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This question is always asked, if you could only do one exercise in the gym, what would it be? Well I think that is an extremely stupid question and I am not going to answer it. But, I’m going to tell you about one of my favourites, the Overhead Squat. Want a great warm up exercise that doubles as a killer strength manoeuvre? To simply look at this exercise you know it’s good for you. You get strength, co-ordination, balance, flexibility, range of motion, and a big workout…all in one.
What Is This So Called Ultimate Exercise?
Check out this Video I found.
Use a light bar to begin with. Unless you are already an accomplished Olympic lifter, light is the way to start; even a broomstick is a good place to begin. The Overhead Squat is a challenging exercise and one that needs a little bit of neural learning before getting on the heavy weights, and in some cases, where range of motion in the warm-up is the goal, heavy weights don’t need to be utilized.
- Get bar overhead in a wide snatch grip
- Lock out elbows
- Try to bring your shoulder blades together
- Lock in ‘core’
- Drift hips back, and begin squatting down
- Keep weight over heels at all time, remember, shoulders back.
- Get as low as you can (basically before you fall down through lack of range)
- Come back up; remember to push through your heels.
Don’t be discouraged by your terrible performance straight up (if you haven’t tried this exercise before, or anything similar). Chances are you have poor range, due to a variety of reasons, or you simply haven’t tried to get down that low before and you feel extremely un-coordinated. Don’t worry, I guarantee even by the second set you will feel more comfortable.
Benefits of the Ultimate Exercise
- Opens up your hips, stretches out your fascia
- Strength through a large range of motion
- Gives you a large range of motion
- Full body stimulus (i.e. hard work…good for weight loss too!)
- Works the ‘core’, whilst stabilizing the lumbar region and the shoulder region
- Great progression for learning the Snatch (Olympic Lift)
When To Use The Ultimate Exercise
The Overhead Squat is one of my favorite warm-up exercises. It gets you going, gives a full body stimulus, and gets you some range early in the program. However, it’s also a great strength exercise by itself. If you can Overhead Squat a decent amount of weight, I am tipping you have pretty good overall strength, balance, range of motion. All very desirable things. So, the Overhead Squat can be used at any point in your program, as a Range of motion exercise in the warm-up, or as a killer strength exercise in the main program.
Progressions for the Ultimate Exercise
The main progression is depth and weight. When you start, you may not have full range of motion. This will increase very quickly as you start to force your hips through a greater range of motion. Weight can be increased as normal.
Once you have mastered this (i.e. you are squatting right down with quite a massive weight over your head!), you can give the Single Arm Overhead Squat a burl (use a dumbbell). Similar principles, but you are adding a massive core component because your body needs to correct the fact that it wants to fall pretty hard to the ground.