Squatting exercises are a primary way to develop hip and leg strength, which is why most athletes perform some variation of the Squat in their workout programs. Most focus on the Back or Front Squat, which mainly promotes lower body strength; however, the Overhead Squat is an effective exercise for improving full body strength, and it should not be ignored.
One advantage of the Overhead Squat is that you must stabilize the bar overhead when performing the movement. This engages core stabilizer muscles that support the spine, similar to how the core is used often during competition. You also work your shoulder stabilizers when supporting the bar, which is important for shoulder strength and overall joint health.
In addition to its strength benefits, this exercise helps with hip and shoulder mobility. In fact, it is sometimes used as an athletic assessment tool—for example in the Under Armour Combine360. As you continue performing this exercise, it will improve your hip mobility for increased speed and jumping power and your upper body range of motion so you can throw a ball, shoot a puck or hit a serve with no movement restrictions.
View the video above to see the Utah Jazz perform the Overhead Squat.
- Hold bar overhead with locked elbows, wide grip and feet shoulder width apart
- Squat with control until tops of thighs are parallel to ground, keeping knees behind toes
- Drive up through heels and hips to start position; repeat for specified reps