Have you mastered the Overhead Squat yet? Learning the Overhead Squat is a challenge in itself and accompanied by frustrations, for the simple reason that it’s just difficult to execute if you have never done it before.
Now you have mastered the Overhead Squat and you ask yourself ‘How much should I Overhead Squat?’
Is Overhead Squatting an unloaded bar good?
This video answers the questions:
- How much should I Overhead Squat depending on my goal
- Set and rep schemes for the Overhead Squat
- How much should I Overhead Squat depending on my bodyweight
The Overhead Squat can effectively be used as a warm-up exercise or a training exercise.
When to use the Overhead Squat as a warm-up exercise?
If our training is based around Back Squats or Front Squats we use the Overhead Squat as a warm-up exercise. As explained in the article 9 Benefits of the Overhead Squat and counting… the Overhead Squat helps to acquire and consolidate the movement pattern of the Squat. When the session is based around Power Snatches, we use the Overhead Squat to teach the catch position and receiving the bar. To learn and train the catch and receiving position we also use variations and progressions of the Overhead Squat, such as ‘pressing under’ or ‘dropping under’.
When the strength training session is based around Power Snatches, we use the Overhead Squat to teach the catch position and receiving the bar. To learn and train the catch and receiving position we also use variations and progressions of the Overhead Squat, such as ‘pressing under’ or ‘dropping under’.
Check out the different phases of the Power Snatch
When to use the Overhead Squat as a training exercise?
I see a lot of value using the Overhead Squat as a training exercise to train the squat pattern for younger athletes. The reason is, that the Overhead Squat ‘forces’ the athlete into a right squat pattern, while as an example the Back Squat allows for more compensatory movements.
With older athletes, I primarily use the Overhead Squat to consolidate the movement pattern of the squat, as I have outlined in the previous paragraph.
The drawback of the Overhead Squat as a strength training exercise is that the more advanced the athlete, the weakest link in the chain is the upper body, shoulder girdle. Which means the advanced athlete is able to squat more with the lower body than he or she is able to stabilize with the upper body.
How many repetitions should you do in the Overhead Squat?
Due to the upper body being the weakest link, as well as difficulties holding the bar with the hands and an uncomfortable feeling in the wrist associated with higher reps in the Overhead Squat, the Overhead Squat is not a good exercise for multiple repetitions.
It is much more advisable to reduce repetitions to 3 or less and do more sets.
How many times in the week should I Overhead Squat?
This depends very much, whether you want to use the Overhead Squat as a warm-up exercise or a training exercise.
If you chose the Overhead Squat as a training exercise, I would recommend to do it once a week and chose for a different squat variation, such as a Back Squat or Front Squat for the other training sessions.
If you chose the Overhead Squat as a warm-up exercise with the intention the improve or consolidate the movement pattern of the squat for the Back Squat or the Front Squat you can do it more frequently (for example 2 or 3 times a week).
Check out this article on training frequencies, including case studies and different approaches to a strength training program.
How much should I Overhead Squat for my bodyweight?
Dominating the Overhead Squat technique is more important than moving a lot of weight. Once the Overhead Squat technique is mastered the weight will follow almost automatically as a result of the good execution.
In the first stage of learning the Overhead Squat technique and training the Overhead Squat not much focus should be placed on the load lifted.
Once the Overhead Squat technique is acquired and consolidated, you can place more emphasis on the load lifted.
Let me outline a few numbers, that I have found from working with my athletes.
|0.8 – 0.9 time bodyweight||0.8 – 1 times bodyweight|
|0.9 – 1 times bodyweight||1 – 1.2 times bodyweight|
|1 – 1.2 times bodyweight||1.2 – 1.4 times bodyweight|
|More than 1.2 times bodyweight||More than 1.4 times bodyweight|
Concluding How much should I Overhead Squat?
The Overhead Squat is one of the best strength training exercise to learn and teach proper squatting mechanics.
The Overhead Squat can be used as a warm-up exercise for strength training sessions based around squatting or strength training sessions based around Olympic Lifting, especially based around the Snatch or Power Snatch.
If you want to increase the weight you are able to Overhead Squat, focus on mastering the Overhead Squat technique and the weight will follow.
More information on Overhead Squats
More Overhead Squat impressions in the Overhead Squat video library