. Extend your wrists a bit so you get into this position as comfortably as possible.

4. Balance

At this point, you should consolidate the position of the weight above your head. You achieve this by driving your hands up, stretching your arms with your elbows fully extended.

The back and shoulders will support the bar at its highest point.. Throughout the routine, your chin should be tucked in toward your body.

5. Stability

Divide the weight equally. Every rep you do should start from this position.

Begin the squat motion, bending from the hips, through the knees, down to the ankles. You keep your elbows extended and your chest up with your hands holding the bar.

6. Maximum Flexion

When lowering the legs, they will have to be parallel to the ground. Lower as much as you can without uneven the pelvis.

Align your knees with your feet and hold the bar on a level midway between your feet. Push your feet up to start the process of standing up.

Keep your chest high, your back straight, and squeeze your glutes. The hips have to extend as well.

7. Neutral position

In the end, the pelvis should adopt a neutral position and you can start executing 2-3 sets with 3-8 repetitions. Little by little you will master this exercise and add more weight.

Advantages of performing the overhead squat

When you execute this demanding movement, there are many positive effects that your body adopts, from general strength gains to a positive development of your joint mobility.

multifunctional routine

You may find yourself limited in being able to lift a bar, but this is not a reason to stop practicing it. This movement adapts to any situation.

If you don’t get a bar, you can do it with any dumbbell or even a kettlebell. Also, this is an exercise that combines weightlifting with a classic squat.

Revitalizes the abdomen and your mobility

These squats are responsible for activating your abdomen throughout the exercise, to prevent you from losing stability. There are many joints that are worked, so the shoulders, hips and ankles benefit.

Upper strength

The upper and lower muscles of your body are strengthened. Deltoids, triceps, hamstrings, adductors, quads, and lower back muscles they power up to the max, taking on a higher level of strength.

Mistakes to avoid when practicing the overhead squat

The requirement of this exercise implies that you do it very carefully so as not to make mistakes. The better prepared you are, the greater the results.

body tilt

Leaning forward can be difficult, depending on the weight you’re carrying and how it affects your balance. It is a mistake that you have to avoid while bending your legs.

The bar may move forward and you risk dropping it. This movement unbalances your center of gravity and requires firm support on the ground, as well as a neutral back.

knee flexion

With any type of squat you have practiced, it is common for you to bend your knees inward. This mistake is caused by a lack of strength in the feet or hips. Focus on contracting your glutes to drive your knees out.

This exercise is demanding on the knee joint. Proper technique minimizes wear on the cartilage.


Low mobility of your shoulders can cause errors, as you lay your arms forward. One of the most important positions is when you hold the weight of the bar with your arms straight.

If you are not able to do this safely, you run the risk of the bar falling on you and injuring yourself. You can correct this mistake with previous shoulder stretching exercises.

spinal tilt

That you tend to tilt your spine easily is a mistake that you must overcome. Remember that your back will support the other parts of your body.

If your back fails, chances are your arms or legs will too. Work on improving thoracic extension for correct posture.

ankle flexion

If your ankles are not flexible enough, this can cause problems. Firm ankles support the pressure of your knees on your toes. They fulfill the function of counterweight.

Final recommendations for the practice of the overhead squat

There are basic materials you need. You can do the exercise with a kettlebell or a dumbbell, but if you decide to do it with a barbell, you have to keep in mind that you need discs with different weights. If the weight you lift is high, we advise you to use a weightlifting lumbar belt.

So that you learn the squat technique correctly overheadstart doing them without weight. Better to use a plastic tube or any substitute for the bar.

Keep in mind three previous steps: warm up your shoulders, hips and ankles with exercises; then practice free squats; Lastly, make sure you learn the technique without weight. The requirement requires a lot of effort and perseverance.

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