BlogEric SnaellFebruary

Overhead Squat As Warm-Up

Physiotherapists, personal trainers and coaches use the Overhead Squat to assess their client's overall mobility. The reason why they choose this exercise for assessment is the same reason why we choose it for our warm-up.

The Overhead Squat

The Overhead Squat is a squat done with a barbell above your shoulders with locked arms. It requires balance, overall strength and mobility.

For athletic purposes, the Overhead Squat might appear useless (unless you compete in weightlifting). But the upper body stretch that the squatting position requires can actually improve your posture. As you know, this plays a big role in how you look in a suit and is of course a concern of any serious businessman. For a bodybuilder, the movement is more suited for warm-ups and to check ones mobility. For a performance athlete, the Overhead Squat teaches the body to move as 'one'. If you have a weak link in your body, this exercise will reveal it.

Most joint related pain is caused by tight muscles. The Overhead Squat stretches the whole body and most likely any pain you have - regardless of where - will temporarily disappear after doing this exercise. It is for this stretch effect that I highly recommend it as a warm-up movement.


The Overhead Squat is a good way to improve your squat form. By mastering the Overhead Squat you can avoid a lot of potential injuries caused by poor mobility. Here's how you can progressively learn the Overhead Squat.

1. Squat with elevated heels and hands on your hips

Put weight plates underneath your heels and squat so that your glutes touch your heels.

2. Squat with elevated heels, hands on your hips and back against the wall

Stand with your back against the wall and keep contact with the wall when squatting.

3. Squat with elevated heels and a broom stick

Squat with a wide grip, arms straight and the broomstick above your head.

4. Squat with a broom stick

Squat with a narrower grip, arms straight and the broomstick above your head.

5. Squat with empty barbell

Start off with a wider grip and make sure your heels are on the ground at all times.

6. Squat with plate

Instead of a barbell, hold a weight plate in your arms. The narrower grip calls for even more upper body mobility.

7. Squat with plate and one leg in front

Perform the so called pistol, by extending one leg in front.

8. Join a circus

You can check out other squat related mobility tricks in our front squat mobility video.

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