Overhead Squat

Overhead Squat: teach in 1 min

*teaching* a movement is a brief explanation of what the client is about to learn for the first time in On Ramp, or review in a class setting. It’s only 1 minute to prevent you from talking too much, keeping the clients engaged, and giving them just enough to safely begin moving.

For overhead squat there are TWO skills: 1) getting the bar out of the rack  & 2)performing the front squat


Getting the bar out of the rack

Stance, Grip, & starting position: Getting the bar out of the rack

1) Grip First: a full grip or fingertips on the bar approximately 1/2-1 thumb from inside smooth mark.
2) Stance: feet are under the bar (behind the bar is very common, but not supportive)
3) Starting position: pelvic stability, strong core, & elbows engaged for bar to be in line of balance

Getting Ready to Front Squat

Getting ready to front squat: Stance, Grip, & starting position: 

1) Grip First: shouldn’t have changed between the rack and the bar
2) Stance: feet are shoulder width, encourage them to not look down, but to feel it
3) Starting position: pelvic stability, suck in the core, & bar pushed into collar bone w/ elbows up

3-5 Movement mechanics

1) hips initiate the movement – all air squat fundamentals should be consistent including heels flat.
2) torso is upright: elbows/chest dropping or bar drifting away from neck
3) breathing: breath in before the rep, breath out 3/4 the way out of it.

Overhead Squat: coach in 5 minutes

*Coaching* a movement is a thorough examination of class, moving on your cues while simultaneously looking for faults and improving their positions. The clients will feel safer having participated in guided review, but you will learn the strengths and weaknesses to provide better coaching tips for individuals.

  • Fluency & eye contact: your confidence determines the clients trust with you. If they don’t trust you, they don’t feel safe. 
  • Communication: the clients need to know what to do and when to do it with a purpose.
  • TRIAGE: how to organize your thoughts when educating a whole-group environment

Are they doing the right movement

For example, someone will bring the bar to the back rack when walking out of the cage for overhead squat. This is incorrect movement all together. The rest of the class has been asked to walk out of rack station, so you need to swoop in quickly, ask the client to re-rack the bar, and you show the safe way to get the bar out of the rack.

Now the whole class is ready for skills.

Macro Cue & micro fix

A common fault with approaching the bar at the rack station is a lazy core and unstable spine when unracking – the next common fault is not starting on the back rack for OHS.

Emphasize pelvic stability and strong core when getting the bar out of the rack and initiate cuing to check who is and who isn’t doing it.

“Bring your grip about a thumb from the smooth mark.” you’re looking for too close and too wide grip around the room.

“Walk your feet under the bar, bar is racked on the bone of your scaps, tuck your hips, tighten your butt and stand.”

There are times where I will remember someone i need to talk to later, during warm up sets about the pelvic tilt – maybe not right now.

There are times i need to swoop into MICRO and fix someone who FRONT RACKED the bar. Make them re-do it completely, not fix mid-rack.

“When I say squat, hold the squat until I say stand.”

“Ready and squat”: remember, the first rep is like a warm up – is everyone doing the right movement and on your cue?! If not, fix it! Most of the time, you’ll have people not squat all the way down or hold it because they don’t like overhead squat.

*IF YOU GO INTO MICRO, do not make clients hold risky positions, like OHS. It’s not an appropriate *discomfort* for that long, however, moderate, and communicative, discomfort is okay. Always have the class stand and rest the bar on their back if you need to go into Micro.

“eyes ahead, don’t look down!” This improves balance and stability. “ready and squat, hold” look for eyes ahead “and stand.”

” On this first rep, reach and stretch your arms actively the entire squat and stand. Ready and squat, reach reach reach…”

“even slower tempo, don’t drop to the squat too fast!…ready and…squat, slowly!”

***How to know what to cue: there’s 2 options. One, start with the mechanics – what is supposed to happen first? Look for THAT only. for OHS, the squat mechanics are a good place to start. Then supplemental ideas like arms reaching extrernally. Cue the class something you saw someone do. If that *one person* didn’t fix it, swoop into micromanage that person then head back to a macro view of class.


Determine the difference between clients that are capable or incapable.

Someone is not capable of performing a movement with the integrity of sports standards, they shouldn’t be challenging themselves with weight.

For example, If someone isn’t performing quality range, they should emphasize mobility during their workout today, not going heavy. This is especially important on test weeks because strength days will reflect the appropriate percentage they should work in. Ensure that each individual is using correct % by watching their form.

You’ll notice the bar looks too heavy, their form is breaking down and it shouldn’t, etc. First, ask what their Max was, determine if they used correct math, command them to scale down for XYZ reasons.

Confidence is key. Don’t let clients talk you into something your gut tells you NO.